Pandemic Journal Entry 20: Our organization’s moral and ethical rot has only one cure: Killing the messenger

Friends, I’ve called this extraordinary session to share the results of an internal audit that examined the values and governance of our organization after concerns arose in connection with recent events. What I have to tell you isn’t easy, but I’ll temper this news with foreshadowing of a plan to take swift and decisive corrective action.

Our organization’s brand is founded on values embraced by most of humanity and represented by our team for over 250 years. At times I worry that publicly articulating these values may sound pious or even pompous to some, and I admit that pride allows me, during moments when we fail to completely live up to these standards, relief that we can skate by without anyone noticing.

The matter at hand – this audit – represents a challenge to the Teflon sheen that cloaks us. You have the weighty document in front of you and I have no doubt that you are repelled by its contents. Phrases like “a fish rotting from the head down,” “morally vacuous,” and “lacking the slightest whiff of ethics” are not justified by the auditors’ assessment of our actions. Even those actions outlined in 577 pages of appendices (specifically, appendices C, E, I, P and S).

In the face of this indictment we cannot shirk our responsibilities. We will take strong action. We will kill the messenger.

Two to three decades ago, we would not have killed the messenger, or even threatened the messenger or the messenger’s family. But killing the messenger is a rich part of our brand’s history and it’s time to resurrect the practice of killing messengers just like the middle generation caretakers of our brand used to do with some regularity.

I recognize that our bylaws require unanimous consent to take this unprecedented – perhaps extreme – step. But given the urgency of the situation the executive and cabinet have signed off on killing the messenger. We will have time for discussion, but you should know that the decision to kill the messenger is irrevocable given that the messenger’s lifeless body is swinging from the light pole in our parking lot.

Now, are there any questions?

None? Good.