A Philadelphia prosecutor was charged with accepting luxury gifts in exchange for official favors. Despite this, he has plead not guilty to all charges.
Why does it seem that the norm has become lying, cheating, and stepping on backs of those who helped pave the way? We all were taught at a very young age about right and wrong. If you took something that wasn’t yours, or lied and cheated, you were scolded. This is how many of us began our journey into the world of morals and ethics. Our parents, teachers, and elders mold us before we’re unleashed into the world as adults. So when something like this story comes out about an attorney accepting luxury gifts in exchange for favors, you have to wonder where that breakdown in his moral code began. Even Mayor Jim Kenney spoke up about this violation of the law:
“At a time when our citizens’ trust in government is at an all-time low, it is disheartening to see yet another elected official give the public a reason not to trust us,” said Kenney, a fellow Democrat. “That this comes at the head of our justice system is even more troubling.”
I do not know how this will be resolved, but whatever the outcome, it is clear that the prosecutor had a breakdown of ethics. This news stood out to me as an all too common example. The strength of our democracy relies on the values of its individuals. It was a strong sense of values that led the United States to declare independence. Every individual that is willing to ignore the human values that are within their heart, will ultimately destroy themselves and others. That is a strong statement. I believe it to be true. If you cannot live out your own values, you will have a negative effect on our society.
No one is perfect. We struggle against challenges, issues, and problems each day. It is easy to give in; to bend the rules. In the case of this prosecutor, he accepted inappropriate gifts. We become better by overcoming the challenges. We become stronger by solving the problems. It is not easy to stand by your values. But it will make you stand out in a society that at times seems to be crumbling at the edges.
Jack Klemeyer recently explored how important values are to us, especially during the hiring process.
It may be ethically “right” to not steal from another. But is it stealing if you mark up a price significantly higher than usual and get a customer to pay that price? Creating a piece of marketing that looks like one thing – a feature story in a magazine or an ebook with your name as author – but is really something else – a marketing sheet for a make-believe magazine that doesn’t exist or a generic book written by someone else and resold. This may not be “lying,” but does it mesh with your values of fairness, honesty and integrity?
It’s hard to stick to your values when those in higher, more powerful positions don’t seem to want to play by the same rules. The best you can do is to reflect upon your own values in your business and home life. Surround yourself with those that follow the same moral code as you and hold the same values in high regard because if not, you will feel the affects of differing views in every partnership you have. You will be able to stay productive and also be proud of the steps you took to success.