Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive! ~ Sir Walter Scott
I remember my mum warning me as a child, “Jo-Anne, if you’re going to lie be sure it’s worth it, because I will always find out the truth.” She wasn’t kidding. She always caught me, but I never learned. In my teens, I told a doozy; one that hurt her very much. I couldn’t back up my story when questioned again, and she warned me, “Be sure your memory is long, Jo-Anne.” I suffered the consequences and learned from that mistake. I noted that the truth comes at much less cost than a lie and vowed to find honesty, for my benefit and the benefit of others.
We are surrounded in our every day lives by deception, omissions, half-truths and blatant lies. From parenting to politics, there is no escaping dishonesty. The art of covering one’s butt is nothing new, but I get a sinking feeling it is getting worse with every passing day. This morning alone I heard 3 lies before I knew the time. In one ear my son was telling me he “spilled water” in his bed, in the other the radio was talking of “Robocall” scandals and clandestine lunches. And I realized, this has been the norm for… I don’t know how long. But when I think of it, as long as I can remember.
And I shudder.
I have told my share of white lies, and learned to withhold the truth when the truth had nothing positive or constructive to offer. I undertook many years ago to be a decent, honest person. Sometimes it’s difficult, and other times it can be a detriment. Even if they say they do, not everybody wants to hear the truth because at times the truth can be ugly. But a lie is much more unsightly, especially when the truth is exposed. The hurt is longer and deeper, and trust disappears.
I feel hurt and mistrusting as a result of the lies I am hearing around me. My son is six, so I’ll give him a pass. We’ll downplay this incident to a fib and use it as a learning experience. I’ll instill the consequences of dishonesty, whether a “fib” or a “lie” and help him develop in his character. It is my duty as his parent to protect him, teach him and lead by example. We will value honesty and live life that we can be proud of. This is what I signed up for.
What I did not sign up for was my elected officials attempting to deceive me at every turn. Municipally and federally, I am becoming increasingly frustrated and saddened, day by day. When we elect our officials, we take a leap of faith that they will protect and serve us almost as a parent protects and serves their child. We give them our money, our personal information and our confidence that they will do what is best for us. We give our elected representatives respect, whether deserved or not, because we all know that the job they do must be very tough. But we put them there because they assure us that they can do it, and we take them at their word.
So how do we determine if they are lying when they make that promise? When we take that leap of faith and give them control of our cities, provinces, countries and livelihoods, what is to say they aren’t deceiving us? Nothing. Recent events – and events for centuries – prove it. No wonder voter apathy is at an all time high. No wonder citizens of the world have taken to the streets to protest, from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street and all its offshoots. No wonder people are angry. The world is waking up to the dishonesty, and they’re making it clear they’ve had enough. I’ve had enough, have you? Then stand up!
I want you to say this out loud, now:
“I vow to live an honest life; to lead by example; to spread truth instead of lies, love instead of hate. I make this pledge for the good of humanity.”
I’m not joking, friends, and I hope you will repeat it and live it. It is time we demand honesty from each other. When we have an outbreak of disease, we vaccinate against it and take all precautions necessary to stop it. Consider this vow your vaccination. It is time to adopt and protect one of the most core values of life: honesty. If not, it is a race to the bottom to see who can sink to the lowest of the low. And for what gain? Control. But what good does control do when you lose it? And those who seek control at all costs will eventually lose it. All things must come to an end. And what then, at what cost? Respect, dignity and conscience come to mind.
Today is a leap year, an event that happens once every four years. It is the perfect time for you to take a proverbial “leap” and make a pledge to live an honest, decent life. It is the perfect time to wake up to the dishonesty around you and hold to account those who are purveying it. We have lived surrounded by deception for so long that it has become the norm to us, but it can’t remain that way. Live a good life, lead by example and expect others to behave the same. Most of all, do not be afraid to call them on it. A higher standard has to be set by every single one of us, before we are so tangled up in webs of lies that we are unable to escape. There has never been a better time for us to make this commitment. Please, make the leap, before it is too late.