On an African proverb.

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."  One of my favorite quotes of all time.  Everybody knew what Clinton was and what he'd done.  

His political sin was lying about it.

There is an African proverb that tells us that people may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do. Talk is cheaper than cheap, isn't it?  I'd rather see someone put their actions where their mouth is. 

There is no telling who first uttered this well known  proverb.  It has been packaged in many different ways by many different people. The proverb's power and truth lies partly in the fact that the power of the hypocrite is great.  Unfortunately, the conduct of those who are most vocal on whatever issue it may be that allegedly drives them ("bombastic self righteous religiosity" vs. really walking with the divine, "conservative" vs. statesman, "charlatan" vs. advocate, "naive and thieving" vs. liberal) - in their extreme forms, these fringes are often dubious and self serving in the conduct.  Additionally, they inevitably garner the unforgiving scorn of others when they stumble.  As a good friend of mine says, "Save me from the saved."  BP is learning this lesson.  It is hard to corner the "green" image when you are cutting corners on safety measures which protect the livelihood of an entire coastal community.

But the hypocrite is not only damaging in that he is often the most polluted (literally and figuratively) in his closed door conduct. He is dangerous because, when discovered (as he inevitably will be) he takes away something that is so difficult to find as it is - faith. Faith in the human condition, faith in the ability of a walk with the divine to right mans' ever listing ethic at crucial times, faith in himself.  And with a loss of faith, we tend to become little more than specimens in what can resultantly seem to be a giant intergalactic ant farm.  Living out the lot we are given with little more faith in those around us than we have in the divinity of our existence.  It is no coincidence that our collective ability to interact in socially meaningful ways - in faith - is declining precipitously. 

Whether or not it is incumbent on any of us to redirect the hypocrite when we recognize him depends on the circumstances.  I have done it directly and without reservation only once that I can recall (and as you may have already suspected, it was recently).  We all stumble (myself especially included) and this is without question.  But observing the hypocrite might ought to remind us that our own conduct should always be guarded lest we find ourselves sending a terrible message to others - unbeknownst, perhaps.  The louder you sound your trumpet, the more responsibility you owe to those watching to live up to that standard and avoid even the appearance of impropriety or inconsistency.  I suspect much as the adage might go, the bigger the mouth - the harder the fall. To this end, I am looking closely at myself. 


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