Friday, October 2, 2009

On Honesty and Resisting Temptation

Sometimes it’s tough; resisting temptation that is. As my knowledge has expanded over the years, some have come to trust me to be aware of what is going on in the current scene. That would be mostly the political arena. If you have an electrical problem, don’t come to me for advice. My community of friends realize I spend many hours of each day in an effort to know the players, their attitudes, and behavior. They, like you, read what I write and appreciate that I make every effort to keep the truth uppermost on the blog..

If the writing has no integrity, why bother to read it once it becomes fiction. You might just as well listen to a democrat operative spout off. By so doing, one is often offered what might be referred to as an easy target.

I was surprised recently on a visit to a local office on business and the secretary I spoke with said to me: “I know you keep up on this sort of thing and I’d like to ask you about an email I just received.” She went on to describe a message concerning a first-class stamp which had been offered by the post office to celebrate a couple of different Islamic holidays. The writer of the email implied that this was the work of the current administration and was meant to represent an “Islamic Christmas.”

She is a very conservative person and would have happily listened to any made up response of outrage at the thought. Rather than take advantage, I confessed momentary ignorance of the matter and promised I would check it out and call her the next morning. After I left I remembered that I had seen stamps at the post office with Arabic writing and hurried home to Google it for an answer. Never disappointing, Google presented a couple of million references to my inquiry and the information I sought.

The stamp, first issued on 9-1-01 (!) was to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, both three day fall holidays to honor the sacrifice by Abraham of his son and the end of the Hajj respectively. Neither of these has a fixed date due to their use of the Georgian calendar. They have nothing to do with Christmas other than the proximity of dates. In fact, the first was observed on 9/19 and the second on 11/26 in the year 2001. This continued commemoration has advanced the price and requires renewed issuance of the stamp to keep up with postal rate increases on first-class stamps.

Playing gotcha with this president is child’s play and requires no made up scenarios to support it. What ever the subject, if you wait just a little, he will provide a contradiction to a previous statement and one can lodge a legitimate beef.

Later in the day I received an email from a dear old friend with an hysterical note attached about the arrival of a “police force” in their community which was taking over with the blessing of the town board and the complicity of the sheriff. His question to me was: “what do you know about this?” Back to Google I went for a new record—32,000,000 hits! In short, what I learned was the community of Hardin, Montana had been scammed by a career criminal and bogus military man who had presented the depressed town with an opportunity to capitalize on a newly constructed and largely useless prison for their betterment.

Again, the thought of turning law enforcement over to a private agency presented many avenues for criticism. The con man, who had so many aliases it would be difficult to nail down his actual identity, had promised to use the unoccupied multi-million dollar facility, hire as many as 200 employees, and just about every thing else except a free lunch. Given the president’s thoughts of a civilian “army” trained in the military arts as a service corps, my friend saw this as the beginning of that program. In actuality, it was just a low grade Bernie Madoff doing his thing, complete with a fleet of Mercedes-Benz patrol cars and a pre-made law enforcement symbol.

The just criticism lies with the people of Hardin who were suckered in by this charlatan. It would be easy however, to somehow pin the whole affair on the president and his insane plan to organize yet one more layer of bureaucracy on an unsuspecting public.

Here is where “resisting temptation” comes in. Just because we are presented with an easy accusation of someone who richly deserves it doesn’t mean we have to take that advantage. To separate our motives and principles from those who will seize any tiny fact and falsely expand it into a talking point, we must remain scrupulously honest. In today’s miraculous world of informational overkill, it is just too easy to check out every rumor and expose the truth. This is a reputation we can live with. It’s not near as much fun today but it is far less troublesome down the road.

Like the people of Hardin we should live with the words of Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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