These past few days have been a very difficult time for me. I find myself ruminating on the subject of integrity a great deal, perhaps because I’ve been confronted with such a pronounced lack of it. I’m not one to use the cheap “well, in MY day, a man’s word was his bond” canard, because I don’t believe that’s ever been the case- except perhaps in some folks’ overheated imagination/memory. Lying is, sadly, part and parcel of the American ethos- whether we want to admit it or not. Perhaps my frustrations is just a reflection of te degree to which I’ve been reminded of that lately.
So why am I so upset? [This part of the post has been deleted at the request of She Who Endures My Myriad Eccentricities…she always was the one with the common sense. If any of y’all want to see this part, I’ve saved it as a JPG. Email me, and I’ll be happy to provide it to you. I, of course, reserve the right to withhold it as I deem necessary. Sorry, for the self-censorship, but for those of you who still think free speech exists in this country…WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CAT LITTER….]
But there’s more to my frustration. There’s also the family whose child She Who Endures My Myriad Eccentricities was treating. After agreeing on the cost for this treatment, the father gave her a check for less than 20% of the agreed-upon amount…AND THEN BOUNCED THAT CHECK. When she tried to call them and left numerous messages, guess what? They couldn’t be bothered to call back.
Now, this is not a poor family we’re talking about here. They have their four children in one of the most expensive day cares in the Houston area. Both parents drive decent vehicles. Yet when She Who Endures My Myriad Eccentricities treats their child- and makes significant progress- they see nothing untoward and inappropriate about stiffing her. (Hey, we have to buy Christmas presents for our children….)
It got so bad that I finally had to show up at the father’s workplace to try and determine how (or if) he intended to make things right. He assured me he had every intention of living up to their commitment, but in the end it was clear that those were just so many empty words…yet more broken promises. Make the promises to make sure you can get what you want or need…and then break them when it turns out not to be “convenient” to keep them.
What kind of man takes advantage of someone’s kind heart and good intentions for the sake of his child? You tell me. I sure as hell don’t know. I’m wondering how he can look at himself in the miror.
And then there is the mother of all lies, which almost four years after the Really Big Lie came to fruition, still dominates the news. I’m speaking, of course, about the war in Iraq. I’ve long ago stopped keeping track of all the lies Our Glorious and Benevolent Leader has fed us into to get and keep his glorious war against terrorism in Iraq. First, it was weapons of mass destruction…which never existed. Then, it was the war against terrorism (better to fight them in the streets of Baghdad than in midtown Manhattan)…never mind the fact that there was no terrorist threat in Iraq UNTIL WE INVADED. Yes, that’s right; our sons and daughters are fighting a terrorist threat created by the war which Our Glorious and Benevolent Leader purchased with his many and varied lies, half-truths, and propaganda. After all that, we were fighting for Iraqi freedom. And then…ah, who’s keeping track anymore? It’s not like most Americans even care anymore.
How many thousands of innocent Iraqis have died as a result of the war that stems directly from the lies and deception employed by Our Glorious and Benevolent Leader? How many more of our sons and daughters will have to die in a war in which no one can begin to define “victory”? In which there seems to be no plan outside of continuing to needlessly sacrifice more young Americans for a cause no one can explain? “Stay the course”…because the only other option is “cutting and running”, which will only lead to “defeat”. How many more lies and military funerals are we willing to tolerate?
In the end, it’s about integrity. It’s about saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It’s about realizing that words and actions (or the lack thereof) have consequences. When you make a commitment, and people take you at your word, it means that people get hurt and suffer when you do what’s expedient and convenient instead of what’s right.
I know that nothing of what I’ve said here will change anything. Not one iota. Because in the end, people ultimately care only for themselves and their own narrow interests, and if you’re silly or naive to think differently (as I apparently have been), you pretty much deserve to get hurt.