We have conquered that which is without -- now we must conquer that which is within.
Dedicated in admonishment of the Obama and past administrations' oversight of its Veterans Affairs Disability Claims Office, which unfairly delayed injured veterans' disability compensation claims; its Internal Revenue Service Determinations Unit, which unfairly investigated the tax exempt status of conservative political non-profits; and its Justice Department, which unfairly investigated the phone records of the Associated Press.
The Dishonorable, The Honorable
Poverty and integrity was the cursed gift of their parents' fallible guidance and infallible love.
Yet the brothers' gift was soon broken.
A clumsy merchant on a high balcony spilled a pot of silver coins over their very heads.
One brother chased down most of the coins, battling off as many grabbing thieves as he could, and, hailing the frantic merchant from below, returned to him all that he'd collected.
The merchant gave him in return his effusive thanks, but no more.
Yet this brother's integrity remained of one piece that day.
What stood unbroken in him reflected the light of others who came his way, and so did his integrity spread forth among men.
Yet the other brother, on that fateful day, also saw the silver coins fall like rain from the balcony, and also dove to collect them, but returned not a single one.
Instead, with a muffled gasp of pain, he turned from the gathering crowd, from the merchant and from his own brother -- and slipped the pile of silver coins he had scooped up into his coat pocket. Then, with the quickest of the thieves, the second brother stole away, never glancing back into his brother's or the merchant's eyes.
This brother's integrity fractured in two that day.
Later, lying about the source of his new horses and saddles, then of his new young bull, then of his stocks of cured meats and fine wines, his integrity fractured into a thousand shards.
He found himself not one person whole, but become hundreds of persons -- each mirroring a false expectation, a fabricated past, a risen-again excuse, to each new traveler who'd heard and wondered about the source of his sudden wealth.
So did the dishonest brother lose, with his integrity, his soul -- as its fragmented shards were ground to dust beneath the feet of all other men.
Thus, integrity is the soul's mirror of reality -- do not break it.
May 18, 2008, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2013 (Chapter 1, "Reality's Acceptance"), by Frank H. Burton.