Glass houses

I purposely avoid posting my views on politics, religion, or other controversial issues here, on Twitter or on Facebook. I just don’t have the energy for stupid. That is not to say I am against intelligent, informed discussion. I would spend all day talking with someone of a differing opinion if they are capable of forming complete sentences and not screaming. Occasionally a topic will enrage me… this is it…

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we fuck up big. Sometimes we hurt people along the way. It is absolutely awful but most times these mistakes and hurts are unavoidable. In a lifetime of good, would you want to be judged for the one misstep?

Recently, I have been a victim of this on professional and personal level. One error in judgement led to me losing everything I had worked so hard to attain. All the years of good, all the positives I had helped the group achieve were wiped away without one person asking me about what had happened or why. And then rumors and innuendo ruin your reputation. “Friends” are quick to disappear.

As we reflect on the life of former Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, I find it sad that so many comments on articles and blogs are vilifying this man. Please do not take my comments here to condone his actions surrounding the scandal that brought his career to an end. Not my intent. I strongly believe that his actions in this case were negligent; however, one big fuck up should not negate the decades of good he did in his community, for the young men in his charge, for the organization for which he worked.

I have read comments ranting that he was not a good man because he allowed innocents to be hurt. Did he really allow this? And how many innocents have you hurt in your lifetime? We hurt people. We are human. It’s what we do. Naturally there are degrees and I would not argue that hurt feelings are greater than a lifetime of emotional damage at the hand of another. However, I would argue that a bully who inflicts deep, emotional scars which lead to lasting damage or even worse, is comparable. Why do we not vilify the pretty blonde cheerleader who torments the overweight awkward girl in the same way?

I have watched people look away while a child is horrifically beaten by a family member, verbally abused by a teacher, or bullied by other children on the playground. We are all culpable. We have all allowed others to be damaged. Not one of us is without blame.

Now… I am not a supporter of Newt Gingrich or even any of the GOP candidates. I am an unabashed bleeding heart liberal (and fuck you… liberal is not a dirty word). But I have to say I was cheering his response to John King during the South Carolina debate. Again, this is not a commentary on the exact content of the question but an indictment of the slash and burn mentality that has overtaken American culture. Mr. Gingrich’s failure as a husband should not be a determination on whether he can be elected to an office that does not require him to be a good spouse. Shit, if we were all judged on the “crimes” we commit against our spouses – from white lies to infidelity – not one of us would be employable.

Again I ask, do you want every mistake you have ever made to be a judgement on whether or not you can perform your job with skill and success?

I can hear the argument. And no, I do not believe the President of the United States is my moral leader. My morality is drawn from my life experiences, not his. My moral compass does not point to Washington, D.C. An elected official is in office to do a job. I have never expected my employers or coworkers to do anything more than their job, i.e. provide a guide for how to live my life. I often wonder if this additional pressure to appear to be without fault doesn’t cause more trouble in the end. Our ideal political leader historically has had to be a white, married male with children, a devout Christian, and eagle scout/war hero/ivy league graduate. Who the fuck can live up to all that without any hang ups?

As the rumors about me continue to filter my way, I wonder what my reputation will look like when I decide to reenter the workforce. Will the rumors, largely untrue, overpower all the good I have done and can do? Will I be forced out of a profession I truly love?

I’m gathering the stones being thrown at my glass house. Maybe for the first time I can use them to create a garden.

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6 thoughts on “Glass houses

  1. Wonderfully said — it really is a shame that, all too quickly, good can be erased by a single, honest mistake.

    And one of the best presidents, ever, well, he wasn’t exactly a moral compass, but I actually felt he did a BETTER job when his “the public really doesn’t have any right to know any of this” actions were called into play.

    I’m sorry that your friends & coworkers disappeared when you might have needed them. That’s really, really not cool.

    • Thank you for you comment, John. It took me several days to feel ready to post these thoughts and your words are validation.

      And while I have lost a great deal of friends lately, the ones that matter most are still around.

  2. First, you have an incredible way with words. If ever you decide to pen the great american novel, I will gladly buy a copy.

    Second, while I don’t know the details of your circumstances (nor do I need to), I can surmise enough to know that you are amazingly strong to be handling this all as well as you are.

    I have always found you to be the type of person I would be proud to call my friend “in real life”. Continue to hold your head high and know that there are still people that believe in you.

    And if ever there’s anything I can do to help, all you need is to holler 🙂

  3. Loved this post. The honesty of it. I’ve been in a similar situation and know how incredibly hard it is to swallow when everything you have worked so hard for comes crashing down. But, you are an incredibly strong woman so I believe your glass house will be just fine and that you can make a beautiful garden out of anything thrown at you. 🙂

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