Don’t Be That Character

This article was written well ahead of scheduled publishing in order to accommodate my travel plans.

I’m going to sound a bit like “that old guy” today but I promise by the end I will have tied it into politics, the 2022 election and Halloween. How is that for a trifecta?

I was taught lending back before credit scores. The basic guideline was the 3 C’s. They are credit, collateral and character. The last actually being the most important. Credit was how you had paid your bills in the past. We had credit reports they just didn’t have scores yet and lending was much more of a skill. Collateral was something you put up to secure the loan. Your House on a mortgage, your car on an auto loan, etc. The reality is that many loans were unsecured so collateral wasn’t even a factor.

I was taught that character was by far the most important. Simply put would you keep your word to repay the loan or would you use any excuse to try and get out of your commitment? This is where my lending lesson morphs into a political argument and a dilemma the United States faces. Under Donald Trump we simply welshed on the Iran Nuclear Deal to the detriment of the world and threatened to do so on several other commitments. Post-Trump other countries are reticent to take us at our word.

Today they believe and trust Joe Biden but don’t know what a Republican successor might do. When Biden sat down at his first major global leaders’ conference as president, he declared that America was back. French President Emmanuel Macron said the quit part out loud when he replied, “For how long?”. In other words, Macron, and he was far from alone, questioned America’s character. The MAGA Republicans have more than hinted that they will rewrite the rules with no concern for the past – or anything other than pleasing their base, of which they are terrified, for that matter – despite what effect(s) it might have.

Today is Halloween which has morphed into a celebration of characters. If you haven’t already voted you are days or hours away from doing so. Don’t be or enable a bad character!

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