Sunday, December 16, 2007

Believe Nothing

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."- Buddha

The Centre for Public Integrity in the U.S. released a statement recently that North American society is at it's lowest point of trust in government and companies since the 1930's. How did we get to this point you might ask and what are the events of the day that continue to cause us to spiral down the path of total disillusionment.

First of all we have been lied to by the very people we have entrusted with our well being; the pillars of society, government leaders, employers, ministers, and sports heroes, Here is the rogues gallery of those who have fallen from grace.

Let's begin with the Presidents of the United States. I say Presidents, because this business of lying to it's citizens didn't start with George W. Bush. Bush is in our face now, but let's not forget Bill Clinton's famous statement; "I did not sleep with that woman", to "tricky Dickie Nixon and Watergate, to George Bush Snr. and the Saudis', cover-up after cover up. Deny, Deny , Deny is the message that is most heard around the White House, the corporate world, the husband or wife who is cheating on you, the minister in the church who is having sex with a male prostitute or our sports heroes; from Olympic stars to baseball stars who deny their use of performance enhancing drugs. Deny, Deny, Deny!

Little doubt that morality and truth have been replaced by lying, cheating, and doing whatever it takes to either succeed in business, sports, politics or the pursuit of the American dream . To win at life! And Canada is not immune. This week we were shocked to learn that Brian Mulroney, the former prime minister had taken a bag full of money from a German businessman in exchange for some favours. But are we really shocked. If this had happened in the 1950"s, yes indeed there would be shock. But we are so immune today to the notion that someone did something wrong, that we feel it's almost acceptable. It's called "lobbying".

Even the American congress has decided they can't stop the lobbyists from influencing public officials, so they are in a sense legalizing it by introducing legislation that tells lobbyists they can't have sit down dinners with people of influence in congress, they must stand and only serve appetizers. So it's okay to pay someone off with a "vote" in exchange for that government defence contract, as long you have appies'. That's it, and oh one more thing, you have to say that you are inviting everyone, rather than a specific guest list.

So, is it any wonder that whatever comes out of the candidates mouth for this election, you know that $29 million dollars is buying a lot of votes and favours. Wall Street and the White House are joined at the hip. Even Oprah's star status and bags of money aren't enough to give Obama a makeover, so he becomes a man of the people rather than being owned by the $25 million plus given to him by corporate self interest groups. Make no mistake about it the black family on welfare in Harlem is not on Obama's targetted donor list. The facts: 96 percent of Americans don't contribute to political campaigns at all. The wealthiest elements of the U.S.are sustaining and sponsoring the political process and its actors. What this means is you get a government that is essentially bought and paid for by the powerful interests affected by those decisions. "Sometimes it's like forcing people to drink castor oil. People don't really want to get bad news. But information is power. Until you find out the truth you can't dig yourself out of the mess.- Charles Lewis founder of the Centre for Public Integrity.

And speaking of actors, why does it take an actor like Brad Pitt, driving around on a bicycle in New Orleans to re-build the homes lost by Katrina. Only in America, can you get Larry King the Godfather of Gossip to go to New Orleans to interview Pitt like he's an American hero. With the billions spent on the war in Iraq you would think the congressman representing that district could find a few milllion to help the people who voted for her/him. Oh yes, I forgot they weren't on the guest list for appies'

When a candidate says they have the citizens interest at heart they are smoking weed or actually believing their own lies and the script from their campaign manager. Power does funny things to you. It either makes you corrupt, ruthless, cunning and narcissistic or it grooms you for a higher purpose. Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a tremendous good and evil struggle, the continuing insanity of a system that is corrupt and broken and needs to be fixed and exorcised. The only hope I feel is with my 5 year old grandson, who questions everything and believes nothing unless it agrees with his own reason and common sense

And so, we read the headlines in the paper; Major league baseball players lie about using steroids. The list is printed, and everybody denies. George Bush tells everybody that Iran has a nuclear bomb. The U.S. led investigation discovers that they have no bomb. Bush denies, and says "okay, well maybe they will have one day, I still all want you to fear them, and support me if I invade. Bush lies about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. "Okay, maybe I was wrong, but we are there now, so let's win, because you now we Americans hate to lose, whether it's a war or the super bowl. The facts; 3, 500 young lives lost , because George W. wants to win the game before he leaves. And here's more insanity, Bush gets on the radio/tv and tells the American people that this drug thing has tarnished baseball, the American pastime we have all grown to love. Here's a concept George, release a statement saying that you have single handidly destroyed the faith and trust of the office of the President , which we have all held in high esteem since the American revolution.

Your boss tells you that you are a great employee, rewards you for 25 years of service with a watch, and when you hear rumors of a possible takeover of the company he denies this and tells everybody their job is safe. Next year the company is bought by an off shore conglomerate. They announce they are cutting staff for the bottom line and to please their shareholders by saving money. You are given two weeks to empty your desk.

Every day somewhere in the world these things are happening. Telling a lie is now an acceptable form of denial. Telling the truth is more of an exception and treated with a query; "why are you telling me this, is there a motive here, what do you want from me, I don't believe you, you're just saying that,, what do you really mean, is there a method to your madness.".

It's no wonder that we are all a little bit confused, and so when I got this card from a very good friend, I couldn't help but notice the message from the Buddha, and so it made sense to share it, particularly because today is Sunday, a day of contemplation, and prayer. So here is my prayer; that all of you will take this message into your week, and ask only one question of yourselves and everyone you have a business or personal relationship with, when they are done speaking, don't be afraid to ask them this question; "So what part of this is a lie? Your fear is that they might tell you something you don't want to hear- the truth!

If you do nothing more for the rest of your life other than"speak your truth" and ask that fundamental question, you will always know what and who to believe in. I believe in my grandson because he always tells me when he is not telling the truth, he says, "Just kidding Grandpa". Maybe it's time for adults to start kidding instead of lying!

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