Integrity is being in possession of firm principles…honesty and truthfulness. Integrity is not situational. It is not what you do in front of people, symptoms but rather what you do even though no one is watching. In the highly politicized culture in which we live, abortion concepts like integrity, nurse ethics and taking personal responsibility are often absent. It is easier for people to point the finger and shift the blame to others, or claim a complete lack of knowledge or awareness about a particular situation that tests the veracity of their integrity, than to face the situation head on. It is much more convenient for those who are being tested to “claim” to be, or remain, blissfully ignorant when a challenging situation confronts them. We all do this in small ways, like when we trip for no apparent reason and blame the sidewalk or drop something and blame someone else for distracting us. The “Look what you made me do!” syndrome, conveniently exempts us from all blame or responsibility.
This past week a prominent governor of a northeastern state was barraged by a media onslaught demanding answers regarding the apparent abuse of power concerning the shut down of the world’s busiest bridge, allegedly in retaliation for the non-support of a political opponent. The governor has a reputation for being “large & in-charge”, and this is in no way in reference to his physical size. On the contrary, it refers to his persona which enters a room with a vibrato that can shake the rafters. When he spoke of the allegations, suspicions and outright charges last week, he began by denying that he knew anything about the horrible traffic jams that took place over a four-day period in the state for which he presides as chief executive. He was absolutely “stunned” and immediately started blaming others for the misdeeds and the effects of the “mis-direction” of political payback. Okay, so this is not about whether or not the accusations regarding abuse of power are accurate or inaccurate; the facts of that will take weeks or months to come out, if ever. No. It is about a question of integrity. What must have been going on, while no one was watching, that created a culture where the idea of being public servants was transformed into “in the service of a political agenda”? How is it possible to sacrifice everyone around you, the people who are your closest, most-trusted associates, in order to save yourself, claiming you had nothing at all to do with the things for which people plead the 5th and remain silent? It is a question of integrity and a lack thereof!
Having integrity requires that you sometimes sacrifice popularity in order to make choices that are unpopular. It takes courage to have integrity and most often that courage is not displayed in front of an audience but rather in small quiet moments when you stand at a crossroad, a place where one way seems easy and the other harder than you think you can handle. Integrity makes you stand up for those who have stood up for you. Integrity allows you to get up and look yourself in the mirror without being ashamed of who you are or what you’ve done. Make sure that you know who you are and what you stand for…that ‘s the essence…that you stand for something and where you are standing… reaches beyond yourself.
Up Next Week: The State of our State