Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Color of Character

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Abraham Lincoln

We have become a nation blinded to, or ignorant of the color of character. I use that analogy simply to help showcase my argument. Back when our nation was young and developing, the leaders and writers of our foundation were people whom the common citizen recognized as individuals that drove for individual liberty, freedom and common good because they could see the color of character in the ones serving them.

This ability was nurtured by common values founded in the struggle for freedom from an overbearing government and society that stole the common man’s property, liberty and religious independence so as to control the masses for the purpose of wealth and power at their expense. The color of character was learned and appreciated because the individual needed it to fight and keep the truth that all men are created equal and deserve the right to pursue happiness by guaranteeing the opportunity to strive to be the best person he considered was good, right, and truthful to the advantage of all.

So you’re asking, what is the color of character? Character is something needing discernment and not obvious by mere physical observation. It can only be evaluated through values and standards of the one making the appraisal by observing someone’s choices, reactions and consistency that forms their integrity. This is not always easy and requires knowledge and personal discipline found only in one’s own developing integrity, which can be shallow or growing.

The “color” depends on the values and philosophies someone uses to determine the integrity of people and the measure used for that “color”.  Again, this is not always easy and people will readily make their opinions based on someone else’s work without questioning the color. Definitely different from telling if someone’s skin is red, black, white, yellow or brown and any various in between. This takes little to no effort to determine, but has been used to label people as privileged, rich, poor, ignorant, intelligent, bad, good, et. No one would argue this is wrong.

But it seems today we the people have become blind to the color of character. That our last president was elected more based on the color of his skin rather the color of his character is a sad commentary to where we have gone. Don’t get me wrong, I can think of a dozen other people that share our current president’s skin color but have a complete opposite color of character that I would have been proud to support whether they are a man or a woman. I find it ironic that the president who fought so hard to free people from the prejudice of their skin color and quoted by this president as a role model for his presidency has a character color in complete opposition to Lincoln’s for America.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
Abraham Lincoln 

Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.

Abraham Lincoln