Like President Clinton, he is a winner and he will return.
So why did Lance choose to come forward now? Many are saying that he did it for selfish reasons—just so he could participate in sanctioned races. But I think the main reason(s) are right there beside him in this photo—his children.
Clearly, the most painful part of the interview was when Lance talked about overhearing his son, Luke (13), defending his dad to some other kids. At that moment, he knew that he simply must make things right—no matter what the consequences. And now he has begun the “process” of doing just that.
That “process” may end up costing him his entire fortune (and more)—but it can’t take away the fact that he is recognized by over one billion people in the world—about half of which (according to surveys) have probably already forgiven him. And there will be more. With history as a guide, we know that most people will ultimately forgive him for his cheating and lies—as long as he is sincere and begins to earn back the global respect that he once had.
I took one of those online polls a few days ago where you get to see the poll results instantly. On the U.S. News & World Report poll, 40% agree with me; with 60% of Americans saying that they cannot forgive him—yet.
But, as has been the case with other famous cheaters in this country (Clinton, Woods, Schwarzenegger, Sanford, Petraeus, etc.), those numbers are likely to swing back in Lance’s favor in the future—particularly if he spends the rest of life doing some truly noble things. Look what has happened with Bill Clinton—who now enjoys the highest approval ratings of his entire career.
In a USA Today article after the Oprah interview, it was suggested that Lance consider Bill Clinton the role model for recovery from public scandal. How did he do it? From the article (See link below)….
Partly by confessing, notably in 1998 at a White House clergy prayer breakfast where — his eyes welling at times with tears — he said, “I have sinned” and “I have repented.” Partly by good works, notably since leaving office and founding the Clinton Global Initiative.
Parham, the ethicist, says he views Clinton’s entire post-presidency as a form of penance for the havoc he wreaked by getting involved with Lewinsky.
So what kind of good deeds from Lance could do the most good for those he hurt, for his country, for the world? I refer to Oprah’s final words of the two-part interview, saying that she hoped the moral of Lance’s story would be that “the truth will set you free.” Indeed it was the need to be totally truthful with his 13-year old son that led him to confess his sins to the world. The lack of truth in his life was literally killing him and it was hurting the people he loved most.
But now the truth can set him free.
Assessing the damage. Okay, he has been a bully and a jerk, and he cheated in a bunch of cycling events; then he defiantly lied about it for many years. And that ended up hurting family, friends, teammates, sponsors, and the millions of cancer victims who believed in him. And some of them will never forgive him—even though his cheating and lies never physically harmed or killed anyone.
While there are no doubt millions of cancer survivors who’re pretty disappointed in Lance right now, his LiveStrong Foundation has indeed raised hundreds of millions of dollars for battling cancer on their behalf. And, as was the case with Bill Clinton, he can recover from one of the lowest points of his life—if he does the right things. A fierce competitor, he can win back most of his former fans—including millions who may be unable to forgive him right now.
But he must be truly contrite (genuinely feel and show remorse) and he must take huge steps to make amends to all those he has hurt. Finally, he must tackle a HUGE global issue—preferably one that has been driven by lies and misinformation—and spend the rest of his life telling the whole TRUTH about that issue. Can you guess where I am going with this?
What global issue should he tackle? The one about the lack of truth when it comes to the staggering consequences of our food choices. I argued in our book AND in 716 consecutive daily blogs—that there has never been anything more important in the history of the world.
Let’s take a look at just three of those truths that need to be told about our food choices:
1. Heart disease “is a toothless paper tiger that need never exist and if it does exist, it need never progress. It can also be easily be reversed in 95% of the cases by a simple shift to a whole foods, plant-based diet.” Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., The Cleveland Clinic. Why is this truth about our nation’s #1 killer not being told to ALL heart patients? Indeed to ALL people before they develop heart disease?
2. Cancer. “Casein (the protein in cow’s milk), is the most relevant chemical carcinogen ever identified.” T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Cornell University School of Nutritional Science. He worded that truth like this in The China Study, saying that “[V]ery likely all animal proteins may be the most relevant cancer-causing substances that we consume.” Why is this powerful truth not being told to all parents and why is it not being taught in all schools?
2. World Hunger. Our typical western diet is grossly wasteful, harmful and unsustainable. If all seven billion people on Earth tried to eat “our” diet, four billion of them would starve to death. There is simply not enough land and water for everyone to eat this diet. Why are the scientists and the media not telling us about this? Why is it not being taught in our schools?
Billions of human lives are at stake—indeed the longterm sustainability of the human species hangs in the balance—and “the truth” will set us free.
But why Lance? People will argue that we should have a totally honest “hero” to lead our grassroots revolution. They will argue that no one will believe anything that he has to say in the future. But I disagree. By sincerely doing the right things, his approval ratings will improve and he will once again be able to influence the thinking of billions of people on this planet.
I am thinking of a “dream-team” for leading our grassroots revolution—Lance Armstrong and President Clinton. I believe that Clinton would welcome Lance with open arms to his famous “Health Matters” campaign at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Although Bill Clinton has personal knowledge of the power of plant-based nutrition to reverse chronic disease, so far his CGI has come up short on clarity when it comes to sharing that life-saving information with the rest of the world.
Coincidentally, both Lance and Clinton have learned about the powers of plant-strong eating from the Esselstyn family. President Clinton reversed his own heart disease by applying Dr. Esselstyn’s recommendations to his daily eating habits and Lance is a friend of Rip Esselstyn, the son of Dr. Esselstyn. They are both triathletes and residents of Austin, Texas, and I am confident that Lance has a pretty good idea of what a near-optimal diet is all about. —My 716th consecutive daily blog—
As I stated earlier, no one has ever died because of Lance’s cheating and lies. But how many millions have died because of the lies and confusion that we are fed from our collective system of medicine—food producers—academia? How many millions of lives could Lance’s message save if he spent the rest of his life promoting the complete, health-promoting truth about a whole foods, plant-based diet?
What we need is clarity—and the dream team of Clinton & Armstrong could reach billions with just that. And, somewhere along the way, Lance would regain much of the dignity and respect that his cheating and lies have taken away.
- Source article in USA Today. Can you forgive Lance Armstrong?
- Source article. Poll in U.S. News and World Report
- Earlier blog. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the story of another cheater
- Earlier blog. General Petraeus, the story of another cheater
- Earlier blog. My case for why we need all the leadership we can get
- Earlier blog. A tiny few eating a perfect diet? — or truly changing the world?
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation