Letter to the Editor

Character matters

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Award winning psychologist Thomas Lickona’s book “Character Matters” lists 10 essential qualities that must be developed in order to avoid irresponsible and destructive behavior in children as they grow into adulthood. They are: wisdom, justice, fortitude, self-control, love, a positive attitude, hard work, integrity, gratitude and humility. Many school systems have adopted his program to help our students grow to become purposeful and productive adults.

As I look at this list, I think about the role model our president presents to today’s youth. In 2005, in a recorded interview with Billy Bush, he bragged about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women and said “when you are a star, they let you do it.” Early in his career, he and his father routinely refused occupancy to blacks in his residence projects. He paid a $25 million settlement for fraudulent practices by Trump University. He was cited for illegal use of funds in the Trump Foundation. Litigation is still pending on a suit filed by Summer Zervas for unwanted kissing and groping. Over the past 30 years he has been party to 4,000 lawsuits, 75 of which are still active, according to USA Today. Failure to pay subcontractors, waiters, bartenders, real-estate brokers, and even lawyers hired to defend him have been reported. Also, 24 violations of the Fair Trade Act have been reported for not paying overtime or minimum wages to his employees. Trump also promised to protect Medicaid, but later abandoned it. In banking, Trump has become a pariah with U.S. banks for his practices. The Duetche Bank has become his principle source of loans. Incidentally, Duetche Bank is currently facing a $14 billion fine for its practices in the 2008 financial crisis. For more insights into Trump's illustrious history, surf the internet. It’s all there.

And then there is Charlottesville! With the KKK and white supremacists marching, carrying torches, weapons and Nazi banners, it was reminiscent of 1939 Germany. Anti-Jew and anti-black phrases were shouted in unison. It was difficult to spot “good people” in that crowd. In speeches by Trump, he equated the antifa's actions of responsible citizens to resist the display, as equally responsible for the violence that followed. Silence in the face of tyranny indicates acceptance. Today, after campaigning on a promise that Mexico would pay for the wall on our Southern border, he threatened to shut down the government if congress refuses to fund construction of the wall.

Reviewing the Character Matters principles listed above, how many would you attribute to the president?

— Robert Sneitzer, Spirit Lake