Doing the right thing

It’s not always easy, but sometimes it is

By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

There’s an old saying about politics; sometimes people need to be shamed into doing the right thing.

I’m sure that the same principle applies to business, and any other area of leadership and decision-making.

Politicians are in the spotlight because they are the ultimate public figures. We pay them, and through an elaborate process, we have selected them from a field of potential candidates. Appropriately enough, most of us expect them to do their jobs – and, in an ideal world, live up to their promises.

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

In any other context, a person is hired for a particular position, is paid and is expected to do what they are being paid to do.

It doesn’t seem that complicated.

I’ve never held, or even run for public office.

But I know many people who have.

It takes a special kind of person to dedicate themselves to venture into, or even intend a career in public service. Every political office has its range of duties and responsibilities, but even more than that, an elected office-holder is forever essentially on-call – even if they are on vacation, or retired.

Representing a range of constituents – often with conflicting values and priorities – with budget constraints and an ever-changing public response has never been easy. Making public decisions and polices will never please everyone.

And I’ll be the first to admit that some issues can be (and often are) vastly more complex than first impressions might suggest.

Besides that, every decision precludes others and often brings into focus unintended consequences.

Some decisions and policies bring about conflicting even contradictory results.

And, when one’s continuance in office relies on approval by a majority of voters, or at least more than any other candidate, what any office-holder does, or is associated with, can have lasting consequences.

Many leaders consider their legacy even more than any particular issue or policy.

You’d think that someone who publicly applies for a position of leadership would be willing, even eager, to do what they, and their constituents believe would be a contribution in the cause of public good.

Again, you wouldn’t think it would be that complicated. But for whatever reason it often is.

In early August we saw two cases dominate the headlines; one overtly political while the other could only be considered an expression of delusion masquerading as “free expression”.

The PACT Act

The PACT Act is legislation intended to address the health care needs of toxin-exposed veterans.

Broken into nine sections, the PACT Act addresses health care coverage, expansion and eligibility.

VA health care eligibility is expanded and extended for veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras.

If there were ever a no-brainer, in-your-face, obvious policy, it would be one, like this one, that addresses the needs of veterans as they recover from conditions encountered as a direct result of their service.

To get a VA disability rating, the disability must connect to military service.

It would be difficult to come up with a better example of the political corollary of a slam-dunk.

But, for whatever reason, opposing this bill became a matter of principle – at least for a few legislators – and for a day or two. At least until public outrage built up.

As is often the case, their objections were, in most cases, obtuse and fell somewhere on a spectrum between lame and pathetic.

But common sense and decency prevailed – at least on the part of the veterans and their supporters who made their voices heard. This time.

Somehow I have the feeling that grandstanding and political posturing will emerge at the next opportunity.

And many political careers are based on the assumption of short memories of voters.

If you’d like to know more about the PACT Act, and other VA issues and benefits look here –

Lying for a living?

Alex Jones is one of those people making a good living ($800,000 gross in a single day, according to his business officer) thanks to his rambling, unsubstantiated claims about “crisis actors” and “staged hoaxes” at sites of tragedies and mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and a multitude of others from the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings to the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.

His rantings and blatantly false claims led to years of threats to already bereaved parents of murdered children.

You have to wonder what kind of person would do such a thing. Jones did it, and much more, and gained an eager and supportive audience.

As one parent asked him, what does it take to get you to stop lying and hurting people you don’t even know?

Apparently multi-million dollar penalties, public humiliation, multiple charges of harassment and perjury are not enough.

As one commentator put it, with Alex Jones “rationality goes out the window”.

“Doing the right thing”, or certainly the decent thing, is, for whatever reason, not within his capacity.

In a previous era, unfounded accusations were met with the question, “Have you no shame?” In the 2020s, the answer seems as chilling as it is obvious. There seem to be those among us with literally no shame.