Charita Goshay: Hey hypocrites: What color is your elephant?

Charita Goshay

In “The Godfather: Part II,” Michael Corleone is confronted by a corrupt Nevada senator who’s disgusted that “I-talians” are spoiling his “clean country.”

Unfazed, Corleone replies, “We’re all part of the same hypocrisy, senator.”

His words are proved prophetic when the senator wakes up next to a dead prostitute in a grimy bordello owned by ... three guesses.

It’s no surprise that a story The Repository (Canton, Ohio) published about a disabled man who posts anti-government signs in his yard would trigger outrage when it was revealed that he receives SSI payments.

Before the ink could dry, accusations that Andrew Marzilli is a hypocrite were flying like shrapnel.

What elephant?

Whether Marzilli is or isn’t, we all have pockets of hypocrisy in our lives. We’re often blind to the elephants lumbering through the room, not because we’re necessarily calculating and evil but because life is a lot more nuanced than a Hallmark special.

Hypocrisy espouses that everyone has a right to free speech, so long as what’s being said jibes with what we believe.

It’s railing at oil-company greed while idling at a drive-thru.

It’s wanting the government to stay out of our business while demanding that it “do something” about creating jobs, protecting marriage (presumably from Larry King) and flag-burning.

Hypocrisy looks a fact in the face, but because it doesn’t fit your agenda, you ignore it.

It’s arguing that many of our social ills are the result of racism or a lack of programming, without acknowledging that having more kids than you can afford or dropping out of school are formulas for failure — along with the bare-faced fact that some people just need a swift kick.

Ninja economics

Does the level of your disgust over a politician’s misdeed depend on his or her politics?

Hypocrisy is yowling about “blinged-out” millionaire athletes but not the billionaire team owners who hold cities hostage for new stadiums.

Is the recession all Washington’s fault, or did your credit-card vacations and NINJA loan maybe have something to do with it?

Hypocrisy wraps one’s faith in the flag, knowing full well we wouldn’t be caught dead praying for a public servant we don’t like.

It’s cynicism couched in concern.

That “The Godfather” manipulated us into rooting for a family of liars, thieves and murderers says a lot more about us than about the Corleones — namely, that everyone practices some form of hypocrisy.

Maybe it’s why elephants are gray.

Charita Goshay writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact her at