Sir Edmond Burke, "Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver."
(It gets to football eventually, I promise. If nothing more, PLEASE READ THE LAST THREE PARAGRAPHS).
I want to apologize up front for this. I said my last post would be...my last post on this subject. But 84bsufan made a comment to my last post that was a slap in the face...a good one. He is right. In my last post I said something in the spirit of what I thought was fairness that he disagreed with. I said, "Joe is a good man, no doubt. I don't believe in sinking an otherwise good person for something stupid, even as stupid as this." With 84bsufan, and the insight of my wonderful wife, I have to take my chastisement and own up to some things.
First, when you are traumatized as child you can't process the situation normally. Psychologists will tell you that the logic ties we make as a child can transition into adulthood. Essentially meaning that a person still deals with the recollection of the abuse with the logic of a child. I was sexually abused as a child. All I thought, for several years, is it was I that had done something wrong. I cannot over emphasize the weight that was constantly on my conscience.
Ultimately I collapsed emotionally and "confessed" to a trusted adult. I say confessed, because that's what I thought I was doing. Even when I finally spoke about it, my motivation for doing so was messed up. What added to my despair is that I was not believed, and the look I got from that person said everything I knew to be true...I was a horrible little kid. Nothing was done for me.
Because I loved that person so much, I have developed a coping mechanism. It is to find whatever way I can to preserve that person's (the trusted adult) image. I want so desperately to find an excuse for why she did what she did. So... I say things like "She is a good woman, no doubt. I don't believe in sinking an otherwise good person for something stupid."
But, as my wife points out, I was subsequently re-abused, continued to believe that there was no way I could get out of it, and even worse, blamed myself for it all. I was a tiny kid. 84bsufan, until you said what you said I continued to make excuses for the person who chose to do nothing with what she knew. What she did, I now realize may be even worse than what was otherwise happening to me. She let me continue to be abused and for all I know allowed other young boys to be abused as well. Even worse than that, she set the stage for how I felt about the abuse for 35 years. She chose to be, for lack of a better term, evil.
You think you're not screwed up anymore. You think you've overcome it. Yet, 35 years later, I now realize, I'm still affected. I find myself asking if I will ever be free of it. Now I find myself wondering, are there any real good people in the world? My wife thinks so, but I doubt it. But, if I were to believe again it would be because of my dear wife.
I've spent some time in reflection. I'm bookish, so I read, and I like philosophical points of view. Particularly, I like succinct statements that are worded in a way that both conveys the gravity of a topic with a logical point. Here are some I've come across in the last couple of days.
Dante (c1265–1321), the famous Italian poet, philosopher, and political activist wrote, "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crises maintain their neutrality."
A quote commonly attributed to Sir Edmond Burke states, "All that is necessary for evil to triuph is for good men to do nothing."
My wife shared with me a Mormon scripture that states their philosophy concerning people that do good for the sole purpose of praise. To summarize, the scripture says, "Priestcrafts are that men set themselves up for a light unto the world that they may get the praises of the world."
Famous author, Charles Caleb Colton stated, "Applause is the spur of noble minds and the end aim of weak ones."
And, I would like to share with you an excerpt from a letter that my great, great, great (Don't know how many greats) grandfather wrote to his son living in England, while he was a captain (I believe) during the civil war. He states, "Of good men be skeptical, for there are true men, but many there are that act the part for his want of praise. But when un-watched, feels no duty but to do as he pleases, and will sacrifice a thousand good men to hide a single sin."
If you've made it this far, you're probably about ready to report this post because it's not about football. Here is my point, which brings this all back around to football. Joe was addicted to praise, and when something, even as horrible as child abuse threatened what HE had built, he wanted it hidden. He sacraficed many good kids to hide a single sin, to paraphrase my grandfather. Proof of this is that he saw Sandusky every day, knowing that there were TWO incidences of him being reported for sexual assault of a child, and never reconcidered what he did to cover it up.
Right now there are students that are guarding Joe Paterno's statue. They rioted the night Joe Paterno was fired. Dispite the evidence against Joe, these students, his family, and blind fans are in denial. Like the trusted adult I confessed to so many years ago, they are making decisions that are very harmful to those that were victimized. Every time they (the victims) see this going on, the temptation to question whether coming forward was the right thing to do must cross their mind. Remember, they deal with the events with the mentality of a child. Everytime I watch the news I feel for them. Penn State and its culture has been, very litterally, Pedophile State University. They are carrying on the tradition of the Foul Four (Joe, Curley, Spanier, and Shultz), by still focusing on the reputation of their fine institution, and not the kids.
The Foul Four thought more of the football program than of the life of a child. The students, relatives, and fans that continue to protect Joe are, perhaps unaware of their own psychology, continuing with the same mentality. They need to stop and think...is protecting Joe (his statue, legacy, reputation), any different than what Joe himself was trying to do? They are looking past the depth of dispair that only a victim of abuse can know to protect a man who has been exposed as a man who worked very hard to be good, but only "for his want of praise."
For the sake of argument, let's say that keeping the statue is completely moral. What would you do if one of those children came to you and said, "I know it's asking a lot, but would you take down Joe's statue. It hurts me to see it." Wouldn't you do that for a child? Haven't we all done something for someone else because we want to make them feel good about themselves? Something that we otherwise wouldn't have done?
But as it turns out, they are so wrapped up in the legacy of Joe Paterno that they are not willing to feel the influence of their own humanity begging them to protect the souls of suffering children. Shame on me for being a survivor that took 35 years to realize the betrayal I received at the hand of a "trusted adult." Shame on Pedophile State University for protecting a man's image without regard to what they owe 15 (probably more) young boys for allowing a culture of hero worship to flourish. A culture that resulted in the protection of the Foul Four. A culture that still believes they should not be culpable for anything that happened.
For those that continue to argue that to punish the university or the football program is over reaching, consider BoiseBlue's logic, which was summarized so well in my last post. Wasn't the motive for protecting a pedophile so that the football program wound't take a hit? Don't equivocate by saying "they were not protecting the program, they were just protecting themselves." Joe was the program, and what other motive would they have had? How many recruits came to PSU who wouldn't otherwise have come if they knew the truth? How much money was donated to the program that wouldn't have if the donors knew the truth? How much in media contracts, stadium revenues, etc. would Pedophile State University have gotten if we all knew the truth?
Since the cover up was done expressly to protect the football program, how is this any different than any other lack of institutional control? If you argue otherwise, you need to take a minute to think about what occurred and how it compares to the penalties that other football programs have received for infinitely lesser infractions. I came to a realization, and we all need to come to a realization...it should all be about the kids. PSU should do whatever those kids need. PSU needs to admit that the culture was a part of the problem and that the culture needs its fair share of punishment too.
To quote Sir Edmond Burke again, "Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver." Why can't Pedophile State University realize they were the giver, and they need to be punished for their corruption too. Not just Joe.