Character matters. The Charlottesville terrorist act shocks us into a deep sadness and raises the question of whether we are going backward in who we are as a society. The president’s response deepens our hurt and jolts it to new lows. What happened to the content of character?

Heather Heyer died, along with two state troopers, H. Jay Cullen and Berke M. M. Bates. All three were present with a sense of duty to do the right thing. While Heather stood up against hate, Jay and Berke dedicated their work to keep communities safe and law-abiding. By all accounts, character rose out of their actions.

The president showed his lack of character by not denouncing initially, and again later, the hate groups. Instead, his focus is on some “many sides” argument, spurring on the hate groups and their negative, repressive actions.

After the president’s lack of character, four CEOs left the manufacturing council in protest. Their character stood against intolerance and racism, and the president’s claim of grandstanding is yet another a false one. Walmart’s Chief Executive Doug McMillon, issued a statement saying the president “missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together.”

building characterPeople with character and a conscience know why the president’s response is wrong. His lack of integrity is alarming. When comedians, like Jimmy Fallon, deliver a more heartfelt response than our president, something is wrong.

None of this is surprising. After all, for the past few years, Trump’s lack of character and divisive, derogatory attacks were fire-hose like – constant and forceful. While not gaining the popular vote, he still won. Some argued they voted for the less worse of the three candidates. Where does character stand within our society? We need many community conversations to explore this question in an honest, civil way.

Trump brings out the worst in people. Never a good trait for anyone. When someone lacks character, negative results spread. In the corporate world, some may survive in this mode, but many do not. The board of directors or shareholders step in and fire the CEO or other leaders who lack character. It may be time to do the same to the current U.S. president.

In his lack of character, other gaping holes are evident:

  • No self-awareness
  • Constant self-centeredness
  • No self-control
  • Obsession with TV ratings rather than policy substance
  • Continuous ridicule of allies and enemies
  • Lack of respect for institutions trying to do their jobs in a democratic society (e.g., media)

When Trump became president, some wrote about whether our institutions were strong enough to weather him. Our institutions may last, but our society may take a giant step backward.

We need to renew our focus on leading for future generations and find common ground that brings us together.


Thin Difference has always been about how we are more similar than we think. Generational stereotypes were out of hand, and our intention was to dispel the myths and focus how we are stronger when we work together across generations. No different than today. With our Common Grounder™ approach, developing leaders who exemplify good character and undertake problems with a collaborative spirit is what will move our society forward in a positive way.

We need to focus more on our future than on our past. We need to use the present to advance solutions with sound integrity and a sense of purpose for leaving our communities better off than before. We have lost this essence. Whatever we had before the 2016 presidential election, Trump stomped on the remnants.

With low approval ratings, maybe citizens are recognizing what poor character can do to our society. With almost daily twitter rants, tirades against perceived enemies, and behavior inappropriate for the president of the United Sates (or any human being), some voices are being raised that Trump is unfit for office and should be removed using the 25th Amendment.

I believe Trump’s character is unfit to lead our country, and we need to remove him before more damage is done.

Doing good for future generations is interwoven in the character of our nation. Through the past three decades, we have lost this sense of responsibility. We need to renew our focus on leading for future generations and find common ground that brings us together and move us forward.

The question haunts me, but the time has come for us to face it. Should a president be removed for lack of character?


Feature photo by Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash.

Second photo by Jose Moreno on Unsplash.

When a president lacks the depth and breadth of character necessary to lead, should they be removed? Our answer sets the stage for future generations.