A man in Florida was recently arrested and charged with “Stolen Valor.” I’ll admit, I had to look that one up.. Seems this fellow was impersonating a military officer in order to receive money and gifts. He had assumed the role of a better, more honorable (military) version of himself to garner sympathy, admiration and ultimately financial gain-hence the charge of Stolen valor; a federal crime.
This case reminded me of that teenager (also in Florida) who was masquerading as a physician. Not sure that was about money though, I think the kid just wanted to “play doctor.”😳
Recently, I’ve seen an alarming collection of videos featuring people assuming other roles as well; the roles of provocateurs…not for money, but to incite others, attack their beliefs or just garner fifteen minutes of fame on behalf of their cause de jour. Ugly, personal, verbal confrontations online, scary physical altercations, property destruction and heated exchanges have occurred on college campuses, on airplanes and in the street. No discussion or demonstration seems to escape an “F-WORD” carpet bombing. This is the opposite of someone posing as someone better- this is people willingly parading around as a darker, nastier shadows of who they are in “real life.”
And while I am sure that most Americans can’t imagine themselves impersonating a doctor or military officer, it seems that more and more of us are hitting the streets, podiums, classrooms and twitter with an anger fueled willingness to embrace new roles as belligerent enforcers of moral purity and/or sharp-tongued, antagonists seeking to provoke chaos and confrontation.
Maybe we all need to take a deep breath and ask ourselves..
Is it possible to advance a noble cause with disgraceful behavior and acts of dishonor? And what would we call the opposite of stolen valor..borrowed bullishness?