‘Moral Compass is a necessity in a civilized society’

Michelle Obama was a guest in Stephen Colbert’s Late Show program and Mr. Colbert asked her this question: “FDR said that the presidency is essentially a moral position.  The people look at the First Family as the moral center of the country . . . the first family to set an example . . . ?”

The former First Lady then gave the followingresponse to Mr. Colbert’s question: “Being the first bar is higher… you don’t have a room to make a mistake…in our eight years…everything should be done perfectly…there is no margin of error…our tone have to be perfect…this is the bar that was set for us, and the bar we set for ourselves…thinking that as the first, people will measure every one of our race, of our gender and by what we do…and there is pressure that come with that…that’s the way we carry ourselves. . . we have to watch our language. . . we also knew that in everything we said we thought about how we will be viewed by our children. . . we are the moral compass. . . so we speak carefully and clearly, and intelligently…”

Michelle Obama mentioned “moral compass” in her answer to Mr. Colbert.  Moral compass is often used in reference to a person’s ability to judge what is right and wrong.

Since President Donald Trump was sworn in as president, we have heard statements that the president lacks “moral compass” and this is not a new criticism on the president.

One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.  For the past few years, before and during the last presidential campaign, and since he occupied the White House, Trump has been criticized about his choice of words and this is evident when he talks about his so-called political enemies and adversaries.

I believe that good values should be at the heart of our politics.  As the president of a powerful nation,the U.S. president should be the moral compass and moral center of the nation.

But since a number of Americans these days have tolerated and accepted a behavior that symbolizes and articulates the negative strains of American society, is it safe to say that this acceptance also reflects our own challenged state as a civilized society?

There is a saying and a golden rule that was taught to many Filipinos in grammar school in the Philippines— “Madali ang maging tao, mahirap ang magpakatao”(It is easy to be born as ahuman being but it is very hard to be humane and to act civilized).

In the Philippines, vulgar language has been acceptable these days and leading politicians and so-called popular leaders have gotten away with foul-language and behavior that includes extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, uncalled for attacks on the Catholic Church and the God that Catholics believe in, and sexist language that have no room in any civilized place and society.  Many Filipinos have accepted, tolerated and even idolize and blindly support these so-called leaders without considering how such language and behavior affect the society (particularly the youth) and how it destroys the moral fabric of the nation.

It is a must for all to have and to follow a moral compass.  Moral compassshould never go out of style.  It is a must for every leader.  It is a must for every citizenin a society that claims to be civilized.


Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.  You can also visit Jojo Liangco’s website at www.liangcolaw.com.