Monday, January 2, 2012

Cutting Through The Bullshit

Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
                              (Hamlet 2.2.200-201)

Turn on the television, radio, and other media and you hear words, words, words.  From the right wing propaganda of Fox News to the left wing coverage of MSNBC, from the corporate advertising lies on every TV commercial to the corporate news coverage of CNN, it's all there.  Politicians utter their own lies--promises made during campaigns which are quickly tossed out after they are elected.  If you utter a position during a campaign and then betray your position after being elected, then there is no point to having an election in the first place.  If voters cannot rely on what is said when voting, then voting becomes pointless.  Voters might as well choose between Southpark's Turd Sandwich or Giant Douche.  It doesn't matter either way.

The same goes for other wordsmiths.  If your parish priest speaks against fornication but then abuses children in his spare time or your pastor cheats on his wife with a woman or man (i.e. Ted Haggard), then what are their words worth?  

It's like the husband who beats his wife and then apologizes and says it will never happen again--until the next time.  The truth is that words are bullshit.  They are meaningless in many cases.  People need to open their eyes and start seeing through words and looking at people's actions instead.  Actions mean everything.

If you are looking for a marriage partner, interviewing someone is the worst way to find out whether he or she is a good match.  The same goes for finding quality employees.  That's why you need to look at his or her history and weight their actions.  Has this person been honest, kind toward others, hard working, loyal, empathic, punctual, faithful, and diligent?  

The same goes for faith.  There are people who profess this creed or that, but if their actions betray them, then that shows their true colors.  Sometimes, a person's words actually mean the complete opposite of what they espouse (Ted Haggard was the biggest gay-basher ever until he was caught doing a gay prostitute and taking crystal meth).  I know people who are atheists who have stellar ethics--they look out for the poor and the weak, they care for others and treat others well.  If you are a person of faith, then it would be wrong of you to deny these people are influenced by God's grace.  All the good we do, know and trust comes from God.  God can act through anyone, and He does.  In Romans 1:20, St. Paul talks about how God's truth and power is revealed to everyone.  Some people may reject what they see as incorrect in a faith, yet be teeming with the spirit of God all the same.  Their knowledge of beauty, truth and goodness comes from God's grace.  Where else could it come from?  And if this is so, then who are we to deny that grace simply because that person doesn't live up to the creed we espouse?

We need to be held accountable, and we need to hold others accountable for their actions.  If their words don't match their deeds, then we need to take a second look and examine where a person's true spirit lies.  This is especially true now that this is an election year.  

Instead of settling for what we get because we perceive a person to be the lesser of two evils, perhaps we need to expect more out of ourselves and more out of others.  It is only through this kind of deliberate examination that we can improve as a society and create a more just world.  When we expect people to live up to their words, then maybe words will actually start meaning something again.

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