Saturday, September 15, 2007

Behaving ethically

I was abruptly reminded today that age and experience do not necessarily render a person either wiser or kinder. And in fact, in this case, I suspect that age and experience have probably rendered at least one man even nastier and more devious -- and I seriously doubt that he ever acted kindly toward anyone, including his family.

The unpleasant encounters came at a neighborhood meeting that was dominated by one man -- not the titular president, who himself showed an ugly, very autocratic face -- who somehow had buffaloed and bullied a majority of those present into supporting him and his agenda. While I know only a few of those present very well, and some not at all, I was simply floored by the overall meek acceptance as gospel truth of the vitriol this man was spouting.

It wasn't even that his proposals had no merit -- there was at least one that was fair and rational. But the way he had ramrodded it through a vote included out-and-out lying and slandering the characters and actions of two volunteers. At one point he boldly admitted in front of the whole group, "I lied." He nominated himself for election to an office, and when confronted with the fact that he had agreed not to seek a position again, declared that he would not leave the board.

And the group sat there, eating brownies and drinking soda, in tacit acceptance of his dismissive, disrespectful, and admittedly unethical behavior. And elected him.

The other man, also on the board and who also had agreed not to seek re-election, also admitted he'd lied, and publicly declared himself to be the sole authority on any road or road-frontage issues in the entire neighborhood, challenging one respectful objector to "Sue me."

And the group sat there. And a few expressed appreciation for his dedication. And stuffed their faces. And elected him too.

Both men were publicly abrasive toward others in the group, most especially and maliciously towards the two volunteers who were not present, and to the handful who raised objections or asked questions about process or decisions made during the year.

It turned ugly. There were raised voices. There were accusations and obscenities flung by several parties, but most clearly by the two liars who had just been again elected to office.

And most of the group just sat there, eating brownies and drinking soda, and saying nothing. Baaaaaa...

I'll confess that I was one of the objectors, and that I threw out a few zingers too. Although I'm generally very slow to anger, I hate lying above nearly anything -- save abuse of animals and people -- and I knew FOR A FACT that both men were lying about far more than they'd publicly admitted. I was shocked that they had managed to so thoroughly convince a group of individuals I'd thought had some intelligence to believe falsehoods and fabrications in order to achieve their self-serving goals.

And I was -- and am -- once again disillusioned and disgusted that unethical, dishonest, mean-spirited, downright nasty actions have been accepted as reasonable and tolerable behavior. It's not the first time I've seen this in the past few years, but it hasn't hit quite as close to home as it did today.

I continue to believe in right speech, right actions, right thought, right intention, right livelihood, right effort and right mindfulness as a way of life. I believe in the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated -- as a guiding ethic of life. I don't believe any of us are exempt from those moral principles, and I believe in karma: that what goes around comes around.

I just want to be there to see it. Okay, I work on that...

It was not a fun day. It's probably not over, either, because I believe there will be repercussions from today's actions. But I'm done. I will not waste major time on minor people. I have more interesting, more important things in my life. Thanks be.


Anonymous said...

Remember that these jerks have to live with themselves. While that might not be punishment enough, karma will take care of the rest. Karma isn't a spiritual law, it is a practical statement of how the world works. There is probably something illegal in what they did and after some reflection, one of the sheep may actually grow fangs or lightning may strike from someone who was not even at the meeting.
The fireworks are about to begin. Sit back and enjoy the show.

Beth said...

Hmm. I look forward to the view. There are several others, I understand, who are interested in seeing them as well.

Anonymous said...

You know, I could just taste the level of disgust and deceipt from that meeting.
Your impressions and musings were spot-on and well directed.
I only wish circumstances hadn't arisen that did not permit me to take a stance and kick some mean ass around.
You are so right, the jerks will have to live with the results of their actions for lifetimes yet to come. Good for you to have had the cajones to make an objection, especially in the presence of such sheepish fools.

Beth said...

So. What do you think about sending this post via snail mail to the rest of the immediate area's inhabitants? I'm getting some encouragement to do so.