Let’s Be Real Here

I’m an American student.  America’s Youth loves working hard, but let’s be real here- we only work hard the night before it’s due.  And I know that offends my generation, as we don’t like to admit our problems.  Society today, let’s be real here, isn’t exactly being “real” to itself.  I think it’s time to address hypocrisy one pretense at a time.

For our first example of hypocrisy, let’s take a look at me.  I’m a hypocrite condemning hypocrisy.  For example, I’m a big football fan, so I’ve spent many Sunday afternoons yelling at the TV, telling the Cowboys how they should play.  But, between me and you, my fear of being run over by monstrous 8th grade freight trains kind of outweighed my desire to be a good athlete.  I never hesitate to tell people how important education is and how dangerous ignorance is to society.  But let’s be real here, I’m barely passing math.  Luckily, I’m not the only hypocrite in the world.  There’s hypocrisy in every aspect of life, especially religion and politics.  It takes one to know one, and, as a hypocrite, I think it’s time to recognize double standards.

Religion.  Oh God.  A 2009 Harris Poll found that 82% of Americans believe in a God, which makes the U.S. one of the most religious developed nations in the world.  According to a Pew Research survey on religious knowledge, atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons, scored higher than Christians.  I think we can agree that it might be good to actually know what you believe in.  This lack of fundamental religious knowledge has made many Americans easy prey for those promoting Islamophobia.  The actions of 19 terrorists on 9/11 have been used to denounce all 1.5 billion Muslims.  But if a Christian pastor in Florida wants to burn Qurans or if Christians attack or deface abortion centers, all 2.2 billion Christians aren’t condemned for those few radicals.  As it says in Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  Religious people are also the main voices against homosexuality.  A recent Gallup Poll stated that seventy percent of Americans who consider religion “very important” oppose same-sex marriage.  Of the Americans who don’t consider religion important, twenty-seven percent oppose same-sex marriage.  So, I guess, it’s ‘love thy neighbor as thyself- unless they’re gay.’  I’ve also heard that homosexual marriage would ruin the ‘sanctity of marriage’.  According to a Washington Post article published in March 2010, forty percent of marriages end in divorce.  With almost half of marriages ending in divorce just how sacred is this ‘sanctity of marriage’?  So if we think homosexual marriage ruins the sanctity, should we outlaw divorce as well?  Now, don’t think atheists are perfect either.  Christopher Hitchens wrote a book in 2007 titled God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.  He believes that religion is the world’s greatest source of evil, and he may very well be correct.  Religion has played a factor in the Holocaust and 9/11.  Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. Nineteen radical Muslims killed approximately three thousand people on 9/11.  But let’s be real here, religion is also the world’s greatest source of good.  The Salvation Army, the famous church and charity, is a religious organization.  Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu who peacefully gained India’s independence, Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist who peacefully won equality for African-Americans, and Mother Theresa, a Catholic who won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian works, were all very religious people.  So, clearly, religion is a very strong influence for both good and evil.

But if we really want to see double standards at their finest, there’s only one place to look- Washington DC.  Our politicians are the most eloquent, most motivational, most charismatic, hypocrites we have.  And politicians love to use religion.  When denying homosexual rights or preaching against abortion, it’s the will of God.  When invading Iraq, who never attacked us, that whole “thou shalt not kill” thing goes down the drain.  There’s no shortage of irony in politics.  In the name of democracy and peace, let’s go bomb and kill?  In the name of tolerance, let’s go protest someone building a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero?  In the name of liberty and fairness, we’re cracking down on illegal immigration?  Now, let’s be real here, when America celebrates Columbus Day, what are we celebrating?  So a guy hops in a boat, sails to America, wipes out total populations and takes their land, isn’t that illegal immigration?  Now, I could be wrong, but, I’m pretty sure our Founding Fathers were not Native Americans.  Speaking of our Founding Fathers, they started this trend of Freedom, Liberty, and Hypocrisy.  Complaining about the tyranny of an evil master and denouncing that taxation without representation was putting shackles and chains on us, the Founding Fathers then went home back to their plantations and made their livings off the labor of their slaves.  This hypocrisy continues today.  The Republicans promote small government and less spending, except for those billions of dollars that go to invading other countries.  The Democrats promote equality and peace, yet they’re still spending those billions of dollars that go to invading other countries.  Let’s be real here, that’s a little ridiculous.

So as we pray, as we vote, or as we simply watch the Cowboys, we must fight against hypocrisy.  Nobody’s perfect, and I’m less perfect than most.  And if it’s true that you shouldn’t throw stones if you live in a glass house, well, my glass house is more than shattered.  But it only took one stone for David to kill Goliath.  We’ll need every stone, every rock, every pebble, to destroy the Goliath of Hypocrisy.  In the words of MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, “In order to rise to the absolute minimal moral level we have to agree, in fact insist, that if some act is right for us then it’s right for others, and if it’s wrong when others do it then it’s wrong when we do it.”  It’s time to practice what we preach.  It’s time to lead by example.  We must be real here, it’s time to rid our country of double standards.