Recently, the noted ethical and political leader, William Bennett, was heard on the Michael Reagan radio talk show. He spoke of his new book titled "Death of Outrage," which addresses the public's lack of "outrage" over President Clinton's unethical and immoral behavior. On the program, the questions were posed (which I paraphrase herein), "Where are all the ethical interests groups voicing their outrage over Mr. Clinton? Where are the resignations coming from presidential Cabinet members? Where is the criticism from Democratic leaders?"
In responding to the question of ethical interest groups seeming lack of criticism, Mr. Bennett did mention one group many Americans may not be familiar with; a group called the Character Counts! Coalition, of the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Marina del Ray, Calif. (www.charactercounts.org).This group promotes "character," "doing the right thing" and "making ethical choices based on the six pillars of character," which are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Having briefly introduced this "character" framework, I would like now to issue an open invitation to Mr. Clinton that he step up and "do the right thing" based on the six pillars of character and three subsequent questions the coalition has written to help all people make ethical choices:
- Mr. Clinton, have you thought about the way your choices are likely to help or hurt others?
- Mr. Clinton, are you living up to the ethical principles of the "Six Pillars of Character" by being trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring and a good citizen even if you have to give up other things you want?
- Mr. Clinton, if you cannot find a way to live up to one of the Six Pillar principles without violating another, are you making the choice you think will be best for society in the long run?
The answer: Resign.
Darin R. Underwood