Saturday, March 31, 2012

Our Hypocrisy Will Eventually Haunt Us


What will you regret on your deathbed? Will it be not living a big enough life, the road not taken, not living out your dreams? Or will it be the entire way you made your living, acquired power and stature, and lived your life?

The way we live our lives is a big deal. No one can live a life of complete integrity, we are all imperfect human beings after all... but how congruent can we get? How closely do our values, words, and actions match up?

The movie Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (2008) is a fascinating documentary of a man who took politics as low as it can go and then spent his dying days apologizing for how he had lived his life and what he had done in the name of success. The quick version is he helped President Reagan and especially President Bush with dirty tricks and slime-slinging behind the scenes and then at the shockingly young age of 40 got sick with a brain tumor and spent his dying days terrified envisioning what awaited him for living such a shady life.

I don't believe politics is a clean sport and I don't think hypocrisy is by any means limited to Republicans, but the shocking thing to me was how few of his admirers (like Karl Rove) learned from him that it is not a good way to live a life. Sarah Palin preaches about abstinence-only education while her two eldest children both started families out of wedlock; Karen Santorum backs her husbands stance on birthcontrol and abortion when at 22 she dated and lived with the 63-year-old doctor who not only delivered her as a baby but also preformed abortions; Maggie Gallagher the woman who has spent most of the last few years fighting same-sex marriage as the founder of National Organization For Marriage not only had a child out of wedlock but is rumored to be living apart from her husband... and yes, for goodness sakes yes-- there are numerous Democrats too. Making a living judging, legislating, or fighting against others rights seems like the kind of hypocrisy that is dangerous to be playing around with.

Of course in extends way beyond politics in to every walk of life, socio-economic level, and every profession including clergy of ever denomination. Heck, we're all hypocrites in some form or fashion.

The spine-tingling part of the movie that hit me was when Ed Rollins, Lee's previous boss who he had ruthlessly thrown under the bus, tells of how when Lee knew he was dying he begged Ed to take care of him because after all that was said and done he was the only one he could trust.

Who will end up being there for us? Who will we trust? Will we be able to look ourselves in a mirror and be proud of our lives? Will the judgement we use on others be turned around to judge us?

Will the hypocrisy of how we lived our lives be something we can live with... or, like Lee, will it haunt us?

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