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June 2005 Character Quality
the following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
  The town square was packed.  Thousands upon thousands of spectators listened to a speech
made by a visiting dignitary.  Cheers and polite applause greeted him as he spoke eloquently
and communicated his care for them through his speech.  Finally, he said the one thing they
had been waiting to hear for decades.

“General Secretary Gorbachev… if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr.
Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”  The square seemed to
explode from the roar of the crowd as President Ronald Reagan said these words, and he
showed the world that gaining and maintaining justice was the only way for a nation to survive
and grow.   

  Justice does not back away when wrong is being done.  Justice does not look away when evil
thrives.  It is personal responsibility to uphold what is pure, right, and true.  For us to show
justice, we must weigh our actions and decisions upon such moral principles as honor, respect,
truthfulness, and virtue.  We cannot become so accustomed to injustice that we accept it as
normal and fail to discern the difference between right and wrong.  

  Standards must apply to all people, not just one group.  If it is wrong for one person, then it
must be wrong for the next person.  Here are five ways to build justice in our lives.  Keep a clear
conscience; take personal responsibility for your moral principles within your jurisdiction; use the
correct methods by working through proper channels; face the facts of wrongdoing and, if
possible, correct them; and last but not least, promote reform – not revenge.  Revenge does not
correct anything.  Reform changes the person and makes him a credit to society instead of a

  While practicing justice, we must make sure that we keep from meddling.  We must work for
the cause of justice only within the bounds for which we are responsible.  Wisdom and prudence
are the parents of justice.  Wisdom and discernment are necessary in every situation where
justice is needed.    Fairness is not the same as justice.  Fairness is letting everybody get the
same thing at the same time.  This is impossible.  Justice is based on personal responsibility and
accountability. Fairness is based on personal rights.  Someone said, “If you want to promote
revival, tell people about their responsibilities.  If you want to promote rebellion, tell people about
their rights.”  

  One last admonition from Theodore Roosevelt: “Justice consists not in being neutral between
right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the
wrong.”  How important this quality is today!  Let us hold down the fort for justice and always
remember to apply these principles.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials.  For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact:  Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at