After receiving so many wonderful birthday wishes and reading how the things I write and say can have such a profound effect on people, I had to finally get something off my chest. This has been burning a hole in my mind ever since I first heard the news about disgraced Anchorman Brian Williams. I know the incident for most people has come and gone. Understandably, the story was (and is) nothing more than a blip on the social media radar for a lot of people; more inspiration for amusing memes and late night talk show monologues. I get it. Most of us have way too much going on to stop and think about a man who fabricated the better part of his career for whatever reason. I am one of those people.
However, this one, hit home on so many levels. I hate deception. I sincerely dislike people who lie, cheat steal. But for someone to fabricate a story (a fantasy) with a complete disregard for the bravery and valor of others is unforgivable. As a veteran I am offended, I am disheartened and I am mad as hell. I have seen what war can do to people. I have talked to men and women who have been affected by the horrors of war; who are traumatized by years of being on the front lines and witnessing death and destruction. Spend a day at a VA hospital and you will surely witness first-hand the collateral damage of war. These men and women put their lives on the line every single day, and so many of them do not receive nearly the recognition they deserve. And here comes a man, who robs them of their share of the credit and profited every step of the way from their sacrifice. Unforgivable.
As a writer I have a responsibility. As a father, a union organizer, a leader, a son, brother, uncle, friend…as a man… I have a responsibility to be honest, to be trustworthy and to be mindful that people rely on the things I say and do in so many ways. I know this (and take it seriously) because I am far from perfect and I admit I have fallen short and I’m sure I have disappointed. We all have a responsibility to the people in our lives. Loved ones expect that their trust will not be violated. Employees expect that you will be true to the authenticity of your mission. To violate that trust changes the complexity of any relationship and can render the foundation of that relationship useless. Principles, values, integrity and character are non-negotiable. None of these attributes ever change. They are steadfast and imprinted in the fabric of our character. People change, but these fundamentals do not. Every decision we make is a choice. No one or no one thing can force a person to be misguided or unethical (Seriously, no amount of money or power or possessions should ever define who you are or determine the decisions you make). Most grown folks know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Whether or not they choose to exercise their better judgment is a conscious discernment. Never conduct yourself in such a way that you find yourself apologizing for being untrustworthy. It’s really that simple. Life is Not Complicated… we are.