Opinion: Unequivocally equivocating


Writers like words. A clever turn of phrase is a thing of beauty. It can make us see the world in a new way. It can make us smile. It can deliver the poignant so that it penetrates our defenses and helps us rise to a greater level of understanding. We greatly admire the masters of our language – the great communicators.

But as Stan Lee, father of DC Comics’ iconic hero Spiderman, wrote in “Amazing Fantasy” in 1962, “with great power there must also come great responsibility.”

Those gifted with the authority to sway others with their words must be ever vigilant to use the power only for good. In a time where political and other leaders run fast and loose with the truth, they justify all manner of prevarication obsessed with some narcissistic knowledge that, because they know best, the ends justify the means. But, can we ever really rationalize lying to get what we want? It is not a new phenomenon, to be sure. And it is not restricted to one political affiliation, religious order or division of race. There are those who might allege that we in current times are more inclined to deceit. They point to infidelity, situational ethics and a general reordering of traditional measures of virtue. Perhaps. Yet, I cling to the idea that we all have the capacity given us by free will. We each can choose to use our abilities to be clear, honest and direct in our interactions with others. Or, we can choose not.

A friend reminded me recently of the parable of a young George Washington being asked by his father if he’d cut down the cherry tree.

Today, his response would likely be “I cannot put that forward in a way that unequivocally ends up not being accurate.”