A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, November 12, 2011

They Just Don’t Get It Syndrome

The big story rocking the state of Pennsylvania this week is the tragic events unfolding in Happy Valley when a member of Joe Paterno’s coaching staff was indicted for molesting young boys. The story barely broke a week ago, and already the fallout has been swift and severe. So far, Paterno has been fired, Penn State University’s president has resigned, and at least two other university administrators have seen their careers evaporate before their eyes.

All of these punishing events are happening after years of turning a blind eye to horrible events done within the confines of an established and respected institution. One local reporter went as far as to compare Penn State’s sex scandal to the one that has been haunting the Roman Catholic Church for the last 20 years. Both scandals do share similarities. Penn State University and the church are both revered and cherished institutions. The misdeeds which happened within their environments were reported through channels, but further action against the perpetrators faltered somewhere up in the hierarchy.

Today, many regrets are being voiced. Some commentators are shaking their heads at the overall traditional attitude that the institution is more sacred than the safety and well being of humans victimized by horrible assaults. In Penn State’s case, there is not only the sanctity of the football program, but also the millions of dollars in revenue that the program generates for the school. It's almost as if the attitude has been “Money trumps all! Get over it!”

Actually, now that I think about it, this attitude is pervasive through many other of mankind’s cherished institutions. This doesn’t necessarily leave Penn State off the hook. The perpetrators and those that cover up the behavior all seem to suffer from a case of not getting it or a pathetic lack of concern for others who have been adversely affected by their actions. I would like to say that this is the only example of “not getting it” in this section of the country, but I would be sadly mistaken.

For example, there was the recent election for Montgomery County Commissioners, an office which requires three people. During the last term, the commissioner’s office was stymied by a bipartisan snub by two of the officials against the third member. Former high profile district attorney Bruce Castor was excluded from county commissioner business by Republican Jim Matthews and Democrat Joe Hoeffel.

Consequently, it does not appear that the commissioners accomplished very much during this term. Castor always seem to be eager to portray himself as a victim of politics, although he himself has been quoted as saying he is not a consensus builder, which is a vital skill that should be highly valued by the electorate. This week’s election replaced Matthews and Hoeffel with two Democrats. Once again, Castor will fill the third seat since he had the third highest number of votes and a state law that requires the minority party be represented on the board. In the election’s aftermath, Castor was quoted as saying that the Democrats won the seats due to higher registration of Democratic voters in the county and the amount of money the Democrats spent on the campaign.

Actually, he was only two-thirds correct and demonstrated that he also suffers from they just don’t get it syndrome. He could have been totally honest if he had also admitted, “The Republican Party may have lost its grip on Montgomery County politics for the first time in 140 years because I was perceived as acting like an egotistical prima donna, which caused my fellow commissioners to treat me like a leper.” He could have said that, but he didn’t.

The they just don’t get it syndrome is also evidenced at the state level. Natural gas lobbyist and alleged governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, doesn’t get it. With thousands of miles of state roads and thousands of bridges in disrepair, the state infrastructure is begging for a badly needed fix. Does Corbett realize that a well maintained infrastructure is a vital part of the state’s economy? Does he know that private enterprise is not capable of the Herculean task of implementing the necessary investment in resources and jobs to solve the problem? Apparently not, as he has given the state’s infrastructure woes a low priority behind his pet project of promoting school vouchers in the state.

Corbett realizes that investment resources can come from increased state revenue, or in other words, taxes! Problem is he has chosen to follow the pledge of no taxes by anti-progressive Grover Norquist. The “governor” can only kick this can down the road. Let someone else worry about the roads tomorrow and never mind that it will likely cost much more to fix the crumbling bridges later on. When it comes to investments for the common good, Corbett doesn’t get it.

Admittedly, Castor’s and Corbett’s sins don’t come close to the scale of the tragedy at Penn State. Still, we should recognize this too human folly of feigning ignorance in many situations so we can solve the problems posed by said situations. Joe Paterno has harshly learned this lesson this week. He now realizes he could have done more by looking to himself, rather than to others to deal with the assaults at Penn State. Finally, JoePa gets it.

(Thank you for reading.)


Anonymous Janey said...

If Penn State wishes to show that it finally "gets it", then the whole football prgram should be scrapped. That's right: eliminated. The maybe the university will again be noted for academics, instead of a one-man football show.

If Bruce Castor wishes to show that he "gets it", then he'll act upon his stated desire to "come in fourth" in the election, and give his seat to someone -- anyone -- who is less of a petulent whiner. For Bruce doesn't "get" that it's not all about him.

November 13, 2011 at 7:13 AM  
Anonymous Janey said...

Furthermore: If PA voters want to show that they "get it" about our need for infrastructure repairs, then they'll recall Corbett and get someone as Governor who isn't showering with the Marcellus gas drillers!

November 13, 2011 at 7:15 AM  

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