Julie Seedorf: You are not as honest as you think you are

Published 1:00 am Monday, July 17, 2017

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf

Are you corrupt? I didn’t think I was a corrupt person, but maybe I am. Maybe you are, too.

These past few weeks, my head has been spinning with all the reports of corruption in our government and elsewhere. Yes, there are people in our government who are shysters, immoral, shady, liars and deceptive people. We complain about it, and if it is someone we support we make excuses for them for various reasons. It could be we don’t want to believe we have bad judgment. It could be we are brainwashed into a certain way of thinking. It could be we don’t care and think nothing we do can fix it or we say, “It’s just the way it is now. I’m not going to worry about it.” We turn off the news and don’t pay attention and move on with our lives.

Email newsletter signup

Are we sticking our head in the sand or is it possible we don’t really have a good grip on right or wrong anymore? It is always someone else who is breaking the law. And we teach our children it is wrong to be dishonest — or do we?

Are laws for other people? Do we break the law? I was taught it was never a good idea to get on the wrong side of the law, so of course I never break the law?

I was driving on a country highway the other day. The speed limit was 55 mph. I was only going 60. It was fine because everyone was passing me because they were going 60. I can go 60 because everyone else is traveling faster, too. I suspect my kids do this, too, and so will my grandchildren when they begin to drive. That’s not breaking the law.

Have you ever been in a store, and they made a mistake on the price in your favor and you didn’t say anything? After all, it was their mistake so it’s not stealing. But what happens if the mistake costs you money? Do you complain and expect them to fix it? Are they stealing from you?

Have you ever cheated on a test or copied a paper word for word from the internet without giving credit where credit should be due just so you can get a good grade? Aren’t schools just wrong to expect we should know what is on those tests and answer without help?

Recently I mentioned in a column it was illegal to water lawns when we visited one Fourth of July, and it was illegal to shoot fireworks but the local powers that be advised people to water their lawn before shooting fireworks. They knew there was going to be illegal shenanigans going on. They knew people were going to break the law, but instead of changing the law they encouraged people to break the law. The officials knew they couldn’t enforce it with so many people ignoring it. Isn’t that a mixed message to our kids? So were we breaking the law when we shot those fireworks or was it legal since they advised us to water the lawn?

We all lie or stretch the truth in one way or another. Recently, I actually took part in encouraging deceit without thinking about it. I was housesitting, and my granddaughter was with me. We broke a house rule that was left for us. We knew no one would find out if we didn’t tell, so I advised her, “What happens here when we are together stays here.” Essentially I didn’t tell her not to be honest if asked, but to not talk about it and maybe she wouldn’t be asked. Yes, I encouraged dishonesty.

I believe there has to be a point where we know when what we do passes the line and it will fracture lives. Most of us don’t want to get past that point. Maybe it is because we haven’t felt the power of fame and fortune. I don’t know if fame and fortune would change me to where the things I believe are now wrong would be right when presented with an opportunity to have more power, no matter the consequences to myself and others.

I do feel until there are consequences for corruption and all of us hold each other accountable, nothing is going to change in our communities, in our schools, in our churches and, yes, at the government level.

You have to excuse me right now. I have to turn out the lights, so it looks like I am not home. I told my neighbors I was going away so I wouldn’t have to go to the neighborhood picnic tonight. I don’t cook, remember, and I was supposed to bring a hot dish. I didn’t want to admit it. They are all good cooks.  I don’t want them to know I am home. It’s just a little white lie. I would never tell a big black lie. And you should believe that because I just told you and what famous people tell you is the truth. But then, I’m not famous. Wait a minute, I just I told you I was? And I’m an honest person, right?

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.