The Hypocrite's Life

So two days ago I wrote a long post about evil. I wrote about how evil creeps into our lives either directly or indirectly. I also talked a bit about how often it is not deliberate conscious actions that bring about evil, but more often that not it is by our own inactions that we allow evil to manifest itself. Another often-overlooked action that I find disturbing, and that can actually help bring about evil is hypocrisy.

ScaryThere is a definition on-line of hypocrisy that reads like this, “the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another; moral self-contradiction whereby the behavior of one or more people belies their own claimed or implied possession of certain beliefs, standards or virtues.” I see these practices and behaviors in many of our politicians and other of high office. Unfortunately I also see them in normal people  – my friends, my family, myself.

For instance, I have a friend who has a handicapped placard for his car. This will let him park in all those juicy reserved spots up close next to the doors of buildings. I have no problem with. That is what they are there for – he has a knee problem and his doctor decided he qualified. But, this is also the same conservative who decries all government programs that give aid to the poor or needy as government handouts that come out of his pocket and make the receiver week. Um, well I hate to tell you, but that handicapped placard is exactly the same type of aid. It is telling private businesses how they must run their private parking lots so that a certain group of people will have an advantage, or a leveling of the playing field if you will, when it comes to parking.  Where it goes even further beyond is that this friend has a gym membership so that he can go to the gym and walk three to five miles on the treadmill every day or so. Yes, this is the same person who needs government assistance to get a preferred parking place. And, I must repeat, the same person who says government aid is bad.

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Extremist Stupidity

Can someone explain to me how anyone in this country, right or left, would not want their child listening to an address by the President. I really don’t care which I way lean, if the President is making a speech, especially to children regarding education, I would love for my kids to hear it. It can be by Bush or by Obama, by Reagan or by Clinton. These are important people, arguably the most important single individuals in our country, so why would I not want my children to hear them speak?

Some say that in his upcoming speech to our schools President Obama will try to push his leftist agenda. Well first of all, that is kind of narrow minded. But even more importantly, why would any parent be so afraid that one speech on a television by a distant individual is going to undo all of the teachings they have done with their child. Perhaps they are afraid their kid will learn the truth? Perhaps they are afraid that they haven’t had such a great influence on their child up to this point? Perhaps they haven’t watched the horrible role models their children are glued to TV every afternoon and evening?

When I hear the hatred and fear being spewed out of some of these parent’s mouths, I realize that our educational and religious systems really have failed some people. Only pure ignorance, stupidity and bigotry could fuel such comments. I am left in pure sad wonder at these events. And with that, more than anything else, I fear for the future of this great country.

Their common welfare was my business!

It is getting to be the holiday season. I have to admit, this is my favorite time of year. I love the weather, I love the mood, and I love the food. (Especially pumpkin pancakes and muffins, but that is a different post.) But, I am also a bit melancholy during all the celebrations. Remember in A Christmas Carol when the Ghost of Christmas Present pulls aside his gown to reveal the two horrifying children? That is me.

Ghost of Christmas PresentI have always identified with The Ghost of Christmas Present. If I have one true career goal in life, it is to be him. From the size to the dress to the mannerism, he is who I want to be. But just as he hides the two children symbolizing Want and Ignorance, I hold these concerns within my heart as I go through the season.

The one I am worrying about today, and many of us are worrying about due to the recent financial crisis, is Want. While I and my friends may cut back because money is a bit tight, there exists true poverty in this world. While I worry about paying over $3.00 for a gallon of gas, there are people with no shoes to walk. While you worry about not being able to go to Starbucks every morning, there are children who go days with no meals or clean water. Why I worry about my children’s college and field trips and Christmas presents, there are parent out there wonder which of their children to let die because they can’t feed or take care of them both.

Remember this from the interchange between Scrooge and Jacob Marley:
Ebenezer: But it was only that you were an honest man of business!
Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business!

It is those thoughts that travel with me, and should travel with you, during this season and the rest of the year. We are deluding ourselves if we think there can ever be world peace or stability while there is still so much poverty in the world. And can, or should, any of us truly have inner peace and stability while no that those two children sheltered by the Ghost of Christmas Present have not been attended to?