First, this blog, in general and this specific one, is not about politics and if it were, it would be so out of date. This specific blog is about being ethical in our behavior and being impeccable with our words. Second, notwithstanding my protestations to the contrary, it may seem there really are some political leanings underlying this blog and that I am “picking” on Democrats; I am and I am not. I am because until recently, I was a registered Democrat all my life and so I am attuned to its candidates and leaders and then most disappointed when they do not live up to what I considered to be their potential. It is not because, although I do not remember the names of any specific Republicans except Bob Packwood, I know they have had their fair share of unethical behavior too.
A few of weeks ago I read an article in the Houston Chronicle by a columnist named Peggy Fikac in which she deemed Wendy Davis’ campaign narrative a “misstep.” For those of you who do not know, Wendy Davis is the new “darling” (or as we say down here, darlin’) of the Texas Democratic party and is running for governor. The “misstep” is about Davis’ assertion she was raising her daughters in a mobile home after a divorce, got on her feet again, went on to Harvard Law School, and then “making” something of herself. It has been asserted that there are chronological errors in her story and, while the story maybe be technically true, actually fosters a narrative of a tougher road than she actually encountered.
My interest in this narrative lies only with the wording and the intent or, one might say, lies of commission and omission. Another disclosure, I am a recovering liar. I used to convince myself that I learned to lie to try and give my mother the answer she wanted, both to keep myself out of trouble (mom never had a volume switch when it came to punishment or it was stuck on maximum!) and because I was so codependent that I did not want to disappoint her. Unfortunately, it was a trait I leaned from her and then continued into my adulthood where I was an equal opportunity liar. I made a commitment in my forties to stop, which I did, and then honed my truthfulness in my fifties, eliminating even the possibility that my words could be misconstrued.
In conversation, while thinking on our “feet,” timelines and specifics can easily get muddled; they cannot in a biographical disclosure. So my first issue is with Ms. Fikac’s nomenclature, Ms. Davis’ actions are not a misstep, the campaign may have “misstepped,” but Ms. Davis’ words are a lie. Again, it does not matter if they were intentional or “just” trying to put the best spin on Ms. Davis’ past. I know, I know, it is not deemed appropriate to judge folks these days; I am not judging. Judging is never appropriate, but I find too many people misapply this word these days. Pointing out a lie is not judging, it is observing and naming a falsehood.
To be kind, I guess I might say that Ms. Davis is just sloppy, but do we want a sloppy governor? Also, as I have gotten older, I now know this to be a cop out, we know when we are being unethical, our bodies react in a way to let us know, we just choose not listen to what our bodies are saying most of the time. I could also say she is somewhat a political neophyte, but that would make Ms. Davis incompetent. Does she not know about and did not learn from several of her predecessors, Lena Guerrero and Henry Cisneros, both real up and coming Texas Democratic stars back in their day that got caught lying?
Lies are lies and it does not matter if they are “white” or “black” lies. Every lie erodes our energy, our self-esteem, and our confidence. One of Don Miguel Ruiz’s four agreements from the book of the same name is to be impeccable with your words. He reminds us that words have the power to do both black magic and white magic. This is somewhat a double entendre; words can be used as black magic to hurt others, but they also hurt the speaker and those around us. Ms. Davis has been harmed, and just not politically. I would also offer for her consideration that her children have been harmed. They have now had to endure, at best, reading the opposition using “black magic words” on their mom and, at worst, been the recipients of folks belittling their mom in their presence.
One of Don Miguel Ruiz’s quotes is “Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” There is no middle ground; there is no wiggle room with our words. We must either consciously and mindfully choose to live ethically and with integrity, in truth and love, or we choose not to do so. Additionally, simply not applying ourselves to this high standard in every waking moment is also a choice, it is passively choosing to not live with integrity.
One final disclosure, I am an eternal optimist that probably borders on fantasyland; I expect my representatives to be honest. Bummer, I seem to be continually living with disappointment.