Culture Rot and Sandy Hook Elementary
The heartbreaking, soul sickening news out of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT has once again ignited outrage over guns. But here’s my question: When will we have the courage and intestinal fortitude to take on the root causes of this terrible tragedy? When will we finally get sick enough of these outrageous crimes to take ourselves in hand and investigate the impact of hateful, ignorant speech, bestial sexual behavior, criminal song lyrics, and disrespect of every sort in our day-to-day lives?
Can we not understand that lying to each other with ease, throwing off so-called commitments when something or someone more interesting comes along, celebrating dysfunction, deifying ignorant celebrities, laughing off discipline and faith, or pointing to some historical inequity as justification for cruel and genuinely stupid speech or action creates an insidious and vicious culture rot? None of this bad behavior is new. It is as old as time. Wise men and women used to counsel us to beware our carnal cravings and care for the mentally disturbed.
To hell with discipline we now say. Get while the getting’s good. Take before someone takes from you. Harry Belafonte encourages the president to imprison people who disagree with his political ideology. And for reasons that have no lasting importance—his skin color and “King of Calypso” cultural designation—we listen to Harry. How Martin Luther King would grieve this state.
Can we cure this rot? I wonder. Setting standards, supporting hard work, encouraging determined effort, challenging excuses, and refusing to allow our friends, neighbors, colleagues, politicians and leaders to look the other way when bad behavior happens is so old-school. So square. So not cool. I pray—another ‘so not cool’ thing—that we see the destruction we are wreaking on human kind and care enough to save ourselves.