What Is Character?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Worry about your character, not your reputation. Reputation is what people think of you. Character is who you are.

—John Wooden, legendary coach of basketball and character

Everyone admits that President Trump cares more about his character than about his reputation. Only a man concerned with his character would tell the truth.

Reputation is what people think of you. Character is who you are.

The Stoics teach us that reputation is beyond our control. Trump understands this. Mitt Romney does not.

What things are not under your total control? Your body, property, reputation, status, Because they are not under your total control they are weak, slavish, subject to restraint, and in the power of others. They do not concern you because they are outside your control.

—Epitetus, The Good Life Handbook, translation by Dr. Chuck Chakrapani

I get it. Young Republicans are trained to say “Yes’m” to any charge of racism. Like cowards. Or something that starts with “p” and rhymes with cat. Or something. Use your imagination.

Republicans worry about their reputations. Never their character.

Republicans live for the praise of the fickle world, not their true nature.

Republicans crave what they cannot have. They cannot control their reputations.

It takes courage to speak the truth.

It takes courage to speak the truth when your culture craves lies. When the culture wants its narrative reinforced. When the culture’s narrative is a lie, the culture demands confirmation.

And a culture in need of reinforcement punishes truth.

Donald Trump told the truth about Charlottesville. Trump spoke truth in every sentence and every syllable. But cowardly Republicans like Mitt Romney seek to control what others think about them by denying the truth Trump spoke.

What did Trump say that was true?

  • Racism is reprehensible
  • Nazis are horrible
  • Violence to suppress opposing views is criminal
  • Terrorists on the right and terrorists on the left clashed in Charlottesville
  • All terrorism is reprehensible

All true. 100% true. Undeniably true.

Never did President Trump defend racists or Nazis.

Never did President Trump justify their violence.

If you believed the lying headlines on HuffPo, Politico, Business Insider, and Vox, I urge you to feed your character by reading or hearing what the president actually said. Think for yourself. Like a grownup. Don’t skim the headlines like Mitt Romney. Don’t rhyme with cat.

The great family man Romney literally praised Antifa terrorists. To bolster his reputation. His reputation among people who called him a racist and a fascist in 2012 and consider him a fascist today.

Romney tweeted in praise of Antifa terrorists, justifying their violence because, in Mitt’s view, Antifa opposes racism.

No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.

Really, Mitt? You’d be beaten to death and burned in a trash barrel if your Gucci loafers accidentally carried you and your Orvis gingham blazer into an Antifa riot. But, whatever, tough guy. You Mormon gansta you.

Character is who you are, not what people think of you.

Character is telling the truth, not to power, but to the pansies who want to hear lies that make them feel good about themselves. They’re everywhere.

Character is Charles Bukowski, not Mitt Romney. Per Mark Manson in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***:

See, despite the book sales and the fame, Bukowski was a loser. He knew it. And his success stemmed not from some determination to be a winner, but from the fact that he knew he was a loser, accepted it, and then wrote honestly about it. He never tried to be anything other than what he was.*

. . .

Bukowski didn’t give a fuck about success. Even after his fame, he still showed up to poetry readings hammered and verbally abused people in his audience. He still exposed himself in public and tried to sleep with every woman he could find. Fame and success didn’t make him a better person. Nor was it by becoming a better person that he became famous and successful.

Yet Charles Bukowski was a far better man than Mitt Romney. Because Bukowski was true. True to his character. Honest.

Bukowski cared more about his character than his reputation.

He could control his character. Not his reputation.

Romney doesn’t swear or drink or womanize. He just lies and cowers. And praises the terrorists he’s afraid of.

I realize I’m putting my reputation at risk by writing this truth. Americans hate the truth. And punish truth-tellers. But I’d rather die scared with honest men of character like Bukowski than live in smug shame with grinds like Mitt Romney.

Which rhymes with cat.

*Emphasis added.

Why I Cried and Made My Bed

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I cried this morning. At work. Tears of shame.

Every day when I get to work, I go through a thirty-minute routine. I write down the 3 things I want to accomplish that day. I write down my appointments. I write down a one-sentence prayer. I copy a quote to guide me. With the time remaining, I learn one new thing.

Today that one thing I learned was humbling. Shameful, actually.

I found a video of a commencement speech by Admiral William H. McRaven, USN, at University of Texas-Austin. Admiral McRaven’s title is Commander, US Special Forces Command. He’s the HMFIC of the Navy SEALs. He gave a short speech, which I’ve embedded below. He told the Class of 2014 how to change the world in 10 easy steps.

Stupid people don’t make Admiral. Misguided people don’t make SEAL. Admiral McRaven’s frist tip on changing the world is so simple and so obvious only a brilliant man with impeccable bearing could recognize it.

Here’s the transcript of the first tip, via Business Insider:

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-mcraven-commencement-speech-at-ut-2014-5#ixzz32UsvGYLl

I didn’t make the bed this morning. And, yes, I was the last one up.

Over the years, I’ve gotten into the habit of leaving the bed unmade. No one ever sees it. Who cares?

When I heard Admiral McRaven’s reason for making the bed every day, I cried. I’m worthless. I’m too lazy to make a bed? Seriously?

I watched the rest of Admiral McRaven’s incredible speech. The best commencement speech I’ve ever seen Ever. I watched it again. I cried more. Admiral McRaven needed only about 10 minutes to expose every one of my character flaws.

Yesterday, I wrote about things I did wrong with the Tea Party in the last five years. Today, Admiral McRaven told me why I did them wrong. I got sloppy. I turned my back on what I learned in boot camp in Orlando, Florida, in 1985.

So I came home from work and made the bed. I made the bed before I changed clothes, worked out, read the mail, or worked in the yard.

Of all the countless things I’ve done wrong in my life–all things I should cry about and ask forgiveness–I’d never have guessed that making the bed would make me cry.

Only a brilliant warrior-leader could point out the enormity of such a seemingly tiny flaw.

Thank you, Admiral McRaven.

Here’s the video:

Now We Know Why Mitt Romney Has Been Wildly Successful In Life

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Barack Obama’s performance was not nearly as bad as Romney’s performance was good.

EmptyChair-New-Yorker

Not good—terrific.

I’m not talking about his politics and policies; I’m talking Romney’s remarkable presence. Here are the four principles of presence that Romney knocked out of the park.

Command of the Facts

When it came to facts—and to how those facts matter to the listeners—Mitt Romney seemed more prepared for the office of President than the President. Every attack by the President was countered, not with excuses or logic, but with numbers, facts, and verifiable statements.

The words that popped into viewers minds regarding Romney: confidence, authority, intelligence, competence, and readiness.

Affable Demeanor

From the moment he stepped onto the stage, Mitt Romney’s body and face reflected a friendly, but determined, man. His eyes danced. He smiled when appropriate, and never scowled. He stood still and straight—“in neutral,” as personal coach Frances Cole Jones describes the position: feet planted, hands at sides, ready to move but disciplined to hold steady.

Romney’s demeanor led people to think: approachable, safe, unguarded, honest, open, and strong.

Eye Contact

When Barack Obama attacked Romney, the President looked down or at Jim Lehrer. When Romney called out Obama, he looked his rival in the eye. While Obama’s eye-aversion looked weasel-like and weak, Romney’s forthrightness looked brave.

The word that Romney’s eye contact conjured: mensch.

Consistency

After 90 minutes, the President looked beaten, exhausted, distracted, and uncomfortable. He stood on one leg, often rocking back and forth like fidgety boy in Sunday School. But Romney’s strength, energy, and determination never waned. Romney never soared, but he never descended.

The word viewers thought about Romney’s consistency:  stamina.

Presidential

In every respect, Mitt Romney came across as more presidential than the President himself. He was more in command of facts, he was more likable, he had the wherewithal to look his rival in the eye and maintain all of these qualities consistency.

Mitt Romney’s impression on voters:  Mr. President.

John Roberts Switched His Vote Under Outside Pressure

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It won’t look like decay to many.  John Roberts will be the toast of the political class for years to come. He’ll attend all the prettiest events with the prettiest people. Barbara Streisand will have him out to her massively carbon-releasing Hollywood mansion.  The Washington Post intelligentsia will place his bust in its pantheon of The Evolved.  He might even golf with Bill and Obama.

vertigo-photo-4

But beneath the black robe grows a dark stain on his soul.  Day by day,  decision by decision, the stain metastasizes.

He’ll look at his grand kids and wonder how they’ll react when they learn that their grandpa betrayed his conscience and his country to avoid scorn from the political class. What will his great-grandchildren’s textbooks say about him?

And what of his country?  Will his  moral collapse speed America’s descent into totalitarianism?  Maybe the government’s textbook writers will treat him with favor.

Or will his old team prevail?  The team of rugged individualism and the power of principle.  Will America somehow rally and recover its former greatness?  And if so, how will our future history books represent the Supreme Court Chief Justice who couldn’t take the heat of Chicago politics in Washington?  How will our side describe the justice who caved?

We know now that Roberts switched his vote under intense pressure from the White House and from the press.  He sold out the more than 60% of Americans who oppose socialize medicine in order to win favor with the 8% known as the “political class.”

CBS News reports the extent of Roberts’ ostracization from the court’s conservatives:

The fact that the joint dissent doesn’t mention Roberts’ majority was not a sign of sloppiness, the sources said, but instead was a signal the conservatives no longer wished to engage in debate with him. [emphasis added]

Roberts is now a man without a country, without a cause, and without a confederate. The liberals don’t need him, and the conservatives can’t trust him.

I suspect history will be very unkind to John Roberts, no matter how America ends. History is unkind to cowards.

UPDATE:  Michael Patrick Leahy calls for lawsuit over Obamacare’s failure to adhere to origination clause.

P.S.  Sick of getting kicked in the gut? Join The After Party the 3rd Thursday each month. Next meeting is July 19th at 7 p.m. at Yacovelli’s Restaurant at 407 Dunn Rd., Florissant, MO 63031.  Free buttons!