While I was reading Joe Torre’s book, “The Yankee Years,” written with Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, a few things came into focus: You know what? In America, cheaters and liars get exposed, even if it takes a long, long time. The truth always comes out.
And from A-Rod to Barry Bonds to Roger Clemens to Mark McGwire: They all have been or are being exposed as the cheaters and liars they are.
OK. That is baseball. Our one-time national pastime. Just a sport. Not anything of any real substance.
The very same pattern has overtaken us as a nation.
Cheating and lying are all over the place in the leadership class: from politicians to lawyers to doctors to business titans to leaders in the entertainment industry.
Madoff, Enron, no-WMD-in-Iraq, soldiers ripping off our aid to Iraq, mortgage lenders “teasing” home buyers with deceptively low rates and then jacking them up, widespread Medicaid fraud, famous historians committing plagiarism and getting away with it, self-centered business leaders taking huge bonuses while laying off their lesser-paid subordinates, overpaid executives spending $1.2 million to decorate an office while the bank is going bust — we could go on and on and on.
The point is clear: Like the ballplayers who — while blessed with incredible, superior athletic talent, still wanted to cheat to do even better — these societal leaders also want to cheat and lie about it to make even more money; more money than any one person could ever reasonably spend.
This Super-Sized greed and drive is out of whack with our values of fair play, hard work, and treating all people fairly and equally.
And these privileged people, in key positions of leadership across the spectrum, are dragging down our country, making awful decisions that harm thousands of people, and helping to destroy the once-glorious image of the good old U.S.A.
The only good thing about this recession is that it will shake out the system and flush many of these greedy jerks down the tubes. Unfortunately, along with them go many, many good people.
America is a self-correcting nation. We do address our problems — sometimes a little too slowly for many of us — but we do face up to things. In this case, we need widespread condemnation of the lying and the cheating and the rip-offs.
And we need to reinstate a long-lost sentiment in our society: shame.
Until these crooks and cheats feel genuine shame for what they have done, they will continue to do it.
They need that kind of shame where you hide your face on the perp walk — not smile into the mug shot camera as if you are proud of what you have done — and can’t face your friends and family and instead you’d rather jump off a building.
Today’s frauds and crooks and cheats revel in their notoriety.
That needs to change — and fast.
Prediction: America is undergoing a whole lot of “change” right now — most of it forced by the crumbling economy. In 10 years, we will be a stronger nation and a better-behaved people than we are today.
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