Moral Compass

There’s something seriously wrong with this country’s moral compass.

I suppose the problem is that our sense of morality has gone down the toilet. We’ve been exposed to so much corruption and immoral behavior in the past few decades that we’ve become desensitized to it. It’s like in Hamlet when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die offstage, we’ve already experienced so much death, deceit, and betrayal that we don’t even bat an eye. There’s a problem with that, though. We, as a society, should never stop being outraged by immoral behavior – even if it’s not illegal. The law does not uphold our moral integrity; that is up to us as individuals.

The latest proof that our country is morally bankrupt is all the fallout from the Penn State sex scandal. The number of people outraged by Joe Paterno’s dismissal is alarming. His fate in all this should be THE LEAST of anyone’s concern. Let me put things in perspective: a grown man put the cock of a ten-year-old boy in his mouth. THAT is worthy of outrage, not that some old fart doesn’t get to coach a meaningless game anymore (and this is coming from a football fan). I don’t care how many games he won, I don’t care how many buildings on campus have been built because of him – none of that matters anymore. He failed as a human being on a level that is unforgivable.

Yes, he told his superior (an act that many seem to think absolves him from any wrong-doing), but that act was the bare minimum of what he could – and should – have done. He allowed a known pedophile to continue to wander around campus long after he knew what the man was. Could a moral human being allow that to continue? Doing the right thing is rarely about doing what is easy or what what is popular. In this case, doing the right thing (going to the authorities) would have made life difficult and uncomfortable for Paterno, but that’s what should have been done. He even admitted, and I quote, “I wish I would have done more.” Well nothing was stopping him from doing more. He simply chose not to. The true measure of a man is what he does when no one is watching, and, with that criteria in mind, Joe Paterno failed those boys and he failed to uphold a moral standard demanded of every responsible adult.

People need to remember that Penn State is more than its football program. It’s a university that is supposed to be educating the next generation of American citizens – and I would hope that that education includes lessons in morality and human decency. After watching the riots this past week, it seems that many of their students have failed that test. Mourn the victims of these crimes, not the man who did nothing to stop them. Football is, after all, just a silly game in the overall scheme of things. What happened to those boys, however, is something that will live on long after the football season ends.

“All that is necessary for Evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”


~ by themoderntranscendentalist on November 12, 2011.

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