Thursday, November 10, 2011

Students riot as Joe Paterno gets fired.

Oops, here I go again, taking things too seriously and ranting about them.

Some students at Penn State, and I hope it’s only some, are rioting because Joe Paterno was fired. They’re not rioting because for many years, I’ve heard as many as nine, young children - young male children, were raped and sodomized by a predator in Paterno’s employ, and the rioters have compassion for those poor innocent victims and want justice for them. No, they’re not rioting for that. They’re not rioting because current arrangements, sometimes known as the ‘system’, are shackling them with huge life-long debt for an ‘education’ of questionable value. No, they’re not rioting for that.

They’re not rioting because they won’t have decent jobs and will have to live at home [if it hasn’t been foreclosed] with their parents. No, they’re not rioting for that. They’re not rioting because of global climate change and the wholesale destruction of dolphins, other species and the potential destruction of the planet itself. No, they’re not rioting for that. They’re rioting because the great god of football, America’s religion, has been fired.

I heard a couple of them on TV a few minutes ago, talking about how the nasty school administration ‘over-reacted’ by firing their god. Soon, some alumni will withhold their donations and stop supporting the school.

When I first heard that the Board of Trustees fired both Paterno and the University president, I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe that in this day and age of amazing, unbelievable public hypocrisy, sham objectivity and hyper attention to the ‘bottom line’ – money and winning, that a group of people would actually risk the wrath of the no-nothing bottom liners, and do the right thing. But they did and instead of some students and some alumni appreciating their courage, they’re rioting and withholding donations.

The veils of rhetoric that have masked our hypocrisy as individuals and as a nation are falling away. Now we see that a winning football team is much more important and valuable than the lives and health of a bunch of male children. Now we see who and what counts in America, and sadly, what has always counted. Sports, right wing politics and military preparedness are what count, not a silly, idealistic and unrealistic, compassionate, fair and just society. Winning, winning, winning – as another football god, the great Lombardi said, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!”

But the students rioting saddens and depresses me most. They are the future. I like to kid myself that the young people understand what’s important and are learning from our mistakes and will bring on a better future. Apparently not. At least for some of them, sports and winning trump morality and justice. Too bad, not just for them, but for us, as football, the modern equivalent of the ancient Roman bread and circuses, leads America laughing, high and drunk down the same path the Romans took to decline, third rate status and obliteration.

But the fact that Paterno was fired and that only some students and some alumni are assholes means there might be hope.

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