The Whisper Campaign

Posted: June 20, 2010 in Ethics and Morality

In c. 2000 John McCain’s bid for President of the U. S. was destroyed by a whisper campaign made up of a terrible lie. We were cursed for the next 8 years with a President whose decision led to countless deaths and injuries from an ill-conceived adventure.

That this whisper campaign was based on a lie gives it an evil element that is unquestioned. But what happens if a whisper campaign is based on a true event? If the person who is the subject of the campaign has committed a social error he is exposed but not made aware of it. Now, he feels remorse but he can’t do anything about it. He can’t apologize because he can’t really be certain his faux pas is public knowledge. He falls into a morass if doubt and self-loathing without hope for redemption.

He might consider an apology to the small group he is a member of. The apology might take the form of a generality without mentioning the specifics. He may or may not be given the benefit of his apology being accepted.

So what leads him to believe he is the subject of this whisper campaign? Clues abound. His not receiving a reply from any messages he sends on substantive matters is one. He starts to imagine he is being shunned by his associates.

Are all images conjured up by imagination false? The saying “Even the paranoid have enemies” is relevant here.

But what of the saying, “It’s not about me?” Even if the sinner is right about him being the subject of this whisper campaign and decides not to issue the apology, what is an alternative course of action? Should he just suffer in silence and do his best to ride out the storm? Would the memory of the sin fade with time?

One of the greatest facets of adopting the “It’s not about me” stance is having the knowledge that whoever spreads the story that is destroying his reputation will ultimately be recognized for the person he is: so insecure in his being that he jumps on any fault that a quality person has, and magnifies it so the subject appears to be a snake-in-the-grass.

Ken Starr did this very thing to Bill Clinton. Clinton’s apologies only influenced certain religious leaders and other people of good will.

Maybe the subject will prevail in his quest to weather storms that might sink lesser spirits.

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