Friday, April 13, 2007

Logic, Money, Politics and Ethics: Which speaks loudest?

My boss used to tell me that an ancient Chinese curse reads “May you live in interesting times.” I tell you, we must be cursed.

I was talking with my partner this week and I told him that it is no surprise that our kids are learning not to care, or worse, to see that everyone else is getting away with wrongdoing.

I feel it is time for our leaders in the media, the entertainment industry and in government to consider the full extent of the mix of messages that they are sending to our citizens, but especially to our kids.

Here are some examples:

  • John McCain went to the Green Zone of Baghdad and made a big deal out of parading around in a flak jacket with helmet and over-flying assault helicopters while declaring it to be a safe area for a stroll. Now this week, the Green Zone was infiltrated causing the deaths of an Iraqi Parliament member and a number of others.

  • Don Imus was fired this week for using language that any intelligent person should know better than to utter in any forum. His language was terribly demeaning to the Rutgers Women’s Basketball program, to African-Americans and to women. His comments were, indeed, egregious.

    His comments were followed by a firestorm of publicity from various groups to have him fired. Yesterday, the axe fell for Imus. However, a few weeks ago, Ann Coulter, whose right to free speech I actually defended, called former NC Senator John Edwards a “faggot”, effectively insulting a good-hearted man and all of the multi-racial LBGTQ community. Use of this language is often linked with increasing violence against LGBTQ people everywhere. Where was the persistent outcry for and the firing of Ann Coulter?

  • The White House seems to keep losing documents that are sensitive to cases of investigation into their ethics. If you lose your tax documents, do you suppose that the government would be lenient? News reports say that “the White House is using every means possible to avoid complying with the law [that they retain copies of all emails].CNN 13 April 2007

  • The Republican Right continues its fight against medical research into the use of stem cells after a promising treatment was announced from Brazil for the treatment of diabetes. We are blocking the US scientific community from embryonic stem cell research while other countries are able to investigate new treatments. The argument against this research involves the destruction of human embryos to save other lives. However, the same party that insists on saving an embryo has no qualms about capital punishment and bombing citizens of other countries.

  • Our citizens are now predominantly against continuing the war in Iraq given the way the situation has deteriorated and, for some of us, given the way we were misled to support the war. The Bush supporters scream that Democrats are putting our troops in harm’s way by criticizing the war and by attempting to curb Bush’s war. Meanwhile, this same government has reduced benefits for our Veterans while talking of extending their tours of duty.

Some people might call this kind of behavior hypocritical. I simply see it as a set of bad lessons about life that will shape our kids and their beliefs about what is right and wrong. Is this how the country should be run? Is that the message you want to see your kids receive?



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