Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

Today, my boss at Rissman told me about Joe Paterno, Penn State's football coach for 46 years.  Joe is either going to be fired or resign amid an immoral and illegal inferno.  Paterno's crime is that of inaction, while in itself may not be illegal or immoral, but allowed Sandusky, his assistant and a pedophile, to act immorallly and illegally, unchecked and unpunished for years.  It occurred to me that this action of inaction is a national disease, a progressive pathogenic with an incubation period that has reached its zenith. Lawmakers and governments were given too much power because we didnt' want to get involved.  Capatalism was given too much power because it was either easier that way or we didn't want to get involved. 

Joe Paterno's lifelong career as one of the best coaches in the country with one of the best records this country has ever had in college football is ruined. What he will be known for is the man who allowed a pedophile to continue to commit crimes under his watch. If this is what inaction does for one man, imagine what it can do to a country?

I seem to see this lesson everywhere I go lately.  Even at my own job, I knew what my duties are, but there were those tasks that I allowed others to do for me and when no one followed up, I gratefully dismissed. Now, my company is cracking down on me (us) and "I don't know how" is not acceptable anymore.  The truth was, I didn't want to know how because I didn't want to do it. 

I think about the Boston Tea Party.  No, not "The Tea Party," but the real Boston Tea Party and the anger that finally boiled to the top of public sentiment that caused a chain reaction that changed history.  Today, at lunch, I mentioned that I was going to take a few days off to join the protestors.  I joked that I hadn't been in jail for a long time.  The conversation took an ugly turn.  The reactions surprised me and made me angry. 
"Bunch of losers." one woman said.
"They need to get a job." said another.
"That isn't what this country is about," another commented, to which I retorted, "That is exactly what this country is about!"
"They don't want to pay their student loans."
Then the conversation turned to student loans and the difficulty in getting a job once you've graduated, which entirely proved the point that was being made by the protestors.
It's easy to sit around a table at a firm that pays you above average wages at your one hour lunchtime and cry, "let them eat cake!" It's only when our cake and cookies and meat and potatoes are yanked from our tables, that we can understand the movement that is being undertaken. 

Whether it be apathy,.sloth, indifference or entitlement, history has proven inaction hasn't worked.  It didn't work for Marie Antoinetter, Joe Paterno, me or the country.  Maybe I'll take a day off soon and go to jail.