Awareness Columns Curacao - So what is corruption. For the last week I have been thinking about this question since I was asked to write a blog about it and, knowing that I’m not a corruption expert, I’ll just share my personal definition of corruption without looking it up in the dictionary.
Corruption, to me, is every- and anything that is not truthful. Any situation, action or inaction where someone profits by not being honest.
By my own definition we are all corrupt. Myself included. I’d have three fingers pointing back at myself if I dared to point one at someone else, claiming they’re corrupt. I download free music online and stream movies that are still playing in the theaters. Sometimes I drive into one-way streets from the wrong side. I have kept too much change for myself instead of giving it back to the cashier. I “borrowed” my mom’s car once to go out (and hit the fence trying to back it out of the yard. She never found out. Until now probably. Sorry mom!). And sometimes when I’m late I sliiiiiide through a red light, but this is only because I don’t have my own helicopter yet.
There’s also corruption on a bigger scale. There are people who suddenly become the proud owners of a second car, a new yacht or a nice house on the waterfront. They got them as ‘gifts’, just for advising their clients that certain brands are better than others, when they should be neutral. Or what about giving your cousin the deal when you know he uses substandard materials. That’s corruption times two. Corruption².
And there’s corruption on a huge scale, where a whole country or the entire world is duped because of some people’s interests. Certain treatment for illnesses that are used to “cure” a patient. Or letting everyone believe that certain foods are healthy when there’s evidence they’re not. Decimating the trees in the Amazon for mining operations. Power and profit are more important than everyone’s wellbeing, it seems.
Some corruption seems worse than others, especially if more people suffer as a result. But in reality it’s all relative. As ‘the perpetrator’ we all tell ourselves that it’s actually not so bad. In the moment of truth we all convince ourselves that worse things have happened. That we have a right to be happy and that we work hard for our piece of the pie. When the ones who will be cheated out of their piece are anonymous faces we have never seen and will never speak to, the decision becomes easy.
And then we all do what we do. We cheat.
I won’t compare one form of corruption to another, but what I want you to be aware of is that we all go through the same process. We all get to a point in certain situations where we have to choose between honesty and dishonesty. And in some cases we all… I repeat: we ALL, choose dishonesty. We all choose to benefit off of others’ detriment. We all decide to use our god given brain cells to cheat.
Why? Because we don’t want to own up to the thought that we’re not enough. Not rich enough. Not good enough. Not there fast enough. Not smart enough. Not in control enough. And we’re even more afraid that others will find out.
I want to propose an alternative. Because living on a small rock in a mighty big ocean, we should all realize that we need to live with each other. Not just co-exist, but LIVE. We really can’t afford to be nasty, disrespectful or dishonest to our fellow islanders unless we are willing to let our standards slide and live on a viciously competitive small island in a few years’ time.
An island where it’s “everyone for themselves”. We do have another option. This is it: I am ok with not being enough and I am ok with you too not being enough. I’m ok with all of us being a little less awesome, a little less in control, a little less flawless than we really are. I’m ok with slowing down. I’m ok with not knowing some things. I’m ok with you not being able to do some things. I’m ok with them being wealthier than I am. I’m ok. Period. I’m owning my ok-ness and I hope you do too.
So……….. next time, while I sit patiently in the traffic jam home and you want to insert your car from the parallel road I expect to see you holding up an EXPLOSIVE DIARRHEA sign. That would be very ok.