A Culture of Dishonor

An essay by James A Graves, Jr.


I was surfing the car radio, trying to find some music worth listening to, and stopped briefly on a Pop station featuring the usual morning Gaggle of Babbling Buffoons. 

Their discussion of the moment was about a church website.  Apparently, this church is singling out popular sports personalities who have chosen to live life large enough to expose behavior that the church finds sinful.


The first example one of the Gaggle picked was a promiscuous quarterback who fathered a child out of wedlock with another celebrity. 

The church’s opinion of the quarterback’s busy love life was obviously low and they believe he is presenting a very bad example to young football fans.


All of the Buffoons chimed in with their opinions.  The out-of-wedlock child was unfortunate, but at least she chose to have the baby.  What’s done is done.  And it was admirable that the quarterback took responsibility as the father.  So what’s the big deal?  It’s a different world today; some people even expect a couple to have children before they’re married.


The Gaggle’s next pick was a popular NASCAR driver who tells his crew that it’s okay to cheat as long as they don’t get caught.  The church’s claim that the NASCAR driver’s “cheating is okay” attitude would be shown as a bad example to young fans was unanimously dismissed immediately because one of the Buffoons said, “I’ve met him and he’s a nice guy”. 


At that point, one of the Buffoons labeled the church “a bunch of wingnuts”.

That closed the show, apparently chosen as a good subject to leave the listeners laughing and show how cool the Gaggle of Babbling Buffoons are, so their listeners will be back tomorrow to hear more cool babble.


Not one of the Gaggle suggested that the quarterback and the celebrity should not have had sex in the first place.  Apparently, to the Buffoons, that wasn’t even an option.  There was also no concern about the child possibly growing up in a household with a single mother.

And apparently, cheating is okay with the Buffoons, even a famous NASCAR driver, as long as he is a nice guy.  Never mind the example he sets, or the fact that the ones who lose because of the cheating might also be nice guys. 


Bernie Madoff’s clients and friends all appeared to believe he was a nice guy until they found out that he had stolen their life savings.

And according to all reports, everyone that met Ted Bundy said that he was a nice guy.  I have no doubt that each of his thirty-plus victims thought that he was a nice guy until just before they were raped and murdered.


What has happened to personal integrity and morals?  Today, anything that we choose to do, right or wrong, is okay if it can be sufficiently justified. 

You won’t find any sane person that would justify Madoff or Bundy, but the quarterback and the NASCAR driver are both national heroes, so as long as they don’t murder anyone or rob someone blind we’re okay with their errant behavior.


America has become a bunch of amoral excuse makers. 


It’s okay to cheat if you don’t get caught, and even if you do get caught it’s okay if you’re a nice person. 


It’s okay to be promiscuous and make babies that will be raised by a single parent because everyone else does it.


It’s okay to lie, even if you’re the President of the United States testifying under oath before the US Congress, because if you’re caught in the lie, nothing will be done about it anyway.


It’s okay to steal as long as you’re doing it in the spirit of Robin Hood and taking from the rich to give to the poor.


Our nation has lost its direction and its soul. 


Equality has been one of the hardest fought battles in our history, yet when equality is finally becoming a reality, we have suddenly forgotten what equality means.

It’s okay to say anything you want about anyone in America, no matter how vulgar, as long as it is directed at a Conservative, a Republican, an Independent, a Christian, a rich person, a heterosexual or a white person.

Direct a similar vulgar statement toward a member of any other group and you could be arrested and charged with a hate crime.


We have forgotten what responsibility means. 


We have forgotten that, like it or not, people in important positions are held to a higher standard of conduct.  That includes parents, politicians, teachers, doctors, judges, lawyers, law enforcement, business leaders, civic leaders, sports celebrities and other celebrities.

Why? Because they serve as examples for the rest of us, most especially our children, to follow.


We have forgotten how to take personal responsibility for our lives and our actions. 

It has become too easy to simply point at someone, something or a situation and use that as the justification for why we cannot take personal responsibility for our behavior and status in life.


We have forgotten that respect is earned and not granted.

The next time you hear someone whining about being ‘disrespected’, ask what he or she has done to deserve the respect they seek.


Many decry the fact that young people show no respect, but since we no longer teach children to show respect for anyone or anything, even the American Flag, it should be no surprise when a young person is disrespectful.


American society has declined to the point where it is no longer considered honorable to follow the moral guidelines provided by the Ten Commandments.  And those who try to follow those morals are considered “wingnuts”.


The sad part is, we know right from wrong.  We know the difference between bad behavior and good behavior.  Americans are, for the most part, intelligent people.  We have simply chosen not to apply that intellect.


Galileo Galilei said, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”


Galileo makes sense, but we have chosen to ignore God, which could be considered a failure of sense, reason and intellect.

Louis Kronenberger said, “There seems to be a terrible misunderstanding on the part of a great many people to the effect that when you cease to believe you may cease to behave.”


Today, in America, we behave in any manner that we please and if anyone objects we scream that our Constitutional rights have been violated. 

Yet, our elected officials in Washington appear to be working as hard as they can to take away those Constitutional rights forever and we keep silent. 


Remaining silent, we continue on our merry way, happily riding to Hell in a hand basket.


We have forgotten how to behave.

We have forgotten how to be honorable.

In fact, we have become a Culture of Dishonor.

William Penn said, "Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."


Folks, wait and see...  It’s coming.


©2009 James A Graves, Jr.


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