I would imagine how you feel about the year 2013 being behind you depends a great deal on where you sit on a number of issues. But I don’t think it’s really important to rehash everything that went on this past year.
Let’s face it; there were some incredibly positive things in our country and in the world. And there were a number of low points involving both individuals and organizations.
I’d like to discuss one common thread that runs through the negative events of last year. Actually, the thread has probably been around for eons. Whenever something goes awry, there’s usually someone or some group who wants to assign immediate blame and carry out the punishment forthwith.
Often, the call for summary execution is heard well before all the facts are known about who did what to whom and when. Sometimes it seems as though the facts are really not important at all. “Innocent until proven guilty,” sounds nice but seldom sees the true light of day.
I think I know the reason for that; no one seems capable of telling the truth or accepting responsibility.
How often have we witnessed outright denial, followed over the next few days by more denials interspersed with obfuscation and statements meant to discredit the opponents or accusers? Eventually the spin machine shifts into high gear immediately after more information leaks out that gives credence to the negative information.
And then, when there is no longer any basis for a credible denial, an admission of guilt is reluctantly made, followed by more creative spin and mitigating statements by any number of supporters and occasionally a weasel-worded apology is made.
I won’t waste our time rehashing the peccadilloes of former President Clinton or Anthony Wiener since they are still fresh in everyone’s mind. I know we will eventually find out about the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, but that will be long after the principals have left office for good as they can hide behind the national security banner.
And the real stories and truth behind every aspect of the Affordable Care Act are yet to be told. The one thing we do know is that for most Americans, the “affordable” part of the name is an even bigger lie than the statement, “You can keep your own health plan and doctor ... period.”
Unfortunately, the “affordable” piece may actually be in the subsidies the government doles out, which will likely be monumental in cost.
Closer to home, we have the ongoing scandal of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and the hacking of Target Corporation’s customer credit/debit card information to ponder. Accusations against priests have been handled poorly by the church’s leadership, who have apparently been doing everything possible to hide the problems rather than to deal with them until they have no other choice.
The real downside of that situation is that it fosters unfounded suspicions about the thousands of other priests who are exemplary pastors and spiritual leaders. It also reduces the effectiveness of the church in presenting the messages of Christ’s Gospel. The biggest problem is that the suffering of the victims has been magnified and not fully addressed as one would expect from the Church.
In the case of Target, the lawyers are already on point filing lawsuits against the corporation for allowing its databases to be hacked, and other suits are certain to follow. Criminals are usually not very smart. However, cybercriminals are as smart as developers and maybe even smarter. Many are probably developers who got bored or who decided they could make a lot more money on the wrong side of the law.
The one thing I’m certain of is that Target will not be the last victim. Many others are sure to follow.
There is a contrast between these two examples — the Catholic Church and Target — that I would like to discuss briefly. Both situations have brought out the ambulance-chasers who are hell-bent to champion the compensation (money) that all the victims must receive for their losses, injuries or mental anguish.
In the Target case, the losses are mostly monetary and may not be discovered for a period of time or they may be non-existent. In the case of the sexual abuse, the victims require healing that only counseling, time and spiritual reflection can provide.
Money may reimburse expenses of counseling, but restoring a feeling of self-worth can’t and shouldn’t be tied to a dollar figure. Lawyers may be necessary, but they are seldom value-added in addressing the real problems inherent is these situations.
If there is one thing I would wish for 2014, it is that it would come to be known as a year of truth and acceptance of responsibility in the United States. We have always been a society that forgives people who make mistakes unintentionally or who make actual heartfelt apologies and change their ways.
And we as a society must also quit playing the blame game. Unfortunately, given this is an election year, I don’t think that’s likely to happen.
In any case, I think we should all understand that what’s in our hearts is infinitely more important than what is in our wallets. Your wallet can’t save your soul, but your heart sure can.
Well, that’s the way I see it.