Nation sorely lacks positive role models

Our culture has forgotten the importance of role models to future generations

I’ve always believed that being a positive role model was the most important thing a person could do in their life.

In our culture, we hold up our great leaders, like George Washington who sacrificed his life for eight years as general of the Revolutionary army to make America independent from the oppression of Great Britain. He later became our president for eight years, not because he wanted to, but because he felt a deep sense of responsibility to guide his nation’s early years and to set a tone and an example for the future.

Washington knew the importance of setting a positive role model. Every decision he made as president came after deep thought and consideration of how future generations would see his actions. He was deeply aware of the importance of precedent for those who followed him.

We hold up Abraham Lincoln in the same way as he guided the nation through a painful and bloody civil war that cost the lives of 650,000 soldiers and the destruction of much of this country. His critics were constantly calling him names and drawing negative political cartoons of him, portraying him as a gangling ape. He didn’t strike back with angry counterattacks; instead, he bore those personal burdens at the same time as he was bearing the pain of the deaths of thousands of his own fellow citizens who died because of his decisions.

Lincoln is lionized in our culture because he stood the test of trial and fire for the good of the nation. He remains a role model of what a good president should act like and be like.

Fast forward to 2019. There are few positive role models to emulate at the national level. It seems we are living in a time when the importance of being a proper example has been forgotten. We have two political parties that have set aside morality for partisan advantage.

Democrats were often accused of having compassion but no morality while Republicans had morality but no compassion. That has changed. Democrats still have compassion (for those who agree with them) but no morality, while Republicans have neither morality nor compassion.

Keeping their word is a forgotten virtue. Thinking of the common good is for fools.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell kept a presidential Supreme Court justice nominee from even having a hearing during the last years of the Obama administration. His reasoning was that he wanted the voters to decide who the Supreme Court justice should be.

Republicans in the Senate then confirmed their candidate after the 2016 election. When recently asked a hypothetical question: Would he wait until after the 2020 election to confirm another Supreme Court position his answer was, “Of course not!” The Republican majority would confirm a Republican.

Is this the role model of leadership you want your children and grandchildren to emulate?

The Christian Right has also betrayed the morality that makes them Christians for political gain. They see the lies, the flip-flopping, the crassness and the cruelty of their president. It doesn’t matter to them. What they want is to win and change the direction of the country to their vision of a godly nation. To them, the ends justify the means. They ignore the sacrifice of their savior and his willingness to lay down his life for his friends. Winning has taken the place of being righteous and acting with integrity.

I find such behavior to be reprehensible. I’m embarrassed and saddened by the terrible role model some Christians are giving to their own children.

At this point, I would expect some conservative Christians who are reading this will be thinking, “Yes, but what about …?” You can fill in any number of words to finish that sentence. That’s just deflection and an example of your own loss of direction.

Our culture has forgotten the importance of role models to future generations. We need to remember Frank Sonnenberg’s quotation: “People who look up to you watch every move that you make — so don’t let them down.” We must end this madness.

Richard Elfers is an adjunct professor at Green River College and a columnist for Reporter newspapers. Reach him at editor@courierherald.com.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Republican’s write-in campaign highlights post-primary intrigue | Roegner

Can former Bothell mayor beat two Democrats for lieutenant governor post?

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
What does it mean to violate the Hatch Act? | Roegner

Federal law prohibits public employees from using their positions to participate in political activity.

Rico Thomas, left, has been a clerk in the Fuel Center/Mini Mart at Safeway in Federal Way for the past 5 years. Kyong Barry, right, has been with Albertsons for 18 years and is a front end supervisor in Auburn. Both are active members of UFCW 21. Courtesy photos
Grocery store workers deserve respect and hazard pay | Guest column

As grocery store workers in King County, we experience the hard, cold… Continue reading

Editorial: Honor 100 years of suffrage with your ballot

Women’s right to vote was recognized 100 years ago; we need to use the ballots women fought for.

Don Brunell
Why we should reconsider nuclear power | Brunell

If Americans are to receive all of their electricity without coal and… Continue reading

Courtesy photo
Editorial: Make certain you count in 2020 census

The Census Bureau has been told to cut its work short, making your response even more important.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Primary election was big for Democrats | Roegner

Secretary of State Kim Wyman is the lone Republican who looks strong heading into November.

A large webset offset printing press running a long roll off paper over its rollers at high speed. File photo
Editorial: Tax credit proposal would aid local journalism

Bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House would offer tax credits to advertisers and subscribers.

Don Brunell
Coronavirus comeback for Alaska Airlines?

It is no secret that airlines were clobbered by the coronavirus pandemic.… Continue reading

Richard Elfers is a columnist, a former Enumclaw City Council member and a Green River College professor.
Age of insanity for the left and the right

Do you feel that, like the COVID-19 pandemic, insane behavior is spreading… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Should the King County sheriff be elected or appointed? | Roegner

The question for King County residents is more complicated than it appears.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Who will advance to the November election? | Roegner

Races underway across state and King County.