12 Trusts and Politics
those of us inspired by the ideals of chivalry, a sacred trust
is given that we should not take lightly. We are charged to nourish
and protect the song of liberty and justice to which the history
of our civilization has given birth. If we are not committed to
this obligation, the legacy will be lost, and a new barbarity will
There are those who say that they defend
those ideals with patriotic fervor, but are they really? Is it possible
to protect or nourish what they frequently trample and discard at
the same time? Freedom, justice, civility and honor have long been
bantered about for political gain by those who scarcely understand
the words. These ideals are, or should be, the center of who we
are as an honorable people. To those who cherish virtue, they are
life itself not convenient clichés meant to rouse
attention while we do the opposite.
Let me state this as directly as I can.
The ideals that liberate the soul would never propagate ignorance
or hate, or deny equal rights to others. Justice cannot be justice
if it is based on what is false. Incivility and rudeness represent
the very opposite of what our civilization of the mind and heart
stand for. Those who partake in that have lost their way. Those
who think with open minds must speak out against them.
The quest that chivalry bequeaths us is
not a game or ideology that we follow. It is a serious growth of
personal consciousness, a maturation process meant to develop all
the finer aspects of the human species, including the refinement
of virtue, intelligence and relationship. This individuation does
not allow for selling one's integrity to self-proclaimed leaders,
or following the crowd, or building roadblocks to discourse.
It means thinking for oneself. It means
finding truth even under the pressure of long held conclusions.
It places reason over emotion, yet never allows one to eliminate
the other. It means finding and implementing answers rather than
polluting the world with infinite complaints. These are the citizen
qualities that democracy needs. Without them, as our founders so
noted, what is democracy other than the ugliness of mob rule, steered
by libido and greed? This new barbarity propagates the very worst
During our lifetimes, we have witnessed
the steady decline of courtesy and honesty in American politics
and the so-called news media. This decline has reached the point
where some of the most important fundamental aspects of democracy
are being trampled. Love the Constitution all you want. Wave the
flag and swear allegiance. But know this, democracy only works when
citizens are well informed, given to thoughtful consideration, are
civil in discourse, and respectful of the process that lifted western
civilization out of darkness.
respects the individuality of citizens enough not to align itself
with any partisan ideology. Each of us must make his or her own
evertheless, how we respond to issues and
politics falls squarely within chivalry's bounds. The following
demonstrates how the spirit of the 12
Trusts can help in that regard.
1. I will
develop my life for the greater good.
Trust prepares us for all the others by setting the foundation
of purpose and meaning in our lives. We are part of the world
around us, and that makes us responsible for the greater good.
Ask yourself: Are your political stands based upon the greater
good? Or to the good of special interests that represent just
2. I will
place character above riches, and concern for others above personal
is the enemy of conscience, and the downfall of many. Are your
political alliances based on money rather than concern for others?
Or the size of government, which in itself says nothing of virtue
3. I will
never boast, but cherish humility instead.
is the product of an open mind. It does not assume that your way
is always the best way, or that others are automatically wrong
or evil or the enemy. It listens. It tries to understand. It recognizes
that we are all human and therefore fallible. In political discourses,
do you reflect the kind of humility that invites honest sharing
of ideas, and allows the possibility of being wrong?
4. I will
speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word.
is not something that is okay to bend for the sake of an ideology.
Doing so betrays what is best in Western culture. When you engage
in lies, you define yourself as a liar, and mar the reputation
of all your ideals. This is not the Middle Ages, when weight was
given to every claim and superstition. Reason and honesty claim
their own supremacy. Disregard them, and you fail the basis of
who you are. Ask yourself, in the game of political one-upmanship,
are you speaking what is true? Or defending political slogans
that divert people from a clear understanding of the issues?
5. I will
defend those who cannot defend themselves.
care more about party loyalty and the acquisition of power than
the greater good. It invites alliances based on expediency rather
than virtue, no matter what its claim. Once that happens, everything
becomes questionable, and often devious. Words end up masking
more than they reveal. Fears are shamelessly exploited. Once that
happens, democracy is doomed to fail, and the lives of the innocent
become expendable. Look and listen carefully. Are you defending
those who need defending? Are you protecting those who oppress
them? Or are you defending an ideology that is no longer appropriate?
6. I will
honor and respect women, and refute sexism in all its guises.
in all its guises, sexism being one, racism another, impedes clear
thinking and leads to wrong decisions. It is the mind in moral
atrophy. Are you sufficiently combating sexism, along with similar
forms of bigotry, such as racism? Prejudice means pre-judged.
You are not seeing things for what they are in the aliveness of
real relationships. A political ideology that allows, encourages
or winks at prejudice is the enemy of freedom and truth.
7. I will
uphold justice by being fair to all.
is equivalent to fairness. How is it, that in politics, strategy,
innuendo and unnecessary contention reign supreme? Winning is
not everything. Enemies of truth should not be praised or admired
for their victories. In the wake of their victories, lies the
destruction of all our ideals. Ask yourself, when it comes to
politics, are you really dedicated to justice? Or political gamesmanship?
Listening to political spokespeople or media propagandists, the
rhetoric of manipulation could not be more plain. As advocates
for truth and virtue, we must demand fairness in public discourse,
not the spreading of convenience lies.
8. I will
be faithful in love and loyal in friendship.
culture, patriotism is comprised of more than the love of country,
as defined by land and boundaries. It includes Western ideals
values as well. Virtues and values have injected themselves into
the forefront so that nationalism is replaced by something far
grander the hope of human potential. Indeed, patriotism
is as much about freedom, human rights, and the virtuous pursuit
of happiness as it is about place of birth and national defense.
Faith and love lie at the heart of this devotion. True patriotism,
in the Western sense, is a resistance to barbarism and greed.
Ask yourself if you are being faithful toward all you love about
your country, including its sense of right and wrong?
9. I will
abhor scandals and gossip - neither partake nor delight in them.
machine, in close partnership with a news media that is more interested
in entrainment than facts, thrives on spreading rumors and
scandals that distract the general public from the daily governance
of this nation. One sex scandal can overshadow a war for weeks
on the nightly news. This too is a roadblock to informed democracy.
If we truly demanded perfection from our elected officials, our
choices would be few and grossly artificial. Are you allowing
the cynicism caused by rumors and scandals to dissuade your concern
about politics and the issues at hand? If so, you are helping
to undermine our democratic system as well?
10. I will
be generous to the poor and to those who need help.
political opinion reflect an "I don't care about others"
attitude? If it does, it cannot be called chivalry, which bases
so much of its ethic on generosity and not mere expedience
11. I will
forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven.
prevalent in today's politics presents itself as more of an on-going
feud than a discourse of opposing visions and ideas. Unwarranted
partisan strategy has done well in dividing the nation against
itself for political gain. Far more is accomplished to please
corporate donors than care for the welfare of average citizens.
This is facilitated when conflict distracts the population from
watching what happens in Congress. It is time that we break this
cycle of tension and work together for the greater good. This
can only be accomplished by first forgiving the other side,
in the hope that your side will also be forgiven.
12. I will
live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.
Are your words
expressed with the kind of courtesy and honor that chivalry
stands for? The kind of courtesy, intelligence, and honesty that
our founders so cherished that they made it the bedrock of our
democratic republic? Or do you purposely instigate contention?
Do you insult those who do the work of government, as if being
a tax paying citizen gave you that right?
The times are calling for Chivalry-Now. No matter which party
you identify with, or, like me, if you identify with neither, you
can support and fight for the kind of civility and reason that our
nation was built on. Without that civilized distinction, all our
power and wealth and resolve means nothing morally, and in the process,
we betray our hopes and traditions not only in Washington, but where
we stand as well. There is much at stake, and none of our leaders
seem ready to take a stand for the virtues we so value.
It is up to