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Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Is Wrong With Penn State Students?

Germany is famous for its great cars, and if you have ever had a chance to drive one in Germany, you know that it is one of the few places in the world where you can really drive a German car. The German Autobahn is built for speed, and it is quite common to see cars whiz by at speeds well above 100 mph. If you are a car lover, Germany is the place for you.

Hitler built the autobahn system. He is also responsible for one of the world's favorite cars - the people's car - the VW Beetle or Bug - Star of multiple Hollywood movies, and near and dear to the heart's of many. What a great guy was Adof Hitler! He did so much for the automobile industry. Don't you just love him? Perhaps we might say that if Herr Hitler had topped out his career as Secretary of Transportation, and had limited his accomplishments to matters of mobility. He also painted pretty pictures and loved dogs and children, by the way.

Unfortunately for any would-be Hitler fans, he killed millions and millions of people. He had Jews searched out and slaughtered not just in Germany, but throughout the better part of an entire continent. I don't know if he ever personally killed a single human being, but that is irrelevant because he was the party in charge.

So nobody really cares whether Hitler liked dogs, children, painting or the construction of motorways. His crimes against humanity erase whatever good the guy did 1000 fold. That's how it should work. When leaders kill their people, it is hard to still call them leaders. We choose leaders and endow certain members of society with responsibilities and privileges to serve a particular purpose - the head of a nation is supposed to protect the people and do what is in their best interests so that they may pursue productive and reasonably happy lives. Murdering them is not in the job description.

Which brings me to Penn State. Penn State is a school, by the way - it is easy to confuse it with a professional sports organization because recent events focus on coaches and football. But it is, in fact, a school where parents send their children to receive an education. Football is an organized sport which is pursued for recreation and entertainment - a leisure activity - a luxury our prosperity allows us. We do not build and finance schools for the purpose of playing football. Organisations like the NFL and AFL exist for football. We have schools to educate and benefit our youth.

That is why the recent events at Penn State are particularly obscene and inexcusable. In an institution set up specifically for the benefit of the young, we learn that it is a haven for those who would abuse and torture them. It negates the very reason for its existence.

From the janitor to the president of Penn State, the sole reason for their employment is to enhance the well-being of our youth. It is not to create or preserve a reputation, generate resources or win a football game. Reputations are earned through deeds. The best way to acquire or preserve a good reputation is to perform good deeds. Instead, we have adults using the school's reputation to do evil.

The really troubling thing is that there seems to be a large number of students who have no grasp of right and wrong, and no understanding of the purpose of the institution they are attending. So enamored are they of their charismatic coach, that they are willing to overlook the fundamental evil which was allowed to fester under his watch. Instead of stepping up to the plate and accepting the responsibility which justifies his paycheck, Joe Paterno thinks he can cruise through the rest of the season and retire on his own terms, despite the fact that he has been utterly derelict in the duties his position demands. He has not furthered the well-being of the youth - he has allowed for the total destruction of the lives of at least 20 young boys.

The trustees of Penn State did not do this to Joe Paterno, Joe Paterno did this to himself. We do not put people in positions of authority to idolize them, we put them there to serve a purpose, and they are compensated well because we expect them to make the difficult calls, not just bask in the glory afforded to their position.

It does not bode well for us as a nation when our youth is willing to defend corruption and evil, just because the guy is a favorite coach, just as we don't forget the Hitler horrors when we drive speedily down the German Autobahn. There is not enough good in the world you can do to justify this evil.


PS: To the board of Trustees at Penn State: Every last one of those students who are participating in those riots should be expelled immediately. If you allow them to earn degrees from Penn State, you will deprecate the value of a degree from Penn State to be equivalent to used toilet paper. Starting right here. Until the students are expelled, a Penn State degree is garbage. What sort of animals are you keeping there at your institution, anyway?


Sarah said...

Well said, very well said. While I wouldn't quite compare Joe Paterno to Hitler, I get the intent of the comparison.

Retro Housewife said...

Hmmm. I don't really want to compare him to Hitler - I want to say that if you overlook terrible things a person does you can end up liking Hitler - some things just can't be excused. I will have to think about how to change it.

Retro Housewife said...

although the rape of a child is right up there on the list of evil...

Jenn said...

Geez...even the mention of Hitler seems to make people lose all reasoning these days. An analogy of a situation does not imply an analogy of the people in the situation. Even Hank Williams Jr. seemed (to me) to have been comparing situations, NOT people. Like, you know, Hitler and Netanyahu would probably not have golfed together due to their, shall we say, conflicting interests? I mean, do you think Boehner thought he was being likened to Netanyahu? (Sadly, Boehner probably couldn't even comprehend the merits of the analogy ...but I digress) RH...I completely understood your point. Don't change it.