Morals and values are a part of the behavioral aspect of a person. Both are correlated to each other. Moral is a system of beliefs that is taught for deciding good or bad whereas values are personal beliefs or something that comes from within. These are emotionally related for deciding right or wrong. Moral is a motivation or a key for leading a “good” life in the “right” direction whereas value is absorbed within a person. It can be good or bad depending on the person’s choice. I refer to it as “a call of the heart.”
It was 1998 and I was driving my daughter and son to school. As always, we talked of current events and at the time every newsfeed was covering the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal. I was as clear in my thoughts then as I am now. Clinton was President, and the specifics of his behavior went against my anticipated and expected behavior of a president. I argued against the European claim and those of others that infidelity and such behavior were common practice and why was America making such a fuss over what most men do? Well, we were making such a fuss, at least I was, because this was not the example of acceptable behavior I wanted to set for my children. Absolutely not! What would I be teaching my son and daughter about values and ethics of responsibility if I were to accept or excuse such behavior? As a woman, as a mother, as an Armenian, as an American, I wanted to stand tall in my principles, and instill in my children the deep seated moral driven value of understanding the consequences of decisions and actions and answers to their behavior. An act repeated more than once is neither accident nor mistake but a purposeful intent–“a call of the heart.”
It is 2016 and news of Trump and his bigotry, his denigrating remarks and salacious opinion of women has taken over the country’s newsfeeds. I am aghast, not so much that one man claiming to be a world entrepreneur now running for the office of the president can be so debauched, but more aghast at how far backward the United States has fallen with its lack of respect and dignity toward women and girls. And now, misogynists have the gall to suggest repealing the 19th Amendment! Where are the brave men and women of this nation? It took 150 years after signing of our Declaration of Independence for women to win the right to vote. It took 72 years of organized struggle on the part of many courageous women and men to be treated with some element of respect and dignity. Tragically, any man or woman who accepts such lewd acts and words of impropriety as “it’s what boys do,” is spitting in the face of grandmothers and mothers on whose shoulders they were raised; women who fought tirelessly for an ounce of dignity owed them over the years.
In order to move forward, we have to recognize and give credit to those women on whose shoulders we stand. We must recognize mothers and women who have educated their children; recognize those who have cared for the sick; women who have tilled the soil and brought food to the markets and our tables; acknowledge and recognize the women who fought for independence and stood up for justice, equality and peace.
As a woman, as a mother, as an Armenian, as President of the Armenian International Women’s Association-LA (AIWA-LA) and as an American, I want to speak up for women in this country — women who are raising children on minimum wage, women who can’t afford child care, women whose lives are threatened by violence, women with absentee husbands, women who are subjected to sexual harassment by predators running for the office of the President. What low behavioral responsibilities are we setting for our sons and daughters? I work tirelessly with AIWA to teach young girls that a woman owns her self-worth by advocating for gender equality and demanding her rights to basic human decency and respect. How can I, or any other, accept such indecent behavior as that portrayed by a presidential candidate? Those of us who have the privilege to be here, to have attained a small portion of our rights as equal citizens of the world must not forget the struggles of the brave women before us. If we fail to respect women who comprise more than half the world’s population, then we are seriously discriminating against our selves. And if we stand silent when our fathers, husbands and sons speak to our mothers, sisters and daughters with such decadence and degeneracy, we are just as responsible for accepting the consequences of crudity as “locker room–it’s what boys do” talk. Men and women, let me remind you: Gender-based harassment, both sexual and not, is against the law in the U.S.
An act repeated more than once is neither accident nor mistake but a purposeful intent—“a call of the heart.”