It’s Time to Take a Stand

I usually avoid getting into political discussions because the extreme partisan positions of many people make it almost impossible to have a truly BALANCED discussion. Values-based leaders truly need to understand all sides of the story. I strongly believe the words of St. Francis who taught us to “seek to understand before we are understood.”

However, since I spend so much of my time teaching, researching, and reflecting on “values-based leadership,” the current situation in Washington with President Trump is something I can no longer avoid.

A friend sent me a link to an op-ed piece that John Brennan wrote in last Friday’s Washington Post. I have read it several times, and Mr. Brennan perfectly represents my view, even the title: I will speak out until integrity returns to the White House. John Brennan is not some left-wing partisan character. Far from it. He is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and has served under four presidents — both Republicans and Democrats — including George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. If Mr. Brennan has any agenda other than being a person who cares deeply about our country, he definitely has me fooled.

I encourage you to read Mr. Brennan’s piece. A few of his comments really hit home for me:

“The impact of the Trump presidency will be felt for many years to come. Most worrisome is that his use of falsehoods, his mean-spirited and malicious behavior, and his self-absorption will be emulated by many young Americans — indeed, young people globally — who look to the president of the United States as a role model.”

As a professor teaching values-based leadership, this has me VERY concerned.

“My criticisms, however, are not political; I have never been and will never be a partisan. I speak out for the simple reason that Mr. Trump is failing to live up to the standards that we should all expect of a president.”

A person fortunate to be our President MUST live up to the standards….this is what being a values-based leader is all about, which President Trump surely is not.

Here again is the link to John Brennan’s op-ed: I will speak out until integrity returns to the White House

As always, I am interested in hearing your perspectives.


Feature Photo by Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash


  • Daven Morrison MD

    Thank you Harry. I think Brennan got it right, too. And it’s good to see your voice in the public arena. It is a values based leadership issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Harry. Integrity and Trust are the corner stones of Values Based Leadeship. Our president has no integrity and has never earned my trust. John Brennan is a time honored man with an amazing track record of civil service. I’m so glad he stepped up and I agree with him completely. Peace to you, Harry.
      Bro. Jack

      Liked by 1 person

  • Harry. I have been attempting to have these conversations in a non-partisan way as well. My issues with this presidency have always been about integrity. Without integrity there can be no credibility which is critical in leaders and most important for the leader of our country. Thank you for kicking off this conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Harry, I so enjoy your writing, radio appearances and teaching – you are a true gem and leader in so many ways. I know you are taking a non-partisan position and limiting a lot to supporting Brennan’s opinion. In the name of integrity and the spirit of this position to our current President, I’d actually love to hear both of you gentlemen go into more non-partisan, values-based, character-profiling depth on previous administrations – go back as far as you like. Perhaps another book – ‘a story of the values and critique of our previous administrations, what was right, what went wrong: how did we get here?’ History can be a funny thing, so can the long term memory of our citizenry. There is another book I’m particularly looking forward to reading that you might like, based on what I’ve heard about it, “Suicide of the West” – Jonah Goldberg. I think the secret to what we have in Trump and his rise to the Presidency is squarely laid on the lack of integrity affecting our country and people and role models for our children (starting with honoring to uphold the Constitution of the United States); that which we have all endured for far too long in our federal and (in some cases) state governments at large. And with the failing leadership in Hollywood, corporate C-suites, in our own state government of IL (starting with a host of offenses against women), perhaps we find the ‘boogie man’ is beyond just one man at 1600 Pennsylvania. Thanks for being a positive, values-based voice in business that’s so genuinely needed today. I leave you with a quote from Thomas Sowell, “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” We can do better, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Harry, thanks for sharing. Excellent article!! Our (as we also face quite some challenges in good old Europe, including my home Germany) biggest open question seems to be how to get all of this „translated“ to the people who voted for such leaders and, following polls, still believe it was and is the right thing to do. It looks quite frustrating that Mr. Trump would be elected again today, results like the recent one in Italy can happen, an extreme right wing party like the AFD in Germany is today the second largest party in many parts of the country (based on recent polls) and, and, and….I remember one of the first comments after Mr Trump was elected from an „official“ was that it has to start with investing more in education to avoid such a catastrophe, and that is something everyone from us can do every day. No pressure Professor:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  • Harry, as a Catholic, and as one who quotes St. Francis, you are missing the bigger picture and should know that more is in play here than meets the eye. No President in recent memory had truly great character. All had significantly compromised integrity. And all contributed tremendously to the decline of our nation’s culture.

    So, along comes Trump. One whose personal character and integrity is flawed even more so than previous Presidents. Integrity in word and deed in our President is important, BUT policies advocated are significantly more important. Would you rather have a foul-mouth, morally compromised, street brawler who fights for your policies (and gets the job done), or would you rather have a duplicitous, teleprompter reading, he doesn’t embarrass me with fine company at cocktail parties, President whose policies only accelerate our decline into financial and moral bankruptcy?

    Invoking the Pareto principle (80/20), Presidents are remembered 80% for policy and 20% for character. While character informs policy, policy reveals character. Or, to state another way, policy trumps character.

    Trump is not from political (or academic) circles where managed decline towards progressivism is the goal. He’s taking on the status quo and the Washington establishment and making progress. Let’s quickly examine one issue- abortion. As a Catholic Harry, you should be openly praising Trump more for being the most pro-life President since Roe v. Wade. Remarkable progress for the preborn.

    As for Mr. Brennan, consider yourself fooled. Admitting to voting for the Communist Gus Hall for President should be a major red flag as to Brennan’s true colors.
    Brennan’s faux patriot agenda is not in our nation’s best interest. Brennan’s, and others, tactical agitprop drumbeat to get people to focus on Trump’s character is a diversion. Don’t fall prey to it.


  • Very unusual your comment, specially if you and Mar Brennan consider Clinton as a true valué representative.


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