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The art of contradiction
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I have come to the conclusion that we, as a society, are pretty hypocritical. I know this is a somewhat harsh statement to make, but the evidence continues to mount for its authenticity.
Just look at what we tell our children. We say hitting is wrong, then turn around and use spanking as punishment. We tell our children to share their toys with others, then turn our backs on those asking for spare change. We punish our children for lying then convince them the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are real. We even back up our lies with elaborate props such as leaving cookies for “Santa” or hiding eggs supposedly delivered by the Easter Bunny.
This hypocrisy is most apparent when our “leaders” are caught in compromising positions. The best example of this has to be former Congressman Mark Foley from Florida. Foley was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which introduced legislation targeting sexual predators and created stricter guidelines for tracking them. Sounds like a man who cares about children, right? Well, appearances can be deceiving. In 2006, Foley was caught sending sexually explicit e-mails to teenage boys. I’m pretty sure Foley is the definition of hypocrite.
Sometimes, people are put in a hypocritical situation not by their own doing and must muddle through anyway. Case in point: President Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize while the United States is fighting two wars and days before he increases troops in Afghanistan by 30,000. I’m positive Obama grasped the full extent of the hypocrisy of waging war while being honored for peace, but what was he supposed to do? Not showing up to accept the award would have been like slapping the global community in the face. I think America has enough problems and should not pick a fight with the Norwegians, who hosted the Nobel awards ceremony and whose ancestors the Vikings called raping and pillaging a day’s work.
I have shown that hypocrisy can be obvious — and done with the best intentions — like when the “Tooth Fairy” leaves money under our children’s pillows. And then there are the Foleys of the world — those who fought the good fight against oppression, cruelty, discrimination or exploitation, then were proven to be the evil doers of which they raged against. I have even admitted that sometimes hypocrisy is unavoidable and there’s nothing left to do but grin and bear it with as much dignity as possible.
But, there are also times when we are blind to the hypocrisy around us or in our own behavior. I found myself in just such a situation earlier this week. When confronted with negative comments from an outside organization about a technical problem that occurred at the Journal, I became very upset.
For hours I ranted at this organization and their lack of understanding — in my head. I just couldn’t believe the nerve of some people and it being the holiday season too. And then I was asked to lead the invocation at my local service club. Immediately, I was hit with a feeling of conviction for the resentment I was harboring against another — during the holiday season!
I was all prepared to attack someone for their lack of human kindness while at the same time acting like Ebenezer Scrooge himself.
So while I think hypocrisy should be eliminated as much as possible in our advanced and civilized society, I will look to begin that transformation with my own behavior. If everybody does the same, then the world will be a better and more honest place to live.
To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.