Last month, on Real Time with Bill Maher, California Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, said something that resonated with me, “Stand on principles, then lean in.” Now, if you know me, then you know that I don’t know anything about baseball or boxing, but I understand the point… Be ready. Put your back into it and your full weight behind it. It’s going to hurt like Hell either way and Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right. You’ll be criticized regardless.”
Where has that gone? How has the truth become what’s decided by polling the masses? To bring it back to Bill Maher, “This is the fallacy of argumentum ad numerum, the idea that something is true because great numbers believe it, as in "Eat shit. Twenty trillion flies can't be wrong." Don’t misunderstand me. I agree in compromise. I don’t even see it as, “Neither one of us got what we wanted.” I believe, “We both gave up something and we met in the middle. I respected your input, values and perspective, and I appreciate that you respected mine. We saw it differently but true diversity of thought produces real solutions.” Where has that gone?
Or am I simply now that middle-aged cliché, who sits there and says, “Well, when I was younger…”
I don’t know. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” and there are certain facts that are simply facts. Again, maybe I’m now simply “of that generation,” who thinks, “Hmmm – you don’t get to make up lies and debate me with them. You don’t get to sidestep facts because they are inconvenient or you don’t like them. And SIMPLY because you say something over and over and over doesn’t make it real.” For the record, it makes it annoying. I just don’t know…
Maybe I’m having an existential crisis because I cannot stop myself from mentally meandering down this rabbit hole. I mean it. Lately, if you were to see me in my car at a stop-light, you would be JUST as likely to catch me bringing it like Madonna during the Superbowl as you would be to witness me giving a person with Tourette’s Syndrome a run for their money over something I heard on the news.
As they say in Vegas, it’s a crap-shoot.
And I don’t know why it makes me angry, but it does. Actually, scratch that. It infuriates me. Maybe it’s because I hate wondering whether or not I’m an idiot for playing by the rules and being honest. Or maybe it’s because I resent the fact that the status-quo forces me wonder about this AT ALL. Seriously, in 2013, shouldn’t we be far enough along as a species to say, “Yes, that’s a fact. Let’s collectively move forward and tackle another problem.”
No, instead I find myself wondering if I should suspend my humanity and jump down to the low road to fight it out. Too bad my mother is right, “If you put your integrity on the table, someone will take it. Accept that. And, more importantly, never argue with an idiot. You’ll stoop to their level only to have them beat you out of experience alone… each and every time.” As a result, because I cannot lie, I have to accept the truth… often times I lose… and there is little solace in that but in the end – I am only responsible for my behavior.
I guess I could take comfort in what John Adams said, “Always stand on principle....even if you stand alone.” I could try to find peace in his Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s, advice, “In any struggle, truth is the only weapon we possess." Or I could go big picture, and I mean that literally… I could take advice from the movie, “People like Us,” and live according to the following Six Rules of Life:
1. Don't like something just because you think other people will like it... because they won't.
2. What you think is important isn’t. What you think is unimportant is.
3. Lean into it.
4. Don't shit where you eat.
5. Most doors are closed - so if you want them to open, you need a cool knock.
6. Don't sleep with people who have more problems than you do.
It might not be eloquent, but it works for me. Like I said, I’m a cad but I’m not a fraud. Talk to you later.