When politicians and activists say they want to “Be the change they want to see in the world,” often they just want to “Say the Change” through a bumper sticker or “Wear the Change” on a t-shirt or “Share the Change” on their Facebook page. They have no intension of really changing to conform their lifestyle to their words.
The most recent example is of Al Gore selling his television network to oil backed Al Jazeera in Qatar for $100 million. The news was nearly as shocking as the 2007 revelation that the Global Warming crusader used 12 times as much electricity as the average American.
Then there’s Joe Biden who gave lip service to compassion at every campaign stop but managed to give only .2% of his family income to charity over the decade prior to running for vice president.
And Hypocrisy is by no means limited to those on the Left. How many times did Newt Gingrich give a speech about family values while his mistress’s bed was still warm? Hypocrisy is not limited to politicians. Hollywood stars and directors deplore real life violence while making millions on movie violence. Thank you Quentin Tarantino.
I was 20 years old when my own ugly hypocrisy forced me to change. When I asked myself what I, an outspoken advocate for the poor, had actually done for people in poverty, I came up empty. That day was the first step in my journey from hypocrisy to authenticity. Today I no longer outsource my compassion to the government. I no longer call upon others to sacrifice. I am willing to give of my money and my time. I am the change.
This journey to authenticity requires me to align my thoughts, words, and deeds. I abhor animal cruelty so I own free range chickens. I chose a pound puppy rather than purebred. I talk about stewardship of our nature resources so I lowered my water usage with xeric plants and drip irrigation. I enjoy local produce from my yard and the local farmers’ markets and even have my own hives (I like to Bee the Change).
Is the alignment between my ideals and my lifestyle perfect? Not yet, but every day I challenge myself to be more true to my words. As much as it sets me up for disappointment, I expect the same from my elected leaders. If they’re not willing to follow their own advice, why should I?