Best if it’s the leader.
As we approach National Honesty Day, April 30, it is ironic – perhaps ‘comic’ would be more apt – that as to “congressional records or presidential proclamations for this day” – this ‘National’ day, this one day (only one?) set aside to tell the truth – “none were found.”
No pontifical, presidential, or political pronouncement that places priority on probity?
Pretty implausible you postulate?
Why do you suppose?
Because, what tales, truth be told, would a truth-teller tell were a teller-of-truth actually found in the temples of justice, among the towers of jurisprudence or – as we begin the climb, or maybe it’s the decent – on the Slippery Hill of the presidential campaign trail?
Truth-tellers don’t tell tales. Neither tall tales, nor short ones.
Au contraire, mon ami?
A truth-teller is someone (or more) who suggests the emperor has no clothes, who peers behind facades, lifts rocks, cannot abide mediocrity, challenges the status quo, rocks the boat, exposes what has been swept under the carpet, questions tradition and mocks the ‘we’ve-never-done-it-that-way-before’ modus operandi that more often than not serves as the death knell of any organization.
He/she/they is/are a combination of critic, curmudgeon and cheerleader prowling the corporate corridors of our country.
They are, or should be, among every organization’s most wanted for the most vaunted position of all: curmudgeon-in-chief, head cook stirring the pot, champion of truth.
Such make the best leaders given their refusal to go along just to get along, their disinclination to tell the people what they want to hear, and instead value honesty – every day not just on National Honesty Day – as a far higher priority even over that of loyalty, certainly more so than to espouse the blather that passes for the talking-points line (and/or life) of the party.
They consequently cherish the resulting opprobrium for their honesty a badge of honor (John Pilger, “Tell Me No Lies”).
And the two – honesty and opprobrium – are perceived as an off-the-charts better measure of their impact than the mentally-insipid, banally-simplistic, regurgitated pabulum served up by cultural and industrial icons, the mess of the latter’s intellectual indolence dripping disgustingly from the gaping chins of the jaw-dropping, eyes-glassing, drool carpet-staining masses where the pabulum puddles to form an ever-widening swamp.
You’re probably thinking ‘bout now, ‘so tell us how you really feel’ right?
With withering scrutiny the hall monitor/whistle blower/clipboard carrier examines carefully, doubts mostly, gags usually that which the majority swallow glibly: the pontifications and happy-sticker-face couldn’t-be-better-proclamations and rosy predictions of those in places of power – or who want to be there – but who can no longer pronounce truth, who equivocate on the whole truth, and eviscerate and obfuscate what little is left of truth.
Yes, God bless the peacemakers.
But peacemaking presumes a very possibly important and even necessary – albeit messy – conflict: a burr-in-the-saddle grievance; a bee-in-the-bonnet gripe; a “handbags at 10 paces” showdown into which melee the peacemaker eventually intervenes but only because purse-flailing and bag-bludgeoning can be fatal (I mean it could happen given the size of those things, right?)
“Why handbags? Well, as well as the obvious effeminate imagery, the phrase was coined when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. She was said to give ministers who she saw as slackers a ‘good handbagging’, that is, a verbal dressing down.”
Here on our side of the pond, America could use “a good handbagging,” from top to bottom, from the mountains to the prairie to the oceans white with foam.
Our culture, after all, does not reward candor.
Or as written about previously, “It’s Vogue to be Vague.”
In an article entitled “You Can’t Manage a Secret,” for the publication “Governing,” Russ Linden declared: “creating a culture of openness and candor is critical to organizational success. It takes a strong, concerted effort by leaders.”
Which is worse, asks Linden: failing to spend a mere one-dollar per car to fix an ignition problem which correctible failure left uncorrected “resulted in the deaths of 13 people, the recall of 2.6 million cars, at least 55 lawsuits against GM and several billion dollars in fines and settlements”?
Or, professing ignorance?
‘Yes.’ The answer is ‘yes.’
When “presented with a number of facts about the long history of ignition-switch failures while testifying before Congress, and asked why it took GM 10 years to even acknowledge the defect, GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, didn’t know.”
Does the ‘we didn’t know’ excuse absolve board members from their responsibility to, well, know the goings-on of their executive director who they’ve left alone to unilaterally, even fraudulently, write the checks?
No. To know the ins-and-outs, the nuts and bolts, the quirks (in order to perhaps reveal the quacks) is their job.
Should the members of the Department of Justice need a memo from Attorney General Eric Holder reminding them that solicitation of a prostitute is not a good idea?
Uh, no. They already received that memo: their marriage vows.
Should juniors and seniors in high school who “have hissy fits when they’re turned in (by their teacher) to the Honor Council for plagiarism” be able to get away with the ‘we didn’t know’ alibi?
Because, wrote Kait Nolan of her students – “a higher percentage than usual (having) hit way too many branches on their fall out of the stupid tree” – “the syllabus each of them received on the first day of class declared, ‘I didn’t know!’ is not a valid excuse.”
For “society (which) has become so fake that the truth actually bothers people” – which was a “Campaign for Liberty” photo seen on Facebook recently – there’s the hall monitor.
For everyone else – all two of you – there’s National Honesty (for the vast majority a 24-but-unfortunately-not-a-24/7) Day.