Sunday, December 18, 2005

Empty promises

It seems to me that there is no honor in truth and keeping promises these days. Lying is not only accepted; it has become our national pastime. When was the last time a politician was behind his words, promises and accusations? From invented WMDs to manufactured Al-Qaida-Iraq links everything had been forgiven and forgotten. It is not long ago when rebuilding New Orleans was supposedly made a priority in our country: is there anything concrete happening down there or have the people and the city just been erased from our memories?

In the same league are rich people who have made pledges to non-profits, whether for humanitarian aid or to keep an arts organization running, and then conveniently choose to ignore them, for reasons only clear to themselves. If someone's finances have taken a turn for the worse, such actions would be understandable, but not in a case where the would-be-donor is swimming in wealth. Are such pledges worth no more than marriage vows that few couples seem to take seriously any longer?

There have been times and places where a verbal agreement has been worth as much as a written contract. An example would be the diamond merchants in Manhattan. Unfortunately, our society is moving away from that tradition with an increasing speed. Even in families and close relationships promises are expected taken with a few grains of salt. Wouldn't it be nice if we all stuck to we had agreed on? Whom can we trust any more?

In a previous post I mentioned the Audubon Quartet. Quite a few people have since pointed out that in their opinion the faulty party isn't necessarily the one victorious in the courts. This may well be the case, but whatever the reasons behind this costly and ghastly breakup, it should have been taken care of in a civilized manner. Even a divorce can be almost painless and done without the expense of lawyers (oh, would they hate that!); so why couldn't the same be true with an unhappy chamber music group? This ought to be possible similarly with any breakup, personal or job related. It is sad that more often than not you have a party (or two) who just want to destroy each others lives, and fatten the bank accounts of their attorneys. There is so much evil amongst us, and an equal amount of parasitic people who love to benefit from the hate and destruction.

Happy holidays.