Why are good, hard-working, moral people supporting political candidates with some of the worst character and personality traits imaginable for those purporting to be our leaders including running for president of the World’s Greatest Nation? Consider Trump, Palin, and numerous others who express divisiveness, intolerance, hate, ignorance, arrogance, emotion over reason, and other horrible attributes.
While many Americans are appalled by this state of affairs, numerous others find these characters attractive, perhaps not really because of these traits but because they represent merely a loud, enthusiastic challenge to an existing political-economic system which has dominated them and caused them loss of jobs, homes, medical insurance, pensions, and trust and respect for nearly all of our authority institutions.
Instead of steadily improving our moral character and becoming better people and citizens we are regressing. The worst of human traits are trumping the better of them (no pun intended.) Our society deserves better than this.
We need a major program to emphasize a value set that reflects the quality of our nation and of our citizens. That means a new set of public values including collective fairness; trustworthiness in governance, business, and society; pride in oneself regardless of status; enhanced respect for reason and science; consideration of multiple perspectives; insistence on quality of character; tolerance for trivial differences; and inclusiveness, among others.
We are not going to overcome the extreme cultural divisiveness which characterizes American now without a new paradigm of society. Beyond encouraging a new set of leaders having the quality of character we need, we need a new social ethos emphasizing new public values.
That’s what the National Character Program is all about. It is a comprehensive program of a new social ethos together with an updating of our 18th-Century institutions and principles of governance.