10 Steps to Lose Credibility
(or “How to be a dishonorable and unrepentant b@stard and get away with it”)
– by David Matthews 2
Do you know what stopped the McCarthy hearings in the 1950’s? Guilt and disgust.
Senator Joe McCarthy was an unrepentant bully. A thug who used the power of his office to carry out an agenda of fear-mongering for his own personal gain. And the trick to getting away with it was that he wasn’t alone in doing it. There were others who latched on to his self-righteous, self-appointed witch-hunt. People who sided with Joe the Thug because it was something they wanted to do as well. But they made sure that it was seen as HIS crusade. That way, should it blow up in their faces, he would be seen as the fall guy for it.
And of course, it DID blow up. Joe the Thug eventually overstepped his bounds. He started crossing the people that he should have never crossed, and the rest of the grifters and shysters quickly moved to shut it down before the backlash destroyed them all. True to their playbooks, only McCarthy took the blame, and he would later drink himself to death as a miserable and unrepentant FAILURE.
The memorable line that was uttered that finally did McCarthy in was “Have you left no sense of decency?”
Up until that point, Joe the Thug’s word was considered unchallengeable. He was a United States Senator, after all. He had a duty, an oath, and a responsibility to uphold. But as soon as he crossed that line, he lost his credibility, and his cause after that meant nothing.
Credibility. That used to actually mean something. It used to have worth. It used to have value. When the politician that crusaded on the “family values” platform was caught with the prostitute, that politician would leave and never be heard from again. The banker caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar would not show up on TV as a “financial expert”. The minister’s wife caught with the gardener would not then be asked to address the virtues of marital fidelity.
Well, presuming that credibility still mattered in this world, what would it NORMALLY take to destroy it? What would it NORMALLY take to drive someone to that point where one would have to ask them “Have you at long last, sir, no sense of decency?”
Let’s get brutally honest here… the destruction of one’s credibility is something that happens in increments. Nobody goes out and INTENTIONALLY drives themselves into irrelevancy. Joe the Thug certainly didn’t decide all of a sudden to throw away his credibility in one-felled swoop. This was a series of abuses that finally culminated to that last offense, that last bit of indignity and dishonor that finally caused people to say “enough”.
But what are the signs? How does an otherwise respected person lose it?
There are 10 steps to losing your credibility. They don’t have to all happen, or happen in this particular order, but when you go out there today to see the people that have followed the path of Joe the Thug, you’ll see some if not all of these traits among them.
1. Be a bigot on day one. Having bigoted thoughts is human nature, but actually coming out and BEING a prejudicial bigot from the moment you heard about that person, well, that really disqualifies you from being a judge of character. We’re talking more than just being a skeptic. We’re talking openly declaring anything a person does to be a failure even before they do it. Like how all the children in the “Peanuts” cartoons always say “WE’RE DOOMED” anytime Charlie Brown is involved.
2. Start over-exaggerating. Remember when your car ran out of gas and you had to walk ten miles to reach the nearest gas station? Well, maybe it was actually just fifty feet along an empty highway, but that’s not how you describe it. It’s ten grueling miles through gang-infested territory, ducking gunfights and exploding buildings, and fighting off the advances of desperate drug-crazed hookers with razor blades. And it gets even more fanciful every time you recall it! Baron Munchausen has NOTHING compared to you! And if you think that’s incredible, then just wait until you hear all of the things that will happen once a certain person you despise gets any kind of power. Oh you’ll just wish that the world came to an end!
3. Declare yourself an expert. You see… all those people out there with those fancy degrees and those fancy titles mean absolutely NOTHING compared to you. Why? Because you’re an expert in your own right! You know more than all of those fancy egg-heads combined!
4. Get your history wrong. Remember when the Germans invaded Pearl Harbor? Yeah, that’s why we got involved in World War II back in 1936! And… and remember how Hitler killed himself because we were about to nuke Berlin? That’s how the war ended, don’t you know! We nuked Berlin and we nuked Tokyo! Why are people giving you weird looks? You know your history! You know your history like you know the back of your hand! Wait, is that a mole?
5. NEVER admit to being wrong about ANYTHING! No, you NEVER said that the Germans invaded Pearl Harbor! You NEVER said that! You don’t care if they have footage of you saying it; it doesn’t matter, because YOU NEVER SAID IT! It’s all a fake. It’s all fabricated to make you look bad!
6. Declare yourself a victim! This next step is VERY important, because you have to establish yourself as a victim early in order to prevent people from criticizing you. This is the mistake that Joe the Thug made; because he was too busy powering through his persecutions to ever realize that there would be a backlash mounted against him. By the time he crossed the line, and the system moved to shut his crusade down, he wasn’t in a position to declare himself a victim to prevent criticism. That’s why the moment someone starts criticizing you, you have to immediately declare yourself to be a victim of a witch-hunt! You have to claim that your rights are being taken away from you. You can’t speak your mind anymore! You’re being PERSECUTED for what you believe in and for speaking out on what you believe in! You’re a VICTIM! You’re a victim of the grand conspiracy that is being crafted to SILENCE people like you!
7. Play the martyr. Again, very important step in order to keep on doing the things that you do. Yes, you’re a victim, but you’re willing to BE the victim. You’re willing to continue to be a victim and to take the lumps of a victim in order to better serve humanity. And who better to do that than you, right? After all, you’re an expert!
8. See things others don’t. Hear things that others don’t. And be quick to find hidden meanings and messages. Remember the people who used to play records backward to hear “hidden messages” in them? Why should they be the only ones to have all the fun? After all, aren’t you an expert? Go through every photograph, every video clip, every piece of art, and look for “hidden symbols” in them. Parse through books and articles to look for “codewords”. You know they’re there! They’re just waiting for you to spot them and tell others about them! And if others don’t believe you, then they’re just part of the grand conspiracy trying to shut you up!
9. Openly pray for the ruination and/or death of your enemies! If you’re truly a victim of a grand conspiracy, then it is only fair that you should openly voice your support for their demise. Oh you don’t have any plans on being the INSTRUMENT of their demise, but you will certainly ENCOURAGE it. You WANT it to happen. You will openly HOPE it will happen, and that it happens soon. And when it doesn’t happen soon you’ll say that it NEEDS to happen and you think that it NEEDS to happen soon! SOMEONE needs to do it. It won’t be you, of course, but SOMEONE needs to do it for you and all the others like you who are the “helpless victims” of the grand conspiracy. Remember, of course, that when it DOES happen to go back to the other steps to make sure that YOU are not held responsible for it. After all, you didn’t pull the trigger or start the blaze; you just said that SOMEONE needed to.
10. BASK in the glory and greatness that is YOU! You deserve a little recognition at this point, don’t you? After all, you’re willing to become a victim to point out the grand conspiracies that are out there to destroy you. And you DESERVE some of that glory and greatness, because you’re an expert! And you’re brave… because you’re willing to say what other people are normally just thinking to themselves! And when your enemies do fall, they deserved to fall… because they didn’t realize that they were going up against YOU.
Now you’ll notice that these 10 steps bear a resemblance to certain psychological disorders. No doubt in earlier years you would have reason to be concerned, because they could have destroyed your credibility… not to mention throw you in a padded room with a wrap-around jacket. But thankfully, you and your friends have done away with that little annoying thing called credibility. Now you can be the kind of person that you’ve always DESERVED to be.
And for those already in that kind of position, they can rest easy knowing that unlike their predecessors, they won’t be knocked off their pedestals by their own failings.