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A mockery of integrity (11/05/2006)
By Janet Lewis Burns

"Attention! Attention! Read all about it! High school students admit to cheating! Deceitfulness runs rampant! Parents didn't have a clue! Counselors are available at school all week for moral support!"

I believe this type of dishonesty was once a lack of motivation. Now it's desperation. A power-packed competitive society, and the pressure to maintain an extremely high grade point average before one can even apply for admission to a college, leads to drastic measures.

That's no excuse...but it's a definite reality. Has the importance of advanced academic achievement been blown way out of the ballpark for far too many...financially and realistically?

NO EXCUSE! Neighborhood robberies, even in small communities, have meant a rash of residential break-ins. Late night convenience store clerks are in danger. Your elderly aunt out on the home place alone no longer feels comfortable there. Putting innocent people in harm's way goes on day and night.

REALITY: Well, drug habits require large sums of money. You can't expect dealers to supply users without being reimbursed! Anyone knows that when you got the habit you've got to have the stuff. How dumb is that?

NO EXCUSE! "Wanted, on-line, one naive, vulnerable, lonely, perhaps a bit unstable 13-16 year old schoolgirl who looks like she's twenty-five, has no parental supervision, and likes to hang-out with worthless but lovable older types." Signed: "Teddy Bear."

REALITY: Dysfunctional families, who are often afflicted with alcoholism and drug abuse, and/or poverty stricken, are neglecting their children. With a computer at their disposal, there is no limit to the risks and dangers vulnerable young people can be exposed to.

NO EXCUSE! Mr. Big Shot presents his plea bargain. "My kid wouldn't do that, but if we can keep this whole incident hush, hush, I'll make it worth your while. You know, boys will be animals!" No harm done?

REALITY: Too many parents use their clout and their bargaining power, their big bucks, to buy their way out of scandal and disgrace. These unscrupulous adults defend the kid, not out of love and concern, but to save face and to protect their prestigious name.

NO EXCUSE! "I'd like to withdraw our family's life savings, the balance of our checking account, and our kids' savings accounts. Give me that in rolls of quarters, silver dollars, and crisp one hundred dollar bills."

REALITY: Many individuals have been bitten by the gambling bug. It soon devours any willpower to walk away from Lady Luck. Excessive gambling will eat up every red cent one can get their hands on, often destroying families. Out of desperation, some have been driven to embezzle funds entrusted to them.

NO EXCUSE! Political campaigns have turned into free-for-alls! Ads are no-brainers without substance. Special interest groups and individuals can count on extravagant favors for their promotional contributions. The two-party system has made way for underhanded competitive tactics.

REALITY: It's all politics - all about getting elected! Shallow campaign promises are determined by key voters' issues. That longing for power and an insatiable greed can strip a person of his/her values. Moral obligations seem to get lost in warped reasoning.

NO EXCUSE! Just watch the news! It's commonplace for folks on the hot plate to attempt to weasel their way out of predicaments by lying and deception. With seemingly no conscience, many lack any respect for laws and lives.

REALITY: Family values and living moralistic lives seem to have deteriorated to a tragic unfathomable degradation in America.

Some say that such evil and corruption has been going on for centuries. Has modern technology, however, created monsters? Introduced crime to the vulnerable? Assisted hardened criminal minds to evade incarceration and to succeed at deception?

Has humankind become so smart that we have sacrificed conventional wisdom for technological novelties?

Janet Burns has always called Lewiston "HOME." She welcomes input from readers. Reach her at patandjanburns@earthlink.net 


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