VIEW: Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy infuriates me. Listening to U.S. Congressional representatives talking about the tragedy of pulling out of Afghanistan and the devastating effects on women and girls is hypocrisy. There have been so many examples of women’s inequality in this country that it is hard not to see this outcry as hypocrisy in politics.

Watching the latest abortion restrictions take effect in Texas as the anti-vaxxers cry “my body, my rights” is hypocrisy.

Our government has not supported women and girls since our founding. We need to offer equal rights for all here at home. 

Hypocrisy is at play when someone pretends to believe something or behaves in a way that they do not really value. The good old Merriam-Webster online dictionary states that hypocrisy “is a feigning to be what one is not, or to believe what one does not; behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel. Especially: the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.”

We are all hypocrites at one time or another. Most of us do not live our lives in strict alignment with our moral or religious values or beliefs all the time. We tell “white lies” to spare someone’s embarrassment. We stretch the truth in a story to make it more interesting. The tipping point is when one knowingly lives in opposition to ones professed core values. The dangerous tipping point is when people are harmed by your deliberate, uncaring actions.

I think of my friend Jane living her values as a coach of young girls. She cheered and shouted when girls from both teams had great plays. Meanwhile, I sat in the stands with parents of her team who were appalled that their coach was applauding the other team for good sporting skills.

These were young girls who were learning skills, being physically active, and enjoying themselves. This was a game for fun and practice; not with top champion consequences. The girls enjoyed knowing when they did something well. To me, it was great to see my friend reward everyone for their success. Why isn’t the joy of the game — learning new skills — the value? 

I believe that if you agree with a value, it should apply whatever “side” you are on.

Many people agreed with Trump setting a date to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. When Biden stuck with that plan, why did people change their opinion about ending the “forever” war?

If you think the government should not force you to be vaccinated because it infringes on your personal freedom of “my body, my right,” then how can you not agree with that same value for a woman’s right to “my body, my right” for her healthcare?

I have to force myself to look at my values and support or acknowledge people (including politicians) who share those values — even if I don’t agree with all of their positions.

George W Bush was not my preferred candidate for President, but I did agree with some of his actions. He is credited with doing more to combat AIDS, especially in Africa, than any other previous president. Bush also was a leader in the United Nations effort to raise global funding to fight AIDS. The program was not perfect, and did not include whole healthcare. It promoted abstinence-only requirements that I do not agree with. But it was important humanitarian funding that saved lives, which I do support.

Maybe I am naive. Time has proven that most people do not do the right thing or make the moral choice when called upon for the greater good.

Our moral compass, religion, or humanity can create a values foundation on which to base our decisions. The first step is to discern your own values and the next step is to live them. If we do not support our values wherever we see them, that is hypocrisy.

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