There is an old saying that still rings true, especially given the political turmoil around the National Party of New Zealand, and one of its former members, Jami-Lee Ross.
The saying, from some bright spark many millennia ago, gives what I guess you could call “self-help advice” and it goes something like this, “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly”.
Those wise words have stood the test of time and while some may take them to be religious words, I see them very much as practical, pragmatic, sensible suggestions for navigating life’s often treacherous pathway.
Like most of us I’m sure, I have watched the unfolding of this public and very nasty political scrap (Jami-Gate) with jaw-dropping incredulity and found it hard to disagree with a friend who called one of the participants a “nob-head”.
But while “nob-head” might have its charms as a word, it doesn’t give any real insight or help when trying to make sense of the whole sorry saga and so I think there are three parties who would do well to revisit the wisdom of those aforementioned wise words.
National need to have a very good look at themselves.
Have they become proud and arrogant? I suspect so.
All power corrupts is a well-known maxim and while I’m not going to claim that the Nat’s are corrupted by the search for power, let’s not forget that Jami-Lee has been in their inner circle for quite a number of years and is, to some degree at least, a product of the National machine.
It’s a bit rich to claim only now that his moral compass is skewed.
I voted for National at the last election because their values lined up with how I believe the world should work. At the moment I am very unimpressed and will be looking to see if they can swallow their pride, look in the mirror and learn to walk humbly. I guess time will tell.
Secondly, Jami-Lee would do well to ask himself if he is (and has) acting justly, not just towards his former party but also the people of New Zealand. Recording the phone call of a friend without their knowledge and then playing that recording to the world is a despicable act and the overwhelming percentage of New Zealanders, even the people who stand to gain from his action, despise what he did.
Not to speak of the bullying, manipulation and aggressive sexual behaviour towards women, and the complete disregard for his wife and kids which is the lowest form of behaviour.
He is making few friends and may find out soon that karma is not always just an abstract theory.
But of course, no one is beyond redemption and Jami-Lee is no exception. Tomorrow is a new day, a chance to admit faults, walk humbly and act justly. I really hope Jami-Lee takes the chance to do this; for his own sake!
Lastly to us the onlookers. I can’t help but think that “There but for the grace of God, go you and me”. It is easy to look at the flaws in others and feel like we are “all that and a bag of chips”. We can criticise both National’s and Jami-Lee's blind spots but the most obvious thing about blind spots is that you can see them in others but never in yourself.
Because the person I know most in need of ensuring that he is doing justly, walking humbly and loving mercy is not the National party members or Jami-Lee Ross.
It is me! And it is very probably you as well!
To love mercy is no less important than the other two values and Jami-Lee is no less deserving of mercy than I.
When I had destroyed my life through stupidity and pride, it was kind wise people who helped pick me up and I will be forever grateful.
Maybe Jami-Lee is more in need of mercy than I ever was, I genuinely suspect he is unwell and while that doesn’t excuse his behaviour, it does give room to offer help and look with some empathy..
If Jami-lee ever does need help he can call me, if I can genuinely help him I will and it will be just one very flawed and broken individual talking to another.
Note. I have very mixed feelings around much of what i have written because behind the headlines there are real people. I mostly hope and pray his wife and kids are being cared for and looked after by people who love them, that if he needs help he will get it and that he will be able to do the right thing by his family.