Leaders Must Take Cue From Charles Goodell

To The Reader’s Forum:

I was privileged to recently attend the Robert H. Jackson Center to honor a man of character, Sen. Charles E. Goodell, at the 50th anniversary of his appointment to the Senate. He stood for values and doing the right thing at great professional and political cost.

I could not help but be deeply moved by the message contained in this ceremony given its juxtaposition to the present state of affairs that exists in the White House and the utter failure of leadership in Congress to challenge the boorish behavior, at best, of the President. Where are the truth tellers today?

Charlie Goodell’s reward was to be slandered by Spiro Agnew (a criminal) and Richard Nixon (a criminal), to be on Nixon’s enemies list (sound familiar?), and to be blackballed by the Republican party. A lot of supposedly intelligent people got it all wrong back then, and history is repeating itself. In hindsight, making Nixon’s enemies list was something to be proud of.

It is past time for leaders in Congress to take a cue from a leader like Charlie Goodell. We need to set the country back on a path where integrity matters, ethics matter, where we value public service and the public good over private interests, and where the President demonstrates characteristics we can admire, not be repulsed by. Our children deserve this. We must insist on it.

Dustin Nelson

Bemus Point