Be What You Want to See

J. D. Pendry

In the military, the importance of being the example is stressed constantly.  Role modeling and mentoring are not endeavors taken lightly.  The understanding that everyone influences someone all of the time, whether conscious of it or not, is critical.  It causes one to consider the consequences of actions beyond their impact on self.  To reinforce the importance of that, the military rewards the good examples and hammers the bad ones.

In my seminar days, I’d ask participants to compile a list of attributes in people that they most admired and wanted to emulate.   Interestingly, attributes like egomaniac, corruptness, sexual pervert, alcohol and drug abuser, foul mouthed, self-serving, general all around butthead, etc. never made it onto the lists.  What’s more telling was that their lists of people they most admired were often in conflict with their admired and desired attributes.  Out here, were everyone is supposed to be smarter than those in the military we exalt the bad examples and hammer unmercifully the good ones.  That’s because we admire and desire the fame, wealth and power the bad ones have more that we detest their behavior.

Look at professional athletes.  They were pampered through a public education system that failed them.  They got breaks that the average kid doing what he was supposed to do didn’t get.  We raised them to hero status because of their athletic skills.  We turned them into uneducated millionaires with a twisted value set then gasped when they ended up in prison or got involved with things like dog fighting, which then causes them to declare that they’ve found Jesus.  We rewarded their bad behavior which reinforced for a generation of kids the attributes needed to acquire wealth and fame.

While our sons are wearing their ball caps sideways, sporting their bling bling, and wearing an oversized Michael Vick jersey, what attributes are we stressing to our daughters?  Reckon we’re teaching them to be like Paris or Britney or Lindsay?  All that is required is that you have a little talent for something like acting, singing or Internet porn videos and be relatively pretty.   Then you magnify those attributes by being a drug and alcohol abusing celebrity party girl.  Each time you are caught doing stupid celebrity tricks, have your agent declare that you are off to rehab for the cure and that the cocaine in the pocket of the jeans you were wearing wasn’t your cocaine because they weren’t your jeans.  Everyone in the media will compete for your story and the rest of us will endure it repeatedly during the 30 minute news cycle.  You’ll be more famous and wealthy and our daughters will emulate accordingly.

We have good role models for our young men and women.  They’re neither wealthy nor famous, but model the good attributes our young people need to acquire.  These are the Men and Women serving in the United States Armed Forces.  It’s a rare day when anything positive is said about them.  Instead they’re portrayed as everything except positive role models.  Members of the United States Congress have publicly compared them to Nazis, called them cold-blooded murderers, torturers, terrorists, and implied that they ended up in Iraq because they’re too uneducated and stupid to do anything else.  That is how we emphasize positive attributes for our youth here in the land of the free.  After all, what young person aspires to be a cold-blooded killer too stupid to do anything else when they can be like Mike?

If there is any group that should stand out as an example for all of us, it should be our elected leaders.  Too often, they are the unfortunate example.  The President of the United States had sex with an intern inside the Oval Office and he probably wasn’t the first.  We allowed him to remain as our leader even after he lied about it.  Congressman Mark Foley and Senator Larry Craig are not the first members of that elected body to have their sexual perversions made public.  Instead of closeting them, they should have followed the example of Congressman Gary Studds who admittedly had sex with an underage male page and was reelected several times afterward.  Or the example of Congressman Barney Frank who found a companion through gay personal ads then allowed him to live in while he operated a prostitution ring from his house.  Good ol’ Barney is still serving and probably in more ways than we care to know.

It goes beyond sexual perversions.  Duke Cunningham is in prison for bribes, where he should be.  Cold Cash Willie Jefferson is still on the payroll.  The Hillary-Hsu connection is neither the first nor only time a criminal contributed money to put or keep someone, Democrat or Republican, in office.  Watergate was not a onetime Republican only event.

Washington is a cesspool.  One wonders if it is a reflecting pool or a perpetuating one.  Regardless, they have the audacity to pass judgment on others, like the infant Iraqi government, while being incompetent to accomplish anything themselves.  Their failure at being an example for the American people is their most notable accomplishment.  How do you tell a youngster that behavior is not acceptable, when it is perfectly acceptable in the Oval Office and Congress?  Leaves one to wonder if any of them have ever considered the consequences their conduct has beyond self.  Somehow I doubt the thought ever entered their collective minds.

Maybe they are being what they want to see.

© J. D. Pendry, 2007, All Rights Reserved