The recent political scandal in Illinois has made me question what I think it means to be a “good person.” Gov. Blago has shown little remorse for his actions, even calling himself innocent in spite of evidence that clearly paints him otherwise.
My Question – Is being a good person the absence of negative thoughts or the will power to stop yourself from acting on negative thoughts? If it is the latter, I am relieved. If it is the former, I’m afraid for humanity.
I am not nearly as good as people give me credit for. I’ve said things and done things in my life that I’m not proud of, some that haunt me and probably always will. From time to time, I have not-so-saintly-thoughts and share them with Mark, only to have him bring me back down to earth and realize that what I was thinking was absurd. Thank God for that. Most of the time though, I talk myself out of negative actions before the thoughts ever escape my lips. I’m not talking about hurting anyone here – I’m talking about things like knowing but not telling the waitress she gave us back too much change at dinner.
Does that mean I am a good person for going to him before acting or that I am a bad person for thinking something negative in the first place? What does this mean for someone with a negative support system? Or no support system? Gov. Blago’s wife seemed to be just as corrupt as he was, accepting bribes in the form of business for her real estate firm.
Maybe there is a gray area between good and bad. If you have done something negative in the past, can you ever be a truly “good” person if the things you have done are still causing harm to those people? (Surely Illinois politics will suffer for generations from the recent wave of corruption.) If not, is it acceptable to get comfortable in this gray area or should we always be striving for what is good if our attempts will be fruitless?
Maybe being good is more about being truly sorry for doing negative things and not doing them more often than doing them. I hope Gov. Blago can turn over a new leaf and ask the people of Illinois for forgiveness. Even if it is from prison.