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Integrity – Recently Placed on the List of Endangered Values

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Integrity – Recently Placed on the List of Endangered Values

A future founding father of the United States, a young George Washington once said to his father, "I cannot tell a lie. I cut down the cherry tree." What ever happened to integrity and its virtue? According to the Cambridge Dictionary integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. America itself once was the model for the world in integrity (George Washington’s portrait remains on dollar bill and the quarter along with the words “In God We Trust”), but today America’s reputation for honesty and doing what’s right when no one is watching is damaged. Clearly 200 years later integrity is a value that America’s citizens see as optional and not as one that determines their very character; therefore it’s acceptable to lie.

In the year of the election the majority of Americans are following the presidential race. The President of the United States should demonstrate honesty, high standards of moral, strong leadership, and integrity. As we examine the current race Hillary Clinton has been investigated for sending, receiving and storing classified emails on a personal server and jeopardizing national security as the Secretary of State. She has claimed, "As the State Department has confirmed, I never sent or received any material marked classified, and that [the truth] hasn't changed in all of these months." In 1998, former President Bill Clinton made a statement to the press: “I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false.” These are examples of not only our most senior leadership lying to the world, but subsequently the American public accepting their lies, forgetting about values and supporting their efforts.

The lack of integrity is not just a problem within our role models, but also within our institutions of education. In 2012, Harvard University experienced a scandal where about 70 of a class of 279 students were asked to leave the University for cheating on a final exam. “The episode has given a black eye to one of the world’s great educational institutions, where in an average year, 17 students are forced out for academic dishonesty” (Galante). Harvard was founded in 1636 and always stood for high values and integrity. 380 years of those high standards and values are seriously damaged in just one incident. “Cheating cuts to the very heart of academia, more so than it does other institutions that have faced similar wrongdoing, such as professional sports and the financial industry, because the search for truth is the primary mission of a university” (Christakis). But not only students are cheating. Another example that shocked the education community is the involvement of over 178 teachers and principals in the Atlanta Public School District by changing student answers on standardized tests in order to raise scores and to receive more school funding support (Jonsson). Today it is all about being successful, no matter what it takes to get there. As Ms. Anderson, a contributor of Forbes Magazine once stated, “success will come and go, but integrity is forever.”

On September 16, 2013 Boston police



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