If you are anything like me, you sometimes fail to live up to the values and principles you claim to espouse.
When I dispense advice to others that I don’t follow myself, I’m a hypocrite.
When I act in a way that is inconsistent with the ideals I claim to hold dear, I’m a hypocrite.
Every one has the right to believe whatever they wish and to freely express their point of view. But when you rail against gay marriage because you say the Bible is the word of God and that we must practice the “traditional values” it proscribes, and then conveniently ignore lots of other things the Bible clearly insists you must either do or avoid, you are a hypocrite.
If you are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and you call out Representative Bachmann for spinning a connection between Huma Abedin and the Muslim Brotherhood without presenting a shred of evidence, and then turn around barely a week later and suggest Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes in 10 years without providing any support whatsoever, you are a hypocrite.
Maybe you are one of those Hollywood types who commutes to an environmental event in a gas guzzling limo or private jet. Maybe you run a company that peppers your speeches and press releases with “customer-centric” this and “omni-channel” that, yet is still organized by–and pays your team based upon–channel or product centric metrics. Maybe you post your opposition to abusive child labor practices using your Iphone while wearing Nike athletic shoes.
As human beings we are perfectly imperfect. It’s not always easy to practice what we preach. Mistakes will be made regardless of how hard we try.
But here’s the rub. If what you want is for us to join your tribe, to follow your lead, to be part of your movement, then you must do your homework, you must demonstrate–as Scott Beck suggests–a commitment to reality at any cost.
We’ll give you a pass when you demonstrate your humanness. We’re all hypocrites at some point.
But when we start to question your motivations and your capacity to integrate your words into action, then we stop listening.
At that point you aren’t just a hypocrite. You become irrelevant.