Michael J. Kerrigan

Members of Congress

Scanning the daily news confirms widespread pessimism that we are suffering from a crisis of confidence in those who are charged with leading our nation’s political, business and cultural institutions. Levels of trust in our leaders are at an all time low perhaps because many of today’s leaders may place self-interest ahead of the public interest.

In studying character development I have discovered leadership development has much the same aims. Leadership development implies developing good leaders that are both ethical and effective. I agree with the view that leadership is judged on only two criteria: ethics and effectiveness. Perhaps character development should be judged in a similar fashion?

I have sadly concluded that after 30 plus years of lobbying in Washington D.C., many Members adhere to Machiavelli’s The Prince, one of the more famous books on politics and leadership. In my view, the influence of leaders has been diminished… Continue reading

The Character Building Project is fulfilling its mission by acknowledging the exemplary character of our wounded warriors as they successfully recover from traumatic injuries. To that end, Courage in America, to be published this Veterans Day, profiles seven warriors with strong character and noble hearts. Now, with the aid and support of SOCOM’s Care Coalition, our mission continues by interviewing, profiling and getting to know more warriors with character.

We are blessed that the number and depth of stories about wounded warriors will increase on our site. It is my hope the often difficult exercise of these warriors experience by telling their stories, will help them integrate their combat and rehabilitation experiences into their present lives and next chapters. It is not easy for them to relive the event of their injury much less relate to me the challenges of their rehabilitation. Hopefully, some will leverage the reach of the… Continue reading

Before the Character Building Project claims an honor code should be required for candidates and possibly Members of Congress, let’s look deeper into the code of honor at the University of Virginia. As we see by the excerpts below from the official UVA site, the code began as a pledge, evolved into a code of conduct outside the classroom and has become a system of enforcement. Totally student run, without “adult supervision,” the system has, as our three UVA law school graduates tell me, worked well. Continue reading

John Bishop, the next member of the character community to be profiled, has led an interesting, if not a blessed life. In January of his senior year in high school, John’s father was suddenly struck with a deadly heart attack.  Coming from a family of modest income, college was always a remote possibility but with his John’s father’s passing, college was no longer an option. The year was 1960 and like a lot of young men at that time, John enlisted in the Navy not only to serve this country, but also to become eligible for the GI Bill. Continue reading

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Courage in America has been aurally transcribed for the visually impaired, thanks to Volunteers of Vacaville, California. Tel: 704.448.6841 ext 2044.