top of page

The Moral Courage That is Lacking in Politics and Ourselves

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”

– Mark Twain

King Solomon once stated, “there is nothing new under the sun.” It seems the lack of moral Courage among leaders was as common in Mark Twain’s day as it is in our day. This is not a political rant. Now it may be a rant, but I am going to focus on waking up CEO’s, middle managers, parents, and any adult outside of politics. Frankly, I am tired of political rants.

Physical Courage is inspiring to watch. Watching the men and women in the fire services fighting wildland fires gives me chills. The physical Courage soldiers and law enforcement officers show when bullets begin to fly makes young children want to wear a uniform and serve others.

Moral Courage is another level of Courage. Rarely do acts of moral Courage make the headlines. It is more likely that acts of moral cowardice get highlighted by the media. Most of us will avoid the negative media spotlight in our lifetimes. But some recent examples of moral cowardice include:

● The manipulation of clinical data and the subsequent cover-up at Theranos.

● College athletic departments’ attempts to hide player misconduct to include battery and rape.

● The tacit approval of bad behavior by a politician because people agree with their policies.

Everyday Moral Cowardice

It is easy to look at the examples listed above and point fingers and shake our heads. But let’s be careful. We may not be in the news, but are we always exercising moral Courage? What about:

● Staying silent when someone at work cuts a corner.

● Staying silent when the boss asks for feedback.

● Avoiding the anger of a spouse by telling a lie. (FYI. White lies, fibs, and half truths are LIES.)

● Not challenging a peer about their behavior or attitude.

● Allowing a difficult employee’s attitude or behaviors to hurt the team.

● Not correcting a child because of the potential for a tantrum.

Ouch! I can honestly say I have failed before in all six of the situations above.

Everyday Moral Courage

Few of us are called on regularly to exercise physical Courage. But we are all challenged to exercise moral Courageeach and every day. Courage is a habit. Each time we choose Courage or cowardice it makes it easier to make that same choice again. That is how habits are formed.

To become a person who has strong moral Courage, we have to choose to exercise moral Courage consistently. We don’t get in shape by reading a fitness magazine or exercising once a month. Nor will we strengthen our moral Courage if we only read about Courage or exercise Courage periodically.

The Bottom Line:

Our society needs leaders of moral Courage. Yes we need them in politics, but we may need them even more in our everyday lives. We can all make choices daily that will strengthen our Courage.

My rants about politicians seem empty when I stop and compare many of my choices to theirs. The only way they are different is in media coverage.

The point is, if I continue to give in to moral cowardice in my daily choices, the damage to my character is similar to what happens to a politician's character. Besides, we have absolutely no control over whether anyone else chooses moral cowardice or moral Courage. The only person whose choices we control are our own.

Do we spend as much time analyzing our own choices as we do the choices of others?


What other challenges to our moral Courage should we all be prepared to face?


Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you.

Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.

To take the assessment use the QR code above or go to

106 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page