The Deeper Meaning of Penn State Rapes

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The alleged sexual crimes committed against children at Penn State have been called sexual abuse and scandal. They are in fact, alleged crimes and torture of children. They are heinous, if the allegations are true. Outside an institution with a reputation and integrity to protect, almost any witness to such crime would call the police. Inside institutions of repute, however, too many such crimes against women, men, and children, go unreported, and covered up. Are our institutions more important than the innocent people harassed, abused, or even tortured, within them? So far, the answer seems to be, yes.

Institutions are, by definition, organized to exert power. Institutions can exert power for the betterment of people within reach of the institution, or, for the satisfaction of the cravings of persons in positions of power within those institutions, at the expense of others. Power over others is supposed to come with the ability to respond appropriately to the rights and needs of others.

Nearly everyone would agree that parents have both power over, and responsibility for, the welfare of their children. We have laws designed to insure that parents who violate that responsibility are denied such power. Why should this concept be different within our society's institutions? Is it different?

This writer argues that within institutions, many hold the view that it is a different standard for the powerful in our institutions, and that their power, however used for right or wrong, is justified by the benefits received by those within that institution. There is no better example of this than the Penn State Athletic Department in which it is alleged, that an institutional cover-up of the crimes were employed. The rationale was simple.

The Athletic Dept. did more for the reputation and funding of the University over the years, than any other department within the institution. Ergo, a standard was adopted that said, above all else, do no harm to the Athletic Dept. regardless of the actions of that department. The reputation of the Department became more important than any individuals setting foot on the Penn State campus, including the children. Not even the laws of our nation and society were to take precedence over the reputation of the Penn State Athletic Department.

This is not an isolated instance in American institutions and society. The allegations of two of the four women claiming sexual harassment, are given credence by Presidential candidate Herman Cain's organization having settled financially with the two women. The "too big to fail banks" were created allowing them to become more central to the economy and nation than jobs, credit, investors, and all other businesses threatened with a lack of available cash to continue operations. Dow Chemical's reputation was more important than the Agent Orange which killed so many American soldiers via cancers, long after the Viet Nam War was over. The oil companies reputation and profits have been deemed more important than Asthma sufferers in our cities, and the fishery industry in our coastal regions (Exxon Valdez and Gulf of Mexico oil platform disaster). Political rivalry between Democrats and Republicans continues to deny our nation and all its working people an economic recovery that will allow us to effectively manage our debt in future years.

There is an old saying that had great credence during the founding of our nation. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Why has America abandoned such wisdom? America is being overrun by consequences of actions with entirely foreseeable futures. When President Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, overturning FDR's Glass-Steagal Act, it was apparent that the threat of too-big-to-fail banks had been raised to Depression era levels. It is big news today in the media the threat to us all of failing to invest in, and upgrade, our nation's infrastructure. It is foreseeable what will happen. America will lose the ability to compete economically with other nations. And yet, America is incapable of ponying up that ounce of prevention due to the GOP and Democratic Party institutions of political warfare.

What is lacking is a national consensus that demands responsible action, and is willing to deliver consequences to those in leadership who fail to live up to that responsibility. The 99%'ers, or Occupy Wall St. crowds, have offered this nation an opportunity to build that consensus with consequences on Election Day. But, support for their discontent remains tepid, and the American people remain largely divided by the sophisticated political distractions and divisions of our two party, bought and paid for, political system.

I personally believe the "Get The Money Out Of Politics" movement, calling for a constitutional amendment requiring public campaign financing of elections and banning corporate and organized campaign financing, is the answer for what ails America's failed leadership, political, and governing systems. If politicians no longer have to pander to special wealthy minority interests to get reelected, they will be forced to turn to the needs of the nation and the people at large for direction in law making and leadership, if reelection and seats of power are what they seek.

Of course, the current lot of incumbents in government will not willingly dump the current campaign financing system. It is what shores up their high probability of reelection (77% in 2010). Therefore, an all out campaign against incumbents in government, which seeks to elect challengers in support of getting the money out of politics, as recommended by Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy, is absolutely necessary.

If you don't vote, don't gripe; you are part of the problem, not the solution. If you vote for incumbents, or one of the two major parties, you are voting to keep the current failed government system in place. Only if you are voting out incumbents and for challengers, are you voting for the possibility of change for the better. As long as the Dem's and Republicans are allowed to continue to divide us voters, our national challenges will continue to march toward systemic failure and collapse, in the footsteps of Europe's Greece and Italy, where the institutions were allowed to protect themselves from public backlash resulting from the institution's own misdeeds and counter-productive acts.

Penn State is a warning of far deeper and more pervasive destructive forces at play in shaping our nation's future. Failure to act with outrage toward the perpetrators requires that ever more dire consequences will have to be paid in the future.

(This article was previously published at Vote Out Incumbents Democracy)

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 14, 2011 4:17 PM.

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