That is what I tell my kids because I am a hypocrite.
The worst insult that a liberal can use on anybody is “hypocrite.” I am proud to be one, and in fact I may have attained Lifetime Achievement status. Why would I be proud? Because it means two things; I know right from wrong, and I fall short.
First, knowing right from wrong. That means I have accepted the fact that there are absolutes, not situational ethics. Either it is right, or it is wrong. There may be extenuating circumstances but usually in the crucible one can boil it down to either right or wrong. And if it remains hazy I know that I have a charitable heart, and most of all I trust God to be the final arbiter of the decision, not me or other people. So I don’t get caught up in a bunch of “what if” I try to work with what I know and have in front of me. To be succinct I try to do the right thing. I try to seek to understand, and to discern “what would Lib do?”
I fall short. But to fall short means to have striven in the first place. So I make no apologies for having tried, I am human, I have original sin all through me. I am subject to the seven deadly sins every day. (Can you name them? wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.) What troubles me most of all is that I am subject to the sin of omission. There are things every evening that I think about knowing that I should have done something different that what I did. I review the situation and wonder if I should have spoken up, or not said what I said. Did I jump in too fast, or not fast enough? Sometimes I have to accept the fact that situation has nothing to do with me. Another great sin is that of judging other people. I have worked very hard on correcting that, to take people at face value instead of projecting onto them my opinions of them. So yes, I fall short, I don’t do the right thing every time. I regret that, and I try to do better but I fall short time and time again.
This past week, the Penn State eruption of grotesque allegations of institutional sinfulness has troubled many people. What I don’t get is the rush to lynch the graduate assistant coach who witnessed the rape in the shower, ran to his dad and then told Paterno. Everybody is full of what he should have done. The fact that the District Attorney decided not to press charges at the time tells me a couple of things. First that law enforcement had been made aware of the behavior of Sandusky, second there wasn’t enough evidence to seek an indictment. Now there is still plenty of smoke surrounding this and it continues to get weirder and weirder but to judge the G.A. is just wrong. None of the story is adding up any way you want to look at it. So does that make Paterno a hypocrite? He followed protocol, he took the info he had and turned it over to his supervisors, and somewhere down the line the D.A. had the information and decided to not press charges. The fact that the D.A. disappeared a few years later makes it even stranger, but back to the question, is Paterno a hypocrite? Yes I sure that he is, he knows right from wrong and he fell short, and I will bet you he replays the incident in his mind wondering what he could have done differently if he had it to do over again. But do hypocrites deserve the lynching in some kind of ex post facto justice?
I think being a hypocrite is way better than the alternative. To not know right from wrong, or even worse, to distort it to fit your desires is a recipe for chaos. And then, to not have an idea of what to strive for is just aimlessness. So, I am proud to be a hypocrite.