I have my share to tell, having spent my prodigal youth hitchhiking cross country and circling the globe, living abroad for a decade, and teaching high school for over 20 years.
But it still happens that friends and neighbors occasionally respond to my recollections by asking: “Did that really happen?”
Are my tales so truly unbelievable? After all, I never claim to have flown to the sun with Icarus, to have crossed the Rubicon with Julius Caesar, or to have followed Teddy Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill.
No, I’ve merely sought to pluck insights from slightly quirky encounters and offer a bit wisdom from my observations on the human condition.
“I loved your article,” someone will say. And then, almost predictably: “Did that really happen?”
I even get it from my mother.
The new normal?
To be honest, it comes as no surprise. After all, honesty has seen its market value tumble over the years with countless reports of plagiarism, factual carelessness, and blatant fabrication.
But as troubling as such prevarication may be from the media, it’s far more disheartening when it becomes the norm among our political leaders.
The sad truth is that we expect our politicians to lie. But the brazenness with which they conjure up easily verifiable falsehoods grows ever more astonishing.
Once integrity disappears, the only motive not to lie is fear of not getting away with it — and get away with politicians have, in a society that has grown indifferent to lying.
But there is something we can do. Here are 9 ways we can prevent the erosion of our own integrity: