Jummah Reflection: Progress Means Looking Forward, Not Digging Up Dirt From The Past
Jummah Mubarak, Shabbat Shalom & TGIF
Every once in a while I go through these periods where my psyche pulls up all kinds of random incidents and memories from my entire 42 years and presents them to me at odd times. I’ll be driving home from work and something that happened in the 2nd grade will bubble up for my consideration.This has been happening a lot lately…probably because I’ve had some big changes in my life recently, and the seasons are (finally) noticeably changing, too.
Some of those memories are sweet. Some poignant. Some painful. And some truly embarrassing. I have done a lot of stupid shit in my life, folks. Stuff that, if it were dragged into the public eye, could be used to build a case about why I am not qualified to do the work I do now.
I worry about this, and not for myself. I’m ok owing my shit and I’m right with God. Others’ opinions about my mistakes or follies of the past don’t affect my self-esteem or dictate my current course of action.
But it would be an absolute shame if the good work I do were derailed because someone decided to bring up things I’ve said and done even 5 or 10 years ago. It would be tragic, actually. To have all my struggles and progress erased because someone decided to put me in a box that I’ve worked my ass off to get outside of.
The people who run for political office don’t have to be perfect and they don’t have to have been saints their whole lives. I don’t want good people deterred from taking ANY leadership positions because of the inevitable fallout that will occur when the shit from their past comes to light.
This is not an excuse, nor a justification for the past or present actions of anyone currently running for office. But it’s been on my mind and bothers me a lot.
One of the core beliefs I hold as a person is that each of us is in a state of perpetual evolution, and we hold the ability to actively impact that evolution through the millions of ongoing choices we make every single day. I am not the person I was yesterday. And certainly not the person I was when I was 32, or 22.
When it comes to electing representatives, do we want to elect people who have never made any mistakes or done anything wrong in the past? Because those people don’t represent me.
YES, character matters and it’s important to be able to prove that we’ve learned from our mistakes and gained wisdom through them. But I hope, sincerely, that we all agree that our priority in choosing representatives for ourselves–whether it’s the highest office in the land, or our local school board members–should be based on the merit of their ideas, policies and the things they can do for us NOW…and in the future.