I’m not the judge and jury

I’m not the judge and jury

Having just read an article predicting that Bill Clinton’s licentious behavior would be the downfall of Hilary’s 2016 presidential dreams, I find myself wondering why.

I’ve felt this way before. I was overseas when Bill was impeached for the events surrounding his Monica Lewinsky dalliance. I distinctly remember the disdain with which local and international media regarded the farce, as the affront to our American/Christian sensibilities played out across the globe. At the time I thought, “Isn’t this Hilary’s problem?” Moreover, if this kept the Commander in Chief of the free world happy and relaxed, then it was fine with me.

Bill Clinton was slaughtered in the papers for thinking he could live outside the rules. Hilary was simultaneously lambasted and lauded for standing by her man. She was judged differently depending on which set of rules the judges lived by – marriage is forever vs. standing up for herself, by divorcing or otherwise shaming him.

Color me exhausted.

Why are we so hung up on the rules? Who follows them all the time, anyway? Why are some rules accepted as the rules? (I mean, if it’s not illegal, why do we allow other people’s opinions to govern our behaviors?) Would we follow these rules if we weren’t afraid of the consequences of getting caught breaking them?

Let’s ask Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Francois Mitterand, and Francois Hollande. They are all compelling. All charming. Clearly, all comfortable with the abuse (or use) of that power vis-a-vis women. For me, though, this demands a question, “Is there something about people who are driven to success at the highest levels that correlates to rule breaking?”

We value drive. We push to be better and stronger. We relentlessly question if we are having the most impact we can in whatever arena in which we exercise our talents. And why? It is demanded of us by voters, constituents, customers, bosses… The list goes on. Is it any wonder that it leaks into every corner of our lives?

Can you live in the greater world and seek to achieve great things without ending up at the crossroads of “This is everything” and “Is this all there is?”

I find myself in middle age with more questions than ever. Except for one. I know that I am not judge and jury. That I am not the arbiter of what is right and what is wrong. It is not for me to completely restrict nor loosen how or why people do as they do. There is room in my head to allow for people to make choices. I accept that not everything is my business and that I don’t always have the need or right to know. I respect that there are facets of everyone’s life and background that create who they are, how they act, and how they react.

I will measure performance based upon expectations and outcomes. I will make my decisions based on that compass and not by focusing on unrelated matters.

I’m enjoying this middle-aged temperament. It has made me a better observer and listener. A more measured former of opinion.

As a person with influence in the circles within which I travel, it makes me more valuable, more unbiased, more capable of transcendental leadership. Ironically, it does make me less tolerant of one thing. Narrow-mindedness.

Perhaps I am the arbiter of that. I can live with it. As for Bill, I still think he’s Hilary’s problem. I hope the political pundits will leave him out of it.