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The hypocritical oath – happy holidays anyway

Author Peter Schweizer decries the hypocrisies of some well-known people in his new book, “Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.” Schweizer reveals the contradictions between public stances and private lifestyles of notables like Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy and Barbara Streisand.Filmmaker Michael Moore has publicly lambasted what he refers to as “evil” corporations, claiming he doesn’t invest in the stock market because of moral principle. Schweizer, after viewing Moore’s IRS forms, disclosed in his book that Moore over the last five years has owned shares in a few of those “evil” corporations, such as Halliburton, Merck, Pfizer, Ford, General Electric and McDonald’s.According to Schweizer, Barbara Streisand spends $20,000 a year watering her lawn. She and her husband, James Brolin, live on a compound with five homes and a 12,000-square-foot air-conditioned barn. Yet, Streisand professes a staunch environmental stance, calling all Americans to cease their energy draining habits, like driving SUVs.But hypocrisy in America is much bigger that one movie star and one producer.Take the homeless population.While we proudly display our yellow “support the troops” ribbons, veterans today comprise 317,840 of the total number of homeless people in the U.S. Colorado streets are home to 3,457 vets, according to statistics from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera recently rescinded his support of a group trying to fund mental health benefits outside the military system for American soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome following their stints in Iraq. Some say Rivera’s reversal could have come from pressure from the military. Many soldiers have said they feel intimidated if they seek mental health assistance within the military.I often wonder how many of the Vietnam vets are now on the streets because we didn’t pay attention to their mental health needs post war.When a friend of mine returned from Vietnam in the early 1970s, he would never discuss his war-related experiences. In the early 1990s, in his early 40s, he had a fatal heart attack – there was no heart disease in his family history.And shame on the hypocrisies in health care for veterans.According to a 2004 Harvard Medical School study, almost 1.7 million American veterans were uninsured in 2003 – 681,808 of them were Vietnam-era veterans. An article authored by Physicians for National Health said many of those uninsured were barred from veteran health care plans when President Bush terminated the enrollment of the majority of middle-income veterans in 2003.I find it incredible that any veteran of war is without insurance.Hypocrisy as it relates to our social ills is disappointing, but hypocrisy in the name of a god is profane.When Dover, Penn., voters ousted eight school board members who had previously supported intelligent design in the classroom as an alternative to the scientific teachings of evolution, newspapers around the country published evangelist Pat Robertson’s retaliating comments.”I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for his help because he might not be there.”Hey, Robertson: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged … (Luke: 6:37)OK, so perhaps you think I’m a scrooge as I point out America’s hypocrisies in the midst of the holiday season. Tis the season to be jolly, I know.But there is hope for us. Three people who were featured on ABC’s 20/20 in November are a testament to hope and ending hypocrisy, one person at a time.Zell Kravinsky got rich in the real estate business, and gave away almost all of his fortune – $45 million – to charity.”When people tell me I’m bizarre because of what I’ve given away, or admirable because of what I’ve given away, all of those perceptions spring from the same misconception that a $100 [check] to the United Way is all that’s required from us,” Kravinsky said.Karen Pittelman created the Chahara Foundation to help low-income women and girls with her $3 million trust fund.She said it was difficult for her family to understand her decision. “It was hard for them because they put that money aside for my security,” she said. “They did it out of love. I just didn’t need that much.”For three decades Richard Semmler has donated more than half of his annual salary to charity.He is a college professor, and his goal is to give away one million dollars in his lifetime.”There are a few personal sacrifices,” Semmler said. “It means a fairly small apartment … a fairly old car. That’s a choice I have made … not to have a large house … not to have a pool … not to have a boat on the Potomac River.”We don’t have to give it all up to live our lives with integrity, void of hypocrisy.We have the power to do better, and it’s simple: practice what you preach!Peace!

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