I say that having started two different posts in the past five minutes, thinking that both topics are germane, have gotten me upset about a political or personal issue, and are worthy of further exploration.
Each post was a few sentences underway and then I got a chill: what if this post accidentally reveals something that is confidential? who would be hurt? does it pass the litmus test: is it kind, is it true, is it necessary?
The kind and true parts were there. I could make the post both kind and true. But there is no way I could overlook the "necessary" part. Is it ever necessary to talk about situations of adultery or sexual orientation without the permission of those involved? Nope, not ever.
Confidentiality is one of those tempting-to-set-aside-in-favor-of-drama ethical issues. As both a minister and school counselor, I've known this for a long time. It has also helped me understand that I love drama and the temptation to tell a dramatic story, with identities well-concealed, is something I have to watch out for.
Sometimes it can be done carefully. But the two issues I was tempted to write about began to raise questions in my mind about privacy concerns. So you're not going to get a dramatic story about DADT (don't ask; don't tell) or about my flummoxed reaction upon seeing this morning's headlines about Gov. Sanford. Not that I don't have big opinions about both of them, but my personal connection to each issue, the dramatic story I'd love to tell, makes it too close to the bone for some folks.
Maybe what I can tell you is how ambivalent I feel when I see journalists picking away at the flaws in the work or the life of public figures. While I know that this is one of the hazards of being in public life, I am also appalled that nothing in those lives can be private, that it is all open to scrutiny and speculation.
We as a country seem to feed on the flaws of others; witness Fox News's approach to dissecting every word and gesture of those they don't like. But it's interesting to me to witness, as well, the hypocrisy of those who point the fingers. I need to remind myself that when I point fingers, I too run the risk of hypocrisy. For who among us can cast the first stone? Not me.