Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Integrity and How to Swing it

I am sorely disappointed in a not small number of people today.

It seems that Joe Paterno is leaving Penn State and many people are mourning and expressing sympathy for his plight. I would like to slap those people.

Paterno is leaving because of his alleged participation in a cover up of Jerry Sandusky's decades long molestation of various young boys.

The grand jury report can be found here. I'll warn you, it's triggery. Sandusky is accused, among other things, of anally raping two boys under the age of 15. And people feel bad for Joe Pa.

Here's what I think after reading the grand jury report and the messages of support and condemnation that have been flying around tonight.

Most of the adults in this situation refused utterly to protect small children from harm and they did it because it was the easier choice than stepping up and doing the right thing. Now, I have been accused, on more than one occasion, of being "honest to the point of stupidity." I generally take this as a compliment, although I'm sure it isn't generally meant as one. I have also been accused of being a bitch which is true so I say thank you because it confuses people. So I don't really get the attitude of people who keep silent out of fear. It just does not compute for me.

Further, I live in the world and for part of that time I lived in PA so I don't buy the argument that Paterno was somehow concerned for his program or his job. The man could do anything short of stand on the sidelines at a home game eating a baby leg and he would have been fine. He kept his mouth shut because it was easier to do that than it was to step up and do the right thing. In keeping silent he created a culture of silence that affected everyone else in the program down to the janitors.

So most people said nothing when they caught Sandusky in the showers with young boys and most people said nothing when they caught him "wrestling" with these kids inappropriately. Let me remind you all that this guys was a football coach. Most of all, most people said nothing when he was caught twice anally raping young boys.

Those people who did say something took the problem to their immediate superior and then stopped pushing. And those superiors made noise and gave toothless punishments and didn't let him become the head coach but they didn't warn anyone when he retired and began to devote even more time to his charity for at risk young boys.

They knew he was a danger to children and they didn't warn anyone. They just let him keep pretending to be a good guy who was helping out.

This is a failure at adulthood. It's easy to "do the right thing," when they right thing and the easy thing are identical. That's not a test of character, that's a gift from the universe. When the right thing and the hard thing are identical, that's where you learn who has integrity and who doesn't. When the right thing is unpopular, when it's dangerous, when it could hurt you too? That's responsibility and values.

So, just fair warning to the world; if you spend the next week pining for JoePa and talking about his values I'm going to challenge you to explain to me how his values encompassed allowing children to be molested and if you you bitch about Penn State football and I'm going to verbally bitch slap you because football does not matter one tiny little bit in the face of the health and welfare of children. And if you disagree with me on that point I'm going to invite you to outline for me the "pro anally raping little boys" side of the argument. If you can't, don't step up.

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