There is nothing I hate more in life than the twin sins of hypocrisy and piety. But in making that one statement, I fear I just became hypocritical and pious myself. Let me admit from the outset that this article was motivated by a friend who got irate over my seeming double standard—only for a minor trifle to escalate into an argument. But I must say, what she said struck a chord for the issues she raised are the very things I have been confounded by ever since I started Ghion Journal a few months ago.
A long time ago, I used to let the pettiness of others bleed me of my inspiration as I would take to social media and a now defunct website I started to bash trolls who trolled my articles. I saw how idiotic it was to do this—to fight hatred with hatred is an utterly childish behavior. So when I launched Ghion Journal, I made a conscience decision to never air personal matters on this platform nor on social media all together. If people want to troll me, let them troll on. After all they only chuck arrows your way when you are worthy enough to be a target—which means you must be doing something right.
This article thus is not some type of response to my friend who aired her grievance but more of a reflection about the issues she raised. Chief among them is what seemed to her like a double standard; how I bashed certain public figures in previous articles only to throw a bouquet to Michael Eric Dyson and Marcia Dyson a few days ago. Let me state for public record that while I don’t know neither Marcia Dyson or her husband Michael Eric Dyson, Marcia does follow me on Twitter and last week retweeted an article I wrote about Maxine Waters and Bill O’Reilly and the fraudulence behind the theatrics.
When Marcia Dyson retweeted my article, I inboxed her to thank her and then she complimented the way I write and I noted that I’ve always admired her husband and looked forward to reading her book. A day later, after reflecting on how the Dysons maintain a marriage in spite of being in the public spotlight, I decided to write an article titled “Dyson Synergy”. Let me admit, there was a certain eek factor that I felt when I made the decision to write the article. Was I only doing this because Marcia was kind enough to share my article with her public? Was I going to hold my tongue about the disagreements that I have with the Dysons since both are public figures who endorse one politician or another while I am an anonymous soul who know politicians on both sides of the isle are utterly corrupt.
This gnawed at me the whole time I was writing; but I published the article nonetheless because the main arc of the article was about the marriage of the Dysons and was not focused on their politics. The same day I wrote the article, one of the readers of Ghion Journal inboxed me and expressed a mild bemusement for she was perplexed that I was endorsing the Dysons while a day earlier I was bashing Maxine Waters. So when my friend and I had an argument today about this same thing, it spun me into a deep state of reflection and a sense of discomfort as to whether or not I was becoming the very same thing I was blasting.
I wrote on Facebook last week “am I being divisive by speaking against divisiveness”. This notion is like a Chinese finger trap; the more you try to pull at the fabric of what tears apart society, the more that fabric shrouds you in further questions. We are not to judge for all of us fall short and none of us is guilt free when it comes to our moral compass. However, does this mean we are not to condemn those who hurt others through commission—through intentions—the same way we might overlook the sins of those who hurt others through omission? Forgetting your wife’s anniversary after all is not the same thing as ordering drones to bomb a Syrian village nor is voting for a politician the same thing as the politician who votes to defund veteran care in favor of yet more weapon systems.
Yesterday, while I was at work at a local deli, a retired Air Force MP walked into the store. I started to talk to him about my journey and at one point told him “I wonder if it’s even worth fighting” when we were talking about the endless trails of veterans that are found on street corners suffering alone. He looked into my eyes and said “don’t give up, speak up and keep using whatever voice God gave you even if you don’t see the difference in your lifetime”. What he said touched me because he understood the anger that I feel when I keep seeing homeless people being ignored while our political leaders use patriotism as a cash register.
Nonetheless the discomfort sits on my shoulder and taps at my temple. When I condemn politicians, am I setting myself up for failure? Will I be judged by the same words that I use? I say this because I know it’s easy to judge the powerful when I have nothing to lose and I have few possessions to my name. But would my courage to speak the truth to power abate when all the sudden I have accumulations to my name and if a day comes where I accrue status? Moreover, I don’t want to come across as pious or in any way holier than thou, especially given the fact that I write articles about my faith in God and I condemn religious figures who use God to advantage themselves the same way I condemn politicians.
This is an arduous journey for me for I struggle with my own flesh even as I speak against the evils of those who kneecap this world. I spend plenty of time—both in my moments of solitary reflection and in my writings—talking about my struggles to overcome the past and to not let the desires and wantonness be the north star of my soul. Let me break some news here, I am not sinless and my shortcomings are many. I still sink to the pettiness of other people instead of extending grace. I still have desires even as I try my hardest to wash away lust from my spirits. I still want to have the “comforts of life” even as I speak against the evils of money and what it does to divide us. I still have tribalism in my heart even as I try my darnedest to see people as my brothers and sisters irrespective of their external traits.
I am a work in progress but I’m not about to hold my tongue until I am perfect. When I see wrong or when I see those in the position of power using their status to oppress others, I shall condemn and throw down the hammer of the pen. Though I have plenty of travels to go on my spiritual journey, I nonetheless do not compare my flaws to that of those who intentionally make people suffer. But I will be mindful of this, I have established a platform on this website and I shall be extra vigilant not to use this space to advance myself. When there are times where conflict of interest might arise, I shall err on the side of caution.
True enough my writing is subjective, there is no such thing as objective news for all information is viewed and then processed through a subjective prism, but I shall from this point on refrain from letting personal affinity for others be the reason I praise people and instead only focus on their work. But in the end, I can’t escape a certain level of hypocrisy even as I hate it when I see it in others nor can I be without piety. I am a fellow struggler in the journey to do better and to be more about love than I am about frustrations or anger. I can’t detach who I am from what I write, I am who I am, I am just trying to do better. #HypocrisyMe
Hypocrisy is the essence of snobbery, but all snobbery is about the problem of belonging. Alexander Theroux
If you like this article, share it on social media using #HypocrisyMe and while you are at it, check out the video below, perhaps the reason for all the hypocrisy and piety in the world is because the inner child in us is looking for a love that left a void a long time ago.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.