Integrity by Erlhynda Rosel

WANTED: INTEGRITY by: Erlhynda Rosel

Our integrity is in a state of crisis. The lack of integrity of private individuals and public officials has made us lose our standards- personal and national- and put personal interest ahead of all else. What we have is a society driven by the need for personal gratification. We have lose sight of the good of the larger community and how we as individuals can make it what it ought to become.

The lack of integrity among politicians are more evident because their actions are magnified a hundred times over. Because they are public figures and they are suppose to serve the public and consider the best interest of the people they serve, any decision and action that shows their total lack of concern for and neglect of their community obligation is like an insult to the Filipino people who voted for them. When we trusted them with our votes, we assumed that they had our best interrest at heart, they would be honest and remain true to their oath of office. But the political culture of selfishness and hypocrisy has swallowed them.

Let us say, we have a popular political figure, like a government official, who did something wrong and when it was discovered, denied having anything to do with it. But then after the investigation, he was found to be responsible for the wrong he committed. Only then he admit that he did it. He then expected that everything would be forgotten and he would be forgiven too. When the next elections came, he hoped to be elected again. Would you still want this person to hold a public position? Is he, or anyone else like him, a person of integrity? The answer is plain and simple: NO!

Integrity is an important character trait of people, especially those who hold important positions and who are in public service. People who have no integrity have no RIGHT to run for any public office and expect people to TRUST them with their votes and their future. But what is INTEGRITY? And WHO has it?

INTEGRITY is a virute that seems to be lacking in many of us these days. It refers to a quality of person's character, its wholeness, intactness or purity. This means that the person is not corrupted by any immoral, sinful or wrong ways of other people.

Persons of integrity take the time to know right from wrong. Their decisions are not based on simple but are based on careful study and reflective thought. In other words, they do not make decisions without first looking at the morality and soundness of these decisions. They use moral standards to guide them in their actions and judgements. At present, bacause many people live in the fast lane, many people who do not have the time to carefully weigh their decisions that affect their lives and the lives of those around them. They believe that as long as their actions do not physically harm others, they can do anything. But thinking is an important part of forming integrity. Through reflection and careful thought, one develops a strong sense of right and wrong.

Persons of integrity act on what they believe. Their beliefs are products of careful consideration of the moral standards and their actions are consistent with their beliefs. They do not have double standards and value conflicts. They are faithful to their words. What they know and understand, they show manifest and manifest in their actions. They do not say one thing and do another thing. As we always say in Values Education, the WALK their TALK, they practice what they preach and profess. This way, they do not confuse others and themselves. Because what we see is what we get, it is easy to know what they believe in and what they stand for. Integrity, therefore, is not something that we can choose to show whenever we want to. It is not like a dress that can be worn on special occasions and kept in the closet when are not seeing anyone. Iintegrity is a way of life, it is integrity into what one thinks, believes and does.

Persons of integrity stands up for what they believe in. They dont simply manifest it, they also advocate it. This is why integrity has a social dimension. It can't be personal... can't be kept in secrecy... coz it has to be shown to and seen by the others. We cannot say we have integrity without the people around us knowing that we really do. People who has it cannot be silent about what they believe in, they have to publicize it and try to influence others to see their point of view. Lying about one's view, concealing them, taking back one's words because of pressure or threat are indications of the absence of integrity. If a person of integrity has committed a mistake or a wrong decision, she/ he readily admits its mistake and does not wait for others to find out about it. She/ he also does not claim to do things or take credit for things she/ he did not do.

Persons of integrity put the good of the community ahead of the individual. They sacrifice their interest and those of others who are close to them if they do not meet the ethical and moral standards. Personal satisfaction is the last thing in their mind if it will be detrimental to the community. This can be illustarted with the simple act of talking as loud as i want. Can i do that? Can you do that? Ofcourse, you can. But the other side of this act, the one related to integrity, is the consideration of your actions's effects on others. Should you consider your obligation to respect other people's interest? Ofcourse, you should! Between these two, doing what you want to do and considering the effects it has on others, integrity dictates that you should sacrifice personal interests in favor of the interests of the others. So, integrity is doing the right thing no matter what it costs the person. Can our government officials and lawmakers voluntarily give up their position if there are issues against them or their motive is questioned? The stakes are high, it is their political career, But can they sacrifice it in favor of the greater good?

Because INTEGRITY is a significant virtue, we should work to develop it in us. We have to look for models who has it, people who exhibit clean character and life. Our leaders should be our model but if they fail to become one, we should remember not to elect them next time. Because if they keep getting elected into their position, we are just as UNFIT to become electors as those whom we elect as leaders. Our country, our world, need people with integrity. What we hope to become as a nation, as a world, lies in the leaders in whose hands we entrust our future.