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Precepts of The Global Dialog Project


Why Integrity Is Important Now

About the IntegrityMeter

The IntegrityMeter

Why Integrity Is Important Now

The United States is described as a polarized country right now, but it is also a confused country. With all our talk of ‘family values’ and ‘constitutional rights’ and ‘rule of law’, we are still sorely confused and divided over what these imply, and what role they play in our decisions, from choosing Presidential candidates to deciding national actions like spending and war. In a Christian-dominated country where Jesus' admonition to ‘Turn the other cheek’ has become ‘Get them before they get us’, confusion is embedded in our culture.

Somehow we must tease conflicting strands apart, and understand the essential underlying principles on which our democracy rests – and which form the basis of our actions. It is time to understand ‘Freedom’, ‘Truth’, ‘Fairness’, 'Accountability', and ‘Integrity’ in a functional way. How do we support and apply these concepts in a way that itself has integrity?

Integrity is especially crucial because it requires truth, engenders trust, supports authenticity, and makes values and principles clear. At its base, it is the matching of word to action, creating the consistency of a clear direction which can be assessed and whose consequences are clear.

Without integrity, we are sailing toward the future without a moral or ethical compass. And it seems our current compass is defunct, foundering on bipartisan politics and massive, deliberate attempts to manipulate political perceptions through spin, distraction, and disinformation.

While our mass media should be the primary means by which we call politicians on lies and promises, instead it reports mostly on partisan accusations – without investigating or reporting on the truth of the claims themselves. Facts are no longer the news: allegations and attacks are. The collusion of politics and media has resulted in misleading soundbites and manipulation of the populace by subconscious metaphor and hot button emotional issues. None of this gives the citizenry firm ground to stand on – firm ground we need to make decisions that affect the rest of the world as well as our children and our future.

On the issue of integrity rests the American justification for war, invasion, and political programs; credibility with our allies; and our own sense of self as a nation. Without integrity both individuals and nations are perceived as unreliable, hypocritical, or even despotic. But where is the firm ground – the shared ground of integrity we can stand on together in order to make principled, rather than partisan, decisions?

In our polarized nation, that ground does not exist. It is up to us, We the People, to construct it. What is needed are shared, culturally constructed standards and measures of integrity. What information is so crucial that we, as a culture, must acknowledge its truth as the basis for our future actions? When is it essential that we admit the wrongness of a belief or an opinion, and rethink actions taken on false assumptions? How do we point out, and resist capture by, the spin and bias that pervades our media?

The Global Dialog Project is constructing such a framework for doing this: the IntegrityMeter. We are dedicated to bringing crucial information to you through this medium - but the IntegrityMeter will depend on *your participation* to help us construct agreed-upon standards, to present issues for analysis, and to assess the integrity of candidates, actions, and institutions.

Because it is time for you – yes, you! – to claim your integrity too: as a voter, as a citizen, as an American in part responsible for our actions across the globe. Your perspective, your knowledge, your understanding – these form a unique integration in the world that should be shared as part of our collaborative societal foundation. So please, join us, in rebuilding a shared infrastructure of values, standards, and principles. That way,
we can check to see if the road we are on leads us where we want to go.

You can view the progress of the IntegrityMeter and its application to the Presidential election, here.