Letters to the Editor: Virtue of a moral compass

The definition I favour most for moral compass is “anything that serves to guide a person’s decision based on morals or virtue.”

In the not too distant past when integrity was ingrained in the fabric of our society, the apathy and suspicion presently linked to our elected officials was rare. Now it is the norm.

Treaties of great importance and business deals were concluded and ‘signed’ with a handshake. A gesture conveying trust, which dates back to ancient Greece and continued through to the succeeding centuries.

Too often in the political arena, promises are made on a whim. Positions are taken as a matter of convenience, resulting in politicians being labelled flip-floppers generally and more stridently dishonest. A change in opinion or policy to garner votes for the retention of power is deemed acceptable and justified as being politically savvy. There is no consequence or alarm.

Admittedly, one does have the right to change one’s mind, or alter ones position. The responsibility; however, rests with that individual to clearly articulate their reason or reasons for the change. Keeping in mind that your word is your bond. Meaning, what you say can actually define you.

It is a fact that perception trumps reality. We rely heavily on what we see (perceive). Sometimes ignoring inherent intelligence even if it contradicts. What one perceives has to do with past experiences, one’s culture and the interpretation of the perceived. To paraphrase an old saying, ‘Justice should not only be done but also perceived to be done!’ So though the process might be legitimate and above board it should also appear to be so.

I have been following the East End imbroglio. With limited knowledge of the history or true intentions of the major players involved, I wisely reserve my opinion on the advantages or disadvantages of this project.

What I can comment on with a measure of certainty is the passionate stand taken by the East End petitioners and the strident voice of dissent coming from MLA Arden McLean.

One would be disingenuous if they questioned the commitment and sincerity with which Mr. McLean has approached this matter.

Please understand that I am commenting on nothing else other than one man’s unwavering, gallant stand on an issue. An issue he believes is based on a core belief that this project as is presently promoted would be destructive to the environment and negatively impact the lives of numerous East Enders.

This decision cannot be judged as ‘good politics’. It is not ‘the path of the least resistance’ and requires much moral fibre to sustain. This stand has had Mr. McLean publicly challenging and objecting the action of a family member as he considered it a breach of trust.

In my book this is a man making a stand based on principles. A stand closely akin to religious fervour.

At a time in the lives of men when trust in our political representatives is following the law of ‘diminishing returns’ I find Mr. McLean’s unbending will refreshing.

The virtue of a moral compass is something we should all strive for. Be it in our relationships or our business dealings.

‘Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing brings you peace like the triumph of principle.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Chester Johnson

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