The Ties That Bind

President-elect Barack Obama told us that none of the members of his staff had any contact with Illinois Gov. Blagojevich regarding the selling of his U.S. Senate seat. He told us that he launched an internal investigation and he re-assured us that nothing inappropriate occurred.

How many times does Rahm Emanuel have to speak to the governor before Barack Obama admits his Chief of Staff did, in fact, speak to the governor, and even urged the governor to choose Mr. Obama’s pick for the job?

Mr. Emanuel submitted a list of names to the governor. The list included the names of candidates Mr. Obama found suitable for the job.

There are reports that Mr. Emanuel had 21 different conversations with the governor or his staff.

None of these facts prove that any wrongdoing took place, but you have to wonder why Mr. Obama’s chief of staff contacted the governor more than 20 times within a month. You have to wonder why a list of “suitable” replacements was supplied by Mr. Obama’s staff. You have to wonder whether Mr. Obama was lying when he said he was confident that none of the members of his staff had contacted Gov. Blagojevich.

It’s apparent something was discussed. It’s pretty clear that some sort of deal was being discussed, or at the very least, implied. While some prominent members of the Republican party are telling people to back off and leave Mr. Obama alone, I think it’s high time that our President-elect starts explaining the actions and circumstances that led to those 21 conversations.

And don’t you skeptics worry. Rahm Emanuel is not the only Obama appointee that has strong ties to Gov. Blagojevich. It seems Mr. Obama’s choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, “forgot” about his connection to the governor.

Eric Holder and the governor held a news conference together in 2004 where Mr. Blagojvich announced Mr. Holder’s role as a special investigator. This information was left out of a 47-page response to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Whether or not anyone on Mr. Obama’s staff participated in Gov. Blagojevich’s scheme, it seems some of them have ties so deep it probably won’t even matter.

Character Versus Change

Two weeks ago I wrote about character and how we define our own reputations. Our reputations are based on the shadow cast by our character, but the size and depth of that shadow depends on our own actions, the hardships we’ve faced, and the destiny we forge for ourselves.

We are experts when it comes to our own character and we alone make the choices by which our reputation takes shape. By what measure do we judge another person’s character? What if things are a bit clouded and we can’t see their shadow too clearly? How do we judge their character?

Do we judge another person’s character by their words, actions, and accomplishments? Do we consider their opinions, thoughts, experiences and values? How long does it take to learn the true nature of someone’s character?

I’m sure the answer varies with most people. Sometimes you can judge a person’s character the moment they walk up to you, with others it can take much longer. Character plays a large part in how we interact with each other everyday. From the teenager working at the coffee shop to the seasoned business executive, we interact with people differently based on our perception of their character. You would most likely hesitate doing business with someone who had a bad reputation, and you would probably avoid taking stock tips from a bum sitting on a park bench.

Shouldn’t we take character into account when choosing the next President of the United States?

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So Many Questions, So Little Time

In 11 days we will be choosing the next President of the United States. Well, we won’t be choosing him, the Electoral College will be choosing him, but they will do so based on our votes from state to state.

Doesn’t it seem like the candidates have been campaigning for four years or so? No, it couldn’t be that long, because four years ago, Barack Obama said he wasn’t qualified to serve as President. He said he was a firm believer that you need to know what you are doing when you apply for a job, and that he would have to start running for President right then and there before ever serving a day in the Senate. I think that’s exactly what he did, don’t you?

I have election fatigue. I am tired of it all. I am tired of turning on the television in the morning and hearing about the polls. I am tired of turning on the television or the radio, only to be inundated with ads. But most of all, I am tired of the political double-speak.

I am tired of hearing one thing and seeing another. I am tired of listening to Barack Obama say something about his plans, only to read those plans myself and learn they are completely different than he said they were in his speech.

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The Shadow Of Your Character

No matter what you did when you were younger, and no matter how you got where you are today, you are forever known by your character and principles. Whether you’re working at a diner on 57th, folding clothes at the local laundromat, or working a white collar job on Wall Street, over the course of your life your character defines you and your principles guide you.

If you look up the definition of character you will find that it is ‘the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing’. Your character is defined by your moral or ethical quality. You have a choice whether or not to build a strong character or to simply let it all go. While your character defines you, you are still the writer of that definition.

When I was a teenager I could have fallen in with the ‘wrong crowd’. There was plenty of temptation and I had ample opportunity, but I didn’t. I chose not too. I chose not to associate with people that would have been a detriment to my character. Although it affected my reputation in school, it’s a choice I have appreciated making ever since.

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