Oct 03

The devil made me do it is simply a cop out.

In a world with little or no personal accountability, it should come as no surprise to see Florida Congressman Mark Foley blame his sending sexually explicit e-mails to underage pages on the effects of alcohol. And, following in the politically-correct footsteps of such other recent bad boys as Mel Gibson and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Foley immediately checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic for "treatment of alcoholism and related behavioral problems."078partyfacegesichtfaschingkarnevalcarni_1 

As we now know, Foley was one of the most active advocates in the battle against Internet predators who use the web to meet and engage in sexual activities with underage kids. So, while Foley talked the talk in public, he most assuredly did not walk the walk in his personal life.

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But, hey, it wasn’t his fault. Just like it doesn’t seem to be anyone’s fault for anything anymore. Foley, like every other "victim," blames someone or something else for his actions. In Foley’s case, it was the demon rum that made him send those provocative e-mails to pages. And, now he’s being "responsible" by seeking professional help. Yeah, right.

Gimme a break. Clinics have become the new surrogate for personal responsibility and accountability. If anything, Foley should stand up, admit the mistake and offer to go on a speaking tour to high schools and colleges nationwide, warning our kids about the dangers of e-mail. Any and all money he’d make on the tour would be donated to some clearinghouse for counseling underage victims of this horrific crime.

Instead, Foley will disappear inside the walls of some high-class clinic, wait for the heat to die down and then re-emerge to pursue some sort of lucrative business career. He’ll probably also pen his personal memoirs for a cool "mill" or two.

It’s time our leaders and role models stop blaming artificial substances for their actions and, instead, step up to the plate and beginning admitting fault. If memory serves correctly, admitting fault is the first step towards recovery.


Tip of RepMan’s hat to Gene Colter for his thoughts.

Jul 21

Our cheating hearts

With the Barry Bonds steroid scandal continuing to lead sports headlines across the country, and everyone still reeling from convicted Enron Chairman Ken Lay’s untimely demise (or was it a "timed" demise?), there now comes news of a college student survey pinpointing how our younger people justify their cheating.

Conducted by three business professors at Iowa State University, the survey identified four ways in which students rationalized their unethical behavior (i.e. cheating on tests, etc.).

In reviewing the four explanations provided by students, I was struck by how they mirrored what high profile figures in society use or have used to rationale their actions. To wit, according to the profs, the kids either distance themselves from the act (think Barry Bonds), blame someone else for it (our man, Ken Lay comes to mind), redefine it as a good thing (those missing weapons of mass destruction as justification for invading Iraq?), or conclude that the outcome (even a negative one) made cheating worthwhile (Gitmo torture techniques?).

What does it say about a society when its next generation of leaders can rationalize cheating (and have that rationalization categorized into four, neat quadrants)? It’s really not the kids who are at fault, it’s us. Our current generation has allowed ethics, morals and overall deportment to slip to abysmally low levels. And, sad, to say, I see no way in which the trend can be reversed.

As long as our media glamorize the Diddys and Bonds along with the Ebbers and Kozlowskis, we’ll continue to see our kids take the easy, shortcuts to wealth and success. And if it means cheating to get ahead, well so be it. At least the next generation wil be able to identify what kind of cheaters they are.