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Guest Mores

Does Character Matter?

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Guest Mores

Yes...And... No.  For those prone to TLDR, please take the time.

Character USED TO matter for two reasons.

1) People (specifically children) looked up to the President as the role model of what we as a nation are supposed to be like.  This was really the democratic parallel to the Royal Embodiment of the Nation philosophy of monarchical rule.  I should think we should be rid of it, myself.
2) If you have good character, you're more likely to keep oaths -- such as the oath of office.

But after Kennedy, Nixon, & Clinton, no one looks up to the president anymore.  No one expects them to be role models for our children.  No one wants to be like them.  So, it looks like we finally rid ourselves of it.

And as far as keeping oaths, how many in public office do you honestly believe care about their oath of office?

I'm obviously pointing the discussion toward Trump.  With Trump, we also need to keep in mind Cultural morality.  He has two major faults that keep popping up... repeatedly... again and again... over and over...  you get the idea of what I mean to imply by way of communication via words... :) 

1) He's a highly sexualized individual who violates the law of chastity.  Unfortunately for him (and us) he's never heard of it.  I tend to believe that he may think adultery is as bad as speeding.  Sure, you don't want to get caught because you know there are penalties.  But inherently, he believes (and I've found many people who believe this same thing) that if you're unhappy in your marriage, you should be permitted to wander.

He also has said controversial statements about women and sexuality which I won't repeat here.  But the fact is that the context he was referring to (again, I can't get specific about the exact statements and contexts) were with women who were actually the way he described them.  THOSE women were actually like that.  Yet people fault him for simply giving his first hand observations.

He's as much a product of his times as was Thomas Jefferson or Christopher Columbus (I'm not going into why I chose those individuals as metrics, but most of you know).  And we live in a nation where (the only widespread statistic we have on the topic seems to say that) approximately 80% of married men cheat.  And 1/3 off them feel no guilt about it.

2) He appears to not have a filter on his mouth.  I disagree.  He says things that most would consider crass, rude, boorish, uncouth, etc.  But really, Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill spoke that way -- when occasion called for it.  They were much more sparing and stylish about it.  But they did say such things.  Yet, we forgive them.  We don't forgive Trump?  Why?  Because he's TRUMP!!!  It often (as in not always, but widely prevalent) is not because it is bad behavior that gets people to object to his speech.  It is because he's TRUMP that people object to his speech.  The objectionable speech is simply an excuse, not true moral outrage.

The only difference with Trump is that he really is an open book.  Others hide it.  He doesn't care.  At the same time, this doesn't mean that his goal is to offend people.  It is that he cares more about communicating than he does about being polite.  If it's easy to be polite, he'll try.  But it just isn't a high priority.  Example:

Quote

At a press conference (I'm sure @anatess2 can find the youtube video):

Trump: ... anchor baby...

Journalist: Sir, people find that terminology offensive.

Trump: Really?  OK.  So, what am I supposed to call them?

Journalist:  Children of undocumented immigrants. 

Trump:  You want me to say THAT???  (implying "what a mouthful!")  I'm going to say anchor baby and you'll know what I mean.

Journalist:  But, Mr. president...

Trump: EXCUSE ME!  I said, I'm going to say "anchor baby".

He was apparently willing to be polite.  But the offense was too small; and the alternative, too onerous.  This is a man who is perfectly willing to be polite if he can.  But all too often, he finds other things to simply be more important than politeness.  He does have a filter.  But it just isn't a high priority.

And in the world of cancel culture and social media hatred, being polite is not really high on that many people's priority list.  Sure, it is important that OTHERS be more polite. But not that *I* be polite.  But some of us are willing to admit that we've simply grown into a culture of impolite people.  And we're living with it the best we can.

In fact, it is the existence of political correctness and cancel culture that allowed someone like Trump to come to office.  He cut through all that and proved that you don't have to bow to the PC mob in order to win an election.  It is because people were so fed up with it all that someone as unfiltered as Trump seemed like a breath of fresh air.

DISCLAIMER: I actually did not vote for Trump because I had all the character reservations as others.  But I've come to realize that was a bad perspective to take.  Yet I still do NOT believe it was a good thing to have someone like him as a public figure.  However, I DO believe it is a good thing to have him in office at this time.  That may be contradictory.  But it isn't.

I have known too many people in my life that were very rude, crass, uncouth, etc. be believe it is a good thing.  Most were very bad individuals.  I did NOT want them as my friends.  But there were TWO people I've known that did not care about politeness.  But they did it in such a way that they were favorable people.  I called them my friends.  I loved them.  I depended on them.  I trusted them.  I'd say that (outside of an eternal LDS perspective) they were GOOD men.  And most importantly, the were honorable men.  When you gave them a task, they did it, and did it well.  When they made a promise they kept it.  And even though they were lacking in the law of chastity from an LDS perspective, they treated women well.  I went on double dates with them.  Even so, I did not want them spending much time around my kids.

At first I thought Trump was the first type -- the type that you did NOT want to be around.  Over time, I've come to realize that he's of the (much more rare) second type.  He does keep his word.  And as such, I would vote for him as a public figure because he has kept his oath of office.  He has done so better than anyone I can think of in my lifetime -- including Reagan.

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Guest Mores
12 minutes ago, Grunt said:

Character still matters.  However, it isn't the ONLY thing that matters.

I'm not sure if you'd agree or disagree.  But my point is that today the only point about character that I care about anymore is: Will he keep his oath of office?

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4 minutes ago, Mores said:

I'm not sure if you'd agree or disagree.  But my point is that today the only point about character that I care about anymore is: Will he keep his oath of office?

I disagree with this statement, I suppose, but I don't think we're far off from each other.  We may even be on the same page but it's the wording I have issue with?   I believe character absolutely matters.  I believe keeping the oath of office matters.  I believe personal views on economics, world policy, religion, and individual liberty matter.  I rank all of these with varied levels of importance, but they all come into play when I'm casting a vote.

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

And we live in a nation where (the only widespread statistic we have on the topic seems to say that) approximately 80% of married men cheat

With all due respect @Mores, your numbers are way off.

You really think 8 out of 10 men cheat? No. Not even close. 

https://ifstudies.org/blog/who-cheats-more-the-demographics-of-cheating-in-america

And oh yeah, women cheat too. 

Edited by MormonGator

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Remember what they said about Nixon before all the crap went down?

"He may be a *beep*, but he's OUR *beep*".   Meaning, for all his horrible qualities, he's making all his efforts to push our agenda, so we'll keep him.  

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1 minute ago, NeuroTypical said:

"He may be a *beep*, but he's OUR *beep*".   Meaning, for all his horrible qualities, he's making all his efforts to push our agenda, so we'll keep him.  

That's how politics works. In fact, that's sort of how the real world works. 

Now, with the #Metoo movement, some democrats are throwing Bill Clinton under the bus. But back in 1996, no democrat would do that. It would mean political suicide. 

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Glad to hear #metoo folks calling out Clinton - it speaks to the movement's genuineness, since most of them are on the left.

Yeah, when you take all the credible allegations of sexual assault against Trump, and set them next to credible allegations of sexual assault against Clinton, well, that's a healthy dose of perspective.  Because one pile is quite bigger than the other pile.  And only one president made this face, while seated in the audience when one of his accusers had the microphone:

BillClintonLooksAtHisAccusers.JPG.71e7bf3af1208c72148dbda97e1b7b07.JPG

 

 

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@NeuroTypical-Just to go a step further, I understand why some religious people struggle with this concept. Like you perfectly said, many in politics say "Sure, he's a lousy excuse for a _____ but at least he is a _________." In politics, and in the real world, winning is everything. If bankers don't make money, they get fired. If a salesperson doesn't make their numbers, they get fired. It even trumps morality*. 

For someone who is religious, morality is everything, winning is secondary. So they might have a hard time grasping how someone can think differently. 

*There are exceptions. Anthony Wiener is one of them, but he was in a "safe seat", so they could throw him under the bus. Same with Al Franken. I guarantee you that if they were in purple seats, they wouldn't have been scarified so quickly. 

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14 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Glad to hear #metoo folks calling out Clinton - it speaks to the movement's genuineness, since most of them are on the left.

Yeah, when you take all the credible allegations of sexual assault against Trump, and set them next to credible allegations of sexual assault against Clinton, well, that's a healthy dose of perspective.  Because one pile is quite bigger than the other pile.  And only one president made this face, while seated in the audience when one of his accusers had the microphone:

BillClintonLooksAtHisAccusers.JPG.71e7bf3af1208c72148dbda97e1b7b07.JPG

 

 

No it doesn't.  They call out Clinton because it is now safe.  He's an outsider.  It's rare to see them do that with any of the debauchery that is uncovered today.  

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2 hours ago, Mores said:

Yes...And... No.  For those prone to TLDR, please take the time.

Character USED TO matter for two reasons.

1) People (specifically children) looked up to the President as the role model of what we as a nation are supposed to be like.  This was really the democratic parallel to the Royal Embodiment of the Nation philosophy of monarchical rule.  I should think we should be rid of it, myself.
2) If you have good character, you're more likely to keep oaths -- such as the oath of office.

But after Kennedy, Nixon, & Clinton, no one looks up to the president anymore.  No one expects them to be role models for our children.  No one wants to be like them.  So, it looks like we finally rid ourselves of it.

Growing up in the Philippines, we ended up with all these stupid actors and sports celebrities in our government, including the Presidency, because we are sooo hooked on "Character" but we are too easily swayed by their "TV" or "Magazine" character that we've idolized.  We've been trying to educate our citizens to see beyond their "public personas" and look into their qualifications to legislate or execute laws especially after we threw out our Constitution that was re-written by Marcos and have to come up with a brand new one.

It is truly American luxury to have such privilege as to have enough people to bubble up to the top of democratic elections that are of TRUE good moral character and also have the capacity to legislate and execute the will of the people.  It is the same luxury to be so privileged to have a court system where a jury of 12 random citizens can still - more often than not - come up with the correct verdict.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on one's perspective), 2016 is the year where the facade of the ruling elite has burst.  You were like the Philippines - being led by a club who you thought were of good moral character and good legislative/executive/judicial skill through media propaganda.  Trump, wielding the power of the information superhighway,  exposed the rot that has been festering for decades (if not centuries) under the illusion of political correctness and hyper-voter-focused hyper-politically-analyzed attractions.  But... there's more... he also exposed the lawlessness of unelected officers that are a constant government presence regardless of the ruling political party of the season.  This is a testament to the strength of the US Constitution where such things are possible without the need for a mass revolution.  Let's see where this takes you.

Edited by anatess2

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3 minutes ago, person0 said:

I find the following to be applicable to the principles of this discussion:
image.thumb.png.314cdd44bac4b9c4ac05f1fa1bf71395.png

This brings up an interesting question.

Many consider Jimmy Carter to have been one of the most moral men ever to have held the office of President. He is widely acclaimed across party lines to be an example of virtue and integrity. Yet most, Republicans and Democrats alike, consider Carter to have been a mostly weak and ineffectual President. Based on these ideas, Jimmy Carter can be considered almost the anti-Morianton: Someone who did justice unto himself but not unto the people.

So if you had to choose between the two, would you prefer the moral but ineffectual leader such as Carter, or the immoral but effective leader such as Trump?

Common wisdom, at least on the political right, has it that we're voting for a President, not for a minister. I think this gross oversimplication lacks significant chunks of truth, but in the end I think I end up agreeing with it. From what I know of the two men, I respect Carter more than I respect Trump, but I would vote for Trump over Carter approximately ten times out of ten.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we have no such choice to make. The likely Democratic candidates are all at least as morally objectionable as Trump, if not vastly moreso. Given that choice, I vote for Trump approximately one hundred million times out of one hundred million.

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17 minutes ago, Vort said:

This brings up an interesting question.

Many consider Jimmy Carter to have been one of the most moral men ever to have held the office of President. He is widely acclaimed across party lines to be an example of virtue and integrity. Yet most, Republicans and Democrats alike, consider Carter to have been a mostly weak and ineffectual President. Based on these ideas, Jimmy Carter can be considered almost the anti-Morianton: Someone who did justice unto himself but not unto the people.

So if you had to choose between the two, would you prefer the moral but ineffectual leader such as Carter, or the immoral but effective leader such as Trump?

Common wisdom, at least on the political right, has it that we're voting for a President, not for a minister. I think this gross oversimplication lacks significant chunks of truth, but in the end I think I end up agreeing with it. From what I know of the two men, I respect Carter more than I respect Trump, but I would vote for Trump over Carter approximately ten times out of ten.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we have no such choice to make. The likely Democratic candidates are all at least as morally objectionable as Trump, if not vastly moreso. Given that choice, I vote for Trump approximately one hundred million times out of one hundred million.

I couldn't agree more.

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

Fortunately or unfortunately, we have no such choice to make. The likely Democratic candidates are all at least as morally objectionable as Trump, if not vastly moreso. Given that choice, I vote for Trump approximately one hundred million times out of one hundred million.

I am seeing at least half a dozen people I know, former people-who-could-not-bring-themselves-to-vote-for-Trump, saying similar things.  I'm finding myself to be one of them.  Joe Biden vs. Trump?  Bernie Sanders vs. Trump?  Pretty clear choice this time around. 

These memes were why I went third party last election.  They're not applicable any more.

TrollTrumpVsHillary2016.jpg.024e8ebebc752e3d5764a7174a552f70.jpg

 

TrollTrumpillary.thumb.jpg.99d44ce2e995877ca497f4b7560a736c.jpg

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Guest Mores

I just came across this article from American Thinker:

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/01/trump_and_the_character_question.html

It essentially goes over the Scout Law to see how Trump measures up.  He apparently does pretty well.  I noticed that the author skipped over two items:

Kind & Obedient.

Kind is certainly not a word I would use to describe him in his public personality.  But what he said about signing the letters to parents of fallen soldiers seems to indicate that he certainly cares about the military.  I'm pretty sure he's not kind to everyone.  But it seems he is kind to those who aren't "out to get him".  Not quite Christlike. But not diabolical either.

Obedient is not what one expects from the POTUS.  But he has been obedient to the Constitution. And he recently admitted that he had to change his directive on attacking Iranian cultural sites because "It that's what the law says, that's what the law says.  I like obeying the law.  So, it is what it is."  (maybe not a perfect quote, but the gist).

He ends his article with this thought:

Quote

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."  In Trump's case, the tree is what he is doing and accomplishing.  The shadow is everything else – the tweets and "character" that the NeverTrumps are in a lather over.

As the sun goes down, so do the shadows.  But the tree remains.  Critics such as Mitt Romney would be far wiser focusing on the tree rather than the shadows.

 -- Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer. 

I'm not sure what he's getting at with the shadows disappearing at sunset.  Bad analogy.  But one thing I might say is that with a greater and stronger tree, often comes an equally great shadow.

Edited by Mores

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3 hours ago, Mores said:

I'm not sure what he's getting at with the shadows disappearing at sunset.  Bad analogy.  But one thing I might say is that with a greater and stronger tree, often comes an equally great shadow.

I think what he means by this is the shadows are only present in the media spotlight.  When the media spotlight fades, the shadow also fades but history will have to account for the tree.  

I could be wrong on that.

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3 hours ago, Mores said:

I'm not sure what he's getting at with the shadows disappearing at sunset.  Bad analogy.

Shadows, like colors, exist only when there's light. But the underlying reality stays even when it's dark.

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On 1/2/2020 at 10:36 AM, Grunt said:

Character still matters.  However, it isn't the ONLY thing that matters.

True. I don't think that anyone who voted for Trump was blind to who he was, the rumors and accusations about his private life, what one generally has to do to have business success at that level, that he was married several times (and whatever that implies), etc. I.didn't.care.  If you think the country is going down hill now, it would have been worse under Hillary, completely crazy leftists, and globalists. I'll let Trump worry about his soul, I'll worry about mine. As long as his behavior in office is tolerable (not even saintly, freakin' 'tolerable' would be enough for me), I'm fine.

On 1/15/2020 at 8:53 AM, anatess2 said:

MLK Day is coming soon.

I've never heard of any right-winger decry the pedestal MLK stands on for his moral weaknesses.

I have, plenty of times. I'm on some conservative boards and there are many people who have no problem pointing out MLK's weaknesses. He was a flawed human, as are we all. But, unlike many others, he was willing to put his life on the line to benefit people. (this is not a dig toward you, anatess2, just a comment) 

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If you had cancer, would you choose a highly skilled oncologist with bad character or an incompetent oncologist with good character? 

12 hours ago, dahlia said:

 

I have, plenty of times. I'm on some conservative boards and there are many people who have no problem pointing out MLK's weaknesses. He was a flawed human, as are we all. But, unlike many others, he was willing to put his life on the line to benefit people. (this is not a dig toward you, anatess2, just a comment) 

We all need to come to terms with the fact that people suck.  We need to have a mature and nuanced view of history and historical figures.  People can have terrible flaws but still accomplish great things.  Christopher Columbus had flaws but his accomplishments changed the course of human history.  Thomas Jefferson was a slave holder but but made invaluable contributions to the the founding of our nation.  Brigham Young said and did some bad things but he was a great colonizer and leader who kept the church together.  And on and on and on.  This is the problem with hero worship.  Our heroes will always let us down in one way or another.

Edited by Phineas

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Since this is talking about character among various leaders we should remember the duty the Lord has given us concerning choosing our leaders

Doctrine and Covenants 98

Quote

10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

How each individual chooses to act on that command is up to them. (Kind of like how one chooses to pay tithing)  But a faithful Saint should have the instructions of God guiding their actions even if other faithful members reach a different answer while doing so.

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Even if we assumed that personal virtue is indeed wholly irrelevant in the field of—say—medicine (and further assumed that the medical field could long endure if cheating on one’s medical boards, swindling and lying to patients, covering up botched procedures, and dodging continuing education requirements, all became an ingrained part of the professional culture—would you hire a degenerate-yet-skillful oncologist if you knew that thanks to his antics, there would be no oncologists at all when your children got cancer?); the civil government of a democratic republic is a very different skill set.  

In a democratic republic the people designate representatives, trusting that the representatives would act as the people themselves would act if they had the necessary time and information to function in those roles themselves.  Sustainable representative democracy requires a social culture of accountability and trust, which in turn requires a significant reserve social capital of honesty and self-denial.  

Yes, the system can lumber on for a while in spite of a few bad actors (or even many bad actors, when the underlying culture and morals and expectations are otherwise strong).  But when bad actors become the norm and the civic culture degenerates to the point that we don’t even *aspire* to anything better—that’s when you become Venezuela under Perez, or Russia under Yeltsin, or Weimar Germany.  I think the Lord knew that when He gave the warning @estradling75 cites.  

Certain actors here want America to stop being America and start being Venezuela and Russia and Germany and Zimbabwe and Mexico and the Philippines and Uganda and Brazil.  If we care at all about the world our children and grandchildren will inherit, then we need to start asking why.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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21 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Certain actors here want America to stop being America and start being Venezuela and Russia and Germany and Zimbabwe and Mexico and the Philippines and Uganda and Brazil. 

Venezuela and Zimbabwe - Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren

Russia and Mexico - Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, Jeb Bush

Germany - Marco Rubio

Philippines - Bloomberg

I can go on and on...

So, I could pretty much say JAG wants America to stop being America for failure to protect the Constitution.

 

 

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