I did something unethical today. I did something nice too, but it’s the lying and deceit that’s nagging at my conscience.
I’ll start with the good deed.
I’m standing in line on an unseasonably cold Sunday in the freezing rain. I’m waiting to get in to a political event for a 2020 presidential candidate I am supporting.
Two young girls are behind me. No coats, no umbrella. They drove four hours to get here from Columbus Ohio.
I give them my umbrella. My coat has a hood. One of the girls says, “Bless you.”
Now, about my shame.
The area is swarming with people. There’s no direction, no signs, no one with a megaphone telling us where to go. I am trying to find the end of the line that’s snakes around this enormous building.
All I can see is that when I do find the end of the line, I am going to have to tramp through a muddy field.
Not an option. I’m wearing sneakers.
So I step nonchalantly in to a gap in the line that is on nice solid cement. That’s when I budged in front of the Columbus schoolgirls. They didn’t even notice.
Now I round the corner to the building entry. Strange. People are walking in the opposite direction.
I reach the door and a lone security guard is telling people there’s no more room in the hall. That’s all the info we get.
I am really disappointed. It was a two hour drive for me, part of it in a snowstorm. The two high school girls are devastated. We parted ways and I tell them to keep the umbrella.
What to do?
I observe a volunteer letting in a few people who have “credentials. ” All they do is show the email confirmation on their phone.
I open my email confirmation from the campaign, it is general admission. I alter it slightly. I added “pick up your credentials at table 4.”
I show it at the door and I am in. The downward slide is a slippery slope. There’s more.
Once in, I can not figure out how to get the neck pass I need to enter the hall. So, I sneak past the gatekeepers by asking to go to the bathroom.
I receive an escort by a very genial volunteer who I promptly ditch.
I am further in but still need a neck pass. I spot a separate entrance for press. I flash my Prayables business card. The desk supervisor looks up my site, smiles and says, “Nice. Here you go.”
The irony is not lost on me.
Bending the truth to do something worthy and good is no excuse.
So here I am in the press room waiting for my candidate to speak. I’m using this time honestly, I’m writing to you.
I won’t be offering my political views, but I will share the message from a faith leader who opened the program and spoke so beautifully about values.
Prayer: Call Us Higher
Hear my cry Oh God, listen to my prayer.
From the end of the Earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Oh how we long for higher ground oh God. For safety and security, yes. But also for a different perspective. A clear view. A new vision. Call us higher.
Call us higher to that place where the bonds of our common humanity are recognized and honored and celebrated across the full spectrum of human being. Call us higher.
Call us higher to that place where the foundational ideals of liberty and justice for all are not perceived as existential threats to some who are privileged.
Call us to that place where we find courage to lay down the rod of the oppressor when we find that we are ourselves are holding it.
Call us to that place where repentance and forgiveness are signs of strength. Call us higher.
Call us higher to that place where our maturity will be judged, as the irrepressible Archbishop Desmond Tutu says, “by how well we agree to disagree, yet continue to love one another, continue to care for one another, cherish one another, and seek the greater good of the other.
Call us higher. Call us higher to that place of peace. Salam, Shalom, or in Norwegian, Fred… because, why not?
Call us higher in to human decency. Call us higher in to the dream of God. In to the healing embrace of a higher power.
Call us higher, and give us courage to heed that call for the life and love and good of our nation and our world.