Thursday, December 14, 2017

The intricate web of integrity and ethics.

Integrity and ethics are two very sticky wickets which can ensnare us if we are not careful. Doing the right thing should always be our intention, but we let deviations into our lives which can break these subtle rules. A simple example is we criticize people for not coming to a complete stop at a red light and then taking a right, or maybe they do not use their turn signal. Later in the day, we break both of these rules because we are distracted or in a hurry. We protectively excuse ourselves, but go right back to criticizing others.

Practicing what we preach is not as easy as it sounds. We rationalize and excuse our own deviations and that is the gray area I'm writing about. I personally battle this all the time. Throw in the Golden rule and I'm really in violation.

Let's take a look at ethics just to be clear. Ethics is the "moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity." Ethics is how we deal with what is right and what is wrong. With the disintegration of the traditional single marriage family unit, conventional spiritual training has taken a back seat to the necessity that both parents work. This essential childhood grass root training doesn't exist in many people in 2017. Right and wrong was learned in day care, school, peers, television and most of all, Social media.

This pretty much explains what we see and hear that goes on around us today. If you've ever wondered why people can't distinguish between right and wrong, there is your answer. They want it, so getting it is simply a matter of taking it. Their idea of ethics is so far removed from the Greatest Generation's teaching as to be unrecognizable. Their world and wants are the only world that matters to them and once again, the easiest way to see this in action is to get in your car and drive.

Now, let's look at another human value that is disappearing - Integrity. Integrity is the "firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values". One of the most insulting sayings I know to describe a person with no integrity is that they are "anybody's dog that will walk them". If money can shut your mouth - you have lost your integrity and this is especially relevant today. If you have been so shamed and violated that you claim to be traumatized, no amount of money should be able to set you straight. By taking the money, you just became a prostitute. I would use the language Ann Coulter uses, but I'm not that good of a writer.

How can you have integrity without a set of ethics to live by? Social Media on one hand can be a guide, but on the other, it can be horribly destructive. There is a group on Facebook concerning Baytown that I refuse to join and it starts with the word "Nosey". People use profanity and are rude in many cases and after one day on it, I felt it violated my ethics. I refuse to eat at that trough. If I want to discuss things in Baytown on social media, I'll do it on or through my FB friends. If people are rude, I simply block them. "I ain't got time for dat" and my personal code of behavior keeps me in check, especially when I am online.

A battle takes place in my mind concerning my code of ethics and personal integrity and I think it sums up how all of us should think. If we truly have a code of ethics, we should be very careful if and when we decide to bend them. It can be the smallest of violations, like when someone shows you their ugly child's photo and you decide to not tell them the truth. "What a cutey patooty!" you exclaim, while inwardly cringing. After all, your code of ethics is to not lie, right? Yes, I know, it is silly, but you get my point. The next day you find a woman's purse in the parking lot of the new grocery store and in plain site is a bank envelope flush with hundred dollar bills.  Man, that sure would help Santa out this year, right? My code says I return it regardless of how much money is in it... I think.

"You touched me inappropriately!" "Okay, here's some money. Don't say a word." "Okay, I won't."

Remember this, if money can buy you, it can buy you at any level. It can shush you for the most heinous of crimes and social violations. All they have to do to de-rail you is raise the amount high enough for you to discard your ethics and integrity. The news programs are showing us examples of it every day and I do think it is important to understand this. Politicians, actors, singers, office workers, business partners - you name it; if they pay out or take money they lose all integrity. Both parties are guilty.


Anonymous said...

DDC: Bert, another excellent column in The Baytown Sun this morning. Extremely well said. It encouraged me and hopefully encouraged all who read it. God continue to bless you with His best, brother.

Anonymous said...

Marian Marshall

Excellent observations.

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