Does Character Count Anymore?
This morning my twitter and facebook feeds are full of the stories of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford being implicated in criminal activity including evidence of hard drug use and Canadian cyclist Ryder Hesjedal offering an apology after being named as a user of illegal performing enhancing EPO. This sucks. What’s most frustrating is the outpouring of support for both men that appears to be excusing their wrong behaviour on the basis of their other achievements. It seems that there is a growing acceptance that the ends justifies the means. I understand that in a social media society with highly competitive media markets we know far more about the frailties of public figures than ever before. I’m under no illusion that earlier generations were morally superior, and I don’t long for blissful ignorance. But I want to see some signs of character. I still believe that leadership is more than just the ability to get things done. I still want to point to prominent people in various fields as being admirable for more than their professional achievements. As cliche as it may be, I want my children to have heroes worthy of the description. I don’t think I’m a legalist who expects perfection from anyone, in fact, I am both pragmatically and theologically someone who is utterly convinced that none of us are capable of getting everything right. What I’m looking for are those people who recognise their own responsibility for their failures and don’t try to hide them through intimidation or insincerity. I want examples of humility and vulnerability. I’d vote for that. I’d cheer for that. I’d buy the books/albums/tshirts. Help me out. If you can think of a truly admirable leader who acknowledges their imperfection and admits their need for support share them in the comments. I (and maybe many others) could use the dash of hope.