Thursday, June 25, 2009

Reflections on What is Wrong with Our Culture

I wrote a bit about my feelings on politicians and their affairs a few weeks ago. Yet again, we have the governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford embroiled in controversy as he was caught amid lies and then forced to admit to an affair. The part that really irks me about him is two fold (and this is in addition to the fact that he was having an affair period): in his public apology he apologizes first for the pain he has caused his mistress. His friends, wife, and sons all follow. That says something. Along with that is the portion where he states he was crying his eyes out in Argentina the past five days. Why? Because he was heart broken over having to leave his mistress to actually honor the commitment he made to his wife? That really rubs me the wrong way. The second part of my frustration is that he and his wife were supposedly separated with the intent of strengthening their marriage. I'm not really sure how visiting your mistress for a week will result in a strengthening of your marriage commitment to the wife you have been cheating on.

Like I mentioned before, cheating by anyone is wrong, equally wrong regardless of what political party you belong to. However, it especially seems to irritate me when the Republican party, and this man in particular, makes a concerted effort to be America's moral police, constantly telling the rest of us what we ought to be doing, all the while doing exactly what they are railing against and condemning. These affairs just highlight the larger problem in America, or the world for that matter, which is a general degradation of morals and values.

People go around acting as if they are accountable to no one, as if vows they took and promises they made are meaningless, as if they are somehow above the other slime that lies, cheats, and steals, and as if an apology somehow makes it all better. This isn't simply limited to politicians. We hear more about politicians because they are in the public eye and possibly held to a higher standard, but everyday men and women engage in this same shameful behavior. It is nothing more than hubris that allows them to believe they will really get away with it.

Integrity is the measure of a person and if you cannot be trusted then there isn't much left.

It has become increasingly apparent with the recent DC Metro accident and Air France crash that people have developed a cavalier attitude towards safety. It is concerning that in both instances recommendations were made that would have ensured greater safety and both recommendations were either ignored or had not yet been implemented. It seems like there should be a way for travellers to check to see if the particular plane, train, or automobile that they are travelling in or on has had recommendations made and whether or not those were actually followed and implemented. It never ceases to amaze me when officials know that recommendations were made, choose not to prioritize them, and then act shocked when a catastrophic, life-taking event occurs. It makes me mad that the powers that be take these recommendations so cavalierly, as if life is inconsequential. Companies are worried about cost, time involved, and the work required. I understand that. However, it would sure be nice if that same level of concern was given to the lives of those who were on these ill-fated vessels of transportation. Maybe they wouldn't be dead now.

Until the past few weeks I have watched exactly one episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight. The one I watched was so disturbing to me that I never tuned in again. I hated the way Kate barked at her husband, I hated witnessing how weak her husband either is or was portrayed, and it pained me to know that those eight kids now had a childhood tainted by "reality." However, this week I watched three episodes, including the one where the big divorce announcement was made. It made me cringe. It seems self-serving that they have chosen to take something private and painful and turn it into a public spectacle. Shame on them. Those children will now have footage for an eternity documenting the demise of their parents' marriage and the end of their family.

Honestly, as Jon and Kate began noticing things going south in their marriage they should have called it quits right then and there, got the cameras out of their house, and made a legitimate attempt to fix their marriage, or at least agree to end things in private and not with America watching. This should not be something that plays out in front of a camera. This isn't reality and it shouldn't be entertainment. There are children involved who will one day see this train wreck in all its glory. As a parent I would protect my children at all cost and I think in this situation the show should most certainly not go on chronicling the demise of a family.

So, what about society is bugging you right now? How do you feel about some of the above issues?

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