By Jeeni Criscenzo
Sometimes I read something that someone I thought I knew posts on Facebook, that is so incongruent with my previous perception of them as an intelligent and decent person, that I just have to shut it down and walk away, because I feel like my head is going to explode.
Whatever It Takes (WIT). The first time I heard that expression I was uncomfortable with what it implied. There has to be a limit, a line you won’t cross, even if that’s the only way to win. But it seems that there is a growing percentage of the population who think that when winning is at stake, there are no lines too sacred to cross. If you want to be a winner, you must be willing to do WIT, even if that means you break the rules, lie and cheat and hurt innocent people. Right?
I always thought it was subliminally biased that the conservatives got to be called The Right – as in, “They are right and we are wrong” and the liberals were stuck with being The Left, as in, “That’s all you got left?” Well now it’s the Left acting like the Right, so I guess that makes everybody right.
We’ve ended up with this bat-shit-crazy bird that just won’t fly: one wing is without scruples but pretends to care about people and the other wing is without scruples and doesn’t bother even pretending they care about people. All anybody really cares about is winning! Choosing the leadership of the most powerful nation in the world has become a free-for-all reality show.
The particular Facebook post that put me over the edge of despair today was from a Hillary supporter who was enraged (enraged! I tell ya) that people booed Wasserman at the Convention. She accused people of being so damn rude, because Debbie was just doing what any high schooler does when her BFF is running for class president – she breaks the rules to get her friend elected. Cuz, that’s what best friends do.
Seriously? A grown-up wrote this?
I can’t help but think of all the times in my life when I tried to do something great. When I tried to be all I could be. And I played by the rules. I did whatever it took, within the boundaries of my standards of fair play and honesty. And I didn’t win. And if I said that I didn’t win because somebody else cheated, I would be a sore loser.
And then you reach the point where you realize you can’t win without cheating because the game is rigged. And then you have to choose: you keep spitting into the wind; or you compromise your integrity, or you give up.
Playing by the rules takes a lot more perseverance than cheating. But that’s how we became a civilized people – by creating rules that give everyone a fair shot at winning if they are willing to do the hard work, and they have a lick of talent, or skill, or imagination, or vision… That was the appeal of Bernie Sanders – he played by the rules. He acted the way we grew up believing leaders should act – with integrity. But every time Sanders’ supporters complained that the other side was cheating, they were called sore losers.
So now we have proof that they were cheating. And what we know is probably just the tip of the iceberg of the extent of the cheating, because WIT is a demon that keeps demanding more and more of your soul. You get to the point where you no longer think lying and cheating is wrong because you tell yourself everyone is doing it. And then you say shit on Facebook that makes decent folks want to vomit.
But let’s be practical. We don’t want Trump to win, so we need to do WIT. Hillary defended her opposition to Universal Single Payer Healthcare, which she once supported, by saying that she learned to be “practical”. Practical is code for realizing that nobody is playing by the rules so you just have to be like them if you want to win, and winning is everything, so you just gotta do whatever it takes!
Yesterday I sat in a meeting about changing the formula used to allocate HUD funds for homeless programs. I suggested that we needed to increase the amount in the big pot so everyone would have enough money to do the work we were all trying to do. It was pointed out that originally there were more funds budgeted, but Congress had directed HUD to cut it, dramatically! The thought occurred to me that if we elected Democrats to Congress and the White House, even if they will still go to war with the world, and bail out banks, and agree to outrageous trade agreements and continue fracking… at least they might not defund homeless programs. And that would be better than… So maybe the left wing is justified in doing WIT to win?
No! Because we could have had the genuine deal – a President who still thinks there are lines you don’t cross. But Hillary’s BFF thought it was OK to break the rules and SHE got to decide who would be president. Not the millions who stood patiently in line to attend Bernie’s rallies and donated to his campaign. We are just the masses to be manipulated. That’s how they play the game. Stop being a sore loser.
So now, NOW, we have two people vying to run our nation who have been “outted” as cheaters, liars, bullies. And people think this is OK because they did it in High School.
I’ve been spending a lot of time puttering in my garden, trying to decide if it’s worth the effort to try to change anything. I feel like I’m hanging onto the cliff edge with my fingernails dug into rocks that are turning to sand. When truth means nothing, what can you hold onto? When fair play is for losers, why get in the game? The person selected to run our nation will be the one most willing to do whatever it takes to get there. The rest of us just need to be practical.