We live in a world of very high standards – or so it sounds based on everyone’s hateful commentaries on politicians, journalists, celebrities, athletes, moms, dads, and more. In fact, it seems that no one is safe. When presented with the smallest grain of an opening, countless voices pry open the wound to dump heaps of salt in via an onslaught of posts, comments, and tweets. Why do we do this? Because many people demand perfection in an imperfect world; because it is easier to make one’s self feel better by pointing out the flaws of others; because, unless faced with a national tragedy or a common enemy, we’ve forgotten how to build people up and fall back on the ease of knocking people down; because we are often incapable of the alternative anymore – forgiveness.
I’d like to cite a recent example: Brian Williams. Currently, he is being lambasted in the news for misreporting events that happened in 2003. 12 years ago. I repeat TWELVE. YEARS. AGO. Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have trouble remembering last year, never mind over a decade ago. And yes, I’ve been guilty of recalling events incorrectly and creating unintentional revisionist histories. Because, as I’ve written in other posts, I am unabashedly human and quite proud of that fact. Nope, I’m not a machine, computer, recorder, or even a well-equipped 32 GB iPad. While even these “perfect” reflections of technology get viruses and crash unexpectedly, my fallible brain plugs along during moments of brilliance juxtaposed against moments of complete and utter stupidity. Ups and downs. Highs and lows. Ebbs and flows.
The current headline on CNN reads, “Can Williams remain at NBC?” Why not? Did he murder someone? Does he have incurable cancer? What egregious act or terminal illness does he have that I missed? When did one hundred good deeds get wiped clean by a one lapse in memory? When did one lapse in memory become an insurmountable blight? And when, oh when, did it become SO easy to make a mountain out of a molehill in the media? It happened on the same day that our collective voice lost a crucial, basic, human trait: The ability to forgive, understand, sympathize, and give our fellow man the benefit of the doubt. The day that a heartfelt apology means nothing anymore.
I don’t personally know Brian Williams or any of the other people that have been selected by society to be roasted on shaky grounds. Those who may have done so much, yet brought down by so little. So, to Brian Williams I say, “Have faith in those that still know how to forgive. Believe in all the good you have done and not all of the people trying to make you undone. Know that perfection is a myth perpetuated by those who have lost the ability to forgive. Most importantly, embrace the fact that you are beautifully and perfectly human.”