Everyone Is Corrupt . . . Who throws the first stone?

You may ask, “How does this title have anything to do with this month’s lifeskill, Career & Money Management? Stay with me and you will shortly find out. And please lend me your patience with this venting moment.

I’ve had several of these venting moments lately haven’t I? Who hasn’t with this election year! After listening to or reading something about every candidate remaining on the presidential train, they all seem to have a central theme, most all their opponents are corrupt. What conclusion do many draw for their venting? Here’s the obvious, “Everyone is corrupt!” Or are they?

Then, let’s add to this gigantic generalization, that they, whoever “they” are, are also racists, bigots, socialists, idiots, liars, crazy, haters, close-minded, greedy, old-fashioned, wasteful, incompetent, stupid, hypocrites, intolerant, even dangerous. The ignoble list goes on and on! What one word do you think can lump them all together?

How about the word “incite?” The dictionary.com defines this word as “to stir, encourage, or urge on; stimulate or prompt to action.” Another definition from macmillandictionary.com accelerates the meaning, “to encourage people to be violent or commit crimes by making them angry or excited.” Does all this sound so familiar when you talk with someone, check your Facebook page for the latest, or watch the news? It may even become more personal with something you experienced right in your own neighborhood or community.

Are you being swept into the maniacal maze? Has your “party” affiliation basically buried you in it? And yes, I am referring to both Democrats and Republicans, even Independents and Libertarians; or whatever other party you attend. Having fun yet!?

I know, I am definitely not having much fun. I find myself praying a lot more. And much of the praying is pleading God to keep my mind from going crazy and getting caught in that maniacal maze along with so many. Yet, with all the craziness don’t we have a “steady as you go” option always before us? Maybe, just maybe we can find steady ground with the values we hold dear at work and at home.

Would you agree that being “incited” to voice our values may offer us a more positive, respectful way to continue on steady ground? Keep in mind, voicing your values don’t have to become vicious, no matter how passionate you feel. May I offer a well-known phase over the years? Vote Your Values. How do you do that?

First, turn off the TV, radio, Facebook, and any other so-called “news” source. Then go to each candidate’s website and read their platform and issue responses. Next, look at their voting record. If you don’t know what to do about someone who says they were never in politics, think again. First, everyone who votes has participated in the political arena. Second, many of them have supported and endorsed many political candidates over the years. See who they have backed. Do they match up to your values with their record and lifeskill behavior? Yes, listen to the debates if you are so inclined. However, be aware that coupled with a few informative moments, they tend to be a media celebrity-bent circus at times. Choose what seems informative, insightful, and leave the rest behind.

With each source, if they don’t match up, move on to those that do. Then narrow down to one who has demonstrated your values the most. Keep in mind, we are all imperfect human beings. We show that imperfection all the time at our workplace and our home. So, which one of us can really “throw the first stone?” Yes, I understand. There may be some solid evidence of wrong-doing, even something illegal at some point. Can we believe that our legal process will help resolve any lingering questions? I hope so. But I can hear someone already say, “the courts are already corrupt, everyone of them!” May the following phrase I have shared many times over the years soften your declarative stance a little. Just like when you try to submerge a balloon down in the water, it will eventually pop up to the surface. No matter how many try to sink it out of sight, truth will eventually rise to the surface.

Each of us will need to make a choice to not use the word “always” or “never” when it comes to us human beings. Yet, there is one time we can use these two words. We will “always” make a mistake or say an unkind word some time; and will be particularly vulnerable when we declare we will “never” do that.” Let’s remember that old adage, “Except for the grace of God, there go I,” attributed to a few notables, including John Bradford (1510–1555), English reformer and martyr. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London for alleged crimes against Mary Tudor and was burned at the stake July 1555. It was scary back then when you disagreed with the current authority; and it seems many are getting scarier with each day! Can we revisit “we’ve come a long way, baby, since then?” Again, I hope so.

Let us find a way from this day forward to not only voice and vote our values but also live them each day. No matter who becomes president or fills a political office, let us be incited to gratitude and service to others, our community, our nation. And even if we strongly disagree, let us do so with respect, humility, and integrity. We just may then have a positive and life-affirming impact at our workplace, in our home, and throughout our nation.