Accept Responsibility, Make Amends, Do Better

If you have standards (ethics, integrity, honor, ideals), do they apply to everyone … or just everyone else?  Conversely, do you make excuses for everyone else while holding yourself to impossible standards?

I made a personal resolution recently to be less judgmental, especially of other women and people who “aren’t like me.”  So does that mean I make the same excuses for other people who I make for myself and let them slide on what i allow myself slide on?  Or does that mean that I hold myself to the standards that I believe should apply to everyone?

I have a friend who doesn’t believe in worrying about the feelings of the few “good” apples in a “bad” harvest.  You can’t redeem the harvest by pointing to the exceptions.  She applies this to all institutionalized police forces, including customs and border patrol.  The reported excesses, including shooting and beating minorities and women, are not exceptions.  They are the one time in many that couldn’t be covered up.  And when those individuals are caught out, they lie and others lie or make excuses to support them.  And they all believe that is okay because we live in a culture where getting caught is worse that what you did.  Lie long enough and the lie becomes reality.  It becomes “true,” or in the words of the Trump administration, “alternative fact.”

Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.”  I like to think that is still true on an individual level outside of institutionalized power.  When me make mistakes, we accept responsibility, we make amends, and we do better the next time.  We learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them.  However, institutionalized power can’t seem to follow suit and won’t until forced … until the millions of people who supported that power (explicit, complicit, implicit) take responsibility for putting it in place, take it down and replace it.  We all need to do whatever we can to make that happen.