Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just Desserts

Today I am shedding a little "lyte" on consequences.  I have a bagful of stock phrases that my poor kids have heard since birth, these are two of my favorites, "I will not reward bad behavior" and "That's the logical consequence to your poor choice".

Like 99.9% of America, I grew up in a dysfunctional family.  Often, punishments were not tied to any particular crime and my parents definitely played favorites.  Don't cry for me, thanks to a lot of therapy and the strong support of my sister, I have emerged almost intact.  Anyhow, once I had my own kids, I vowed to be a different parent from my parents.

It's funny, how we parent is usually either an exact duplicate of how we were parented or the polar opposite, but that's a topic for another day.  So, I am continually frustrated to watch how often bad behavior is not just rewarded, it is positively celebrated.  For example, Rush Limbaugh.

This comic is a convicted criminal who abused Oxycontin so bad that he damaged his hearing.  He  allegedly doctor-shopped, had prescriptions written out to his housekeeper that were used by him, a real role model for today's youth.  Now, if Rush was you or I, no big deal, just another example of the wonders of modern medicine.  But Rush Limbaugh isn't a regular guy.  His radio showed is listened to by millions of obviously confused people and he is the de facto leader of the Republican party.

He has regularly blasted ordinary mortals for their drug abuse, especially poor women addicted to crack.  He routinely called for tougher drug laws and showed no mercy for those caught in clutches of an addiction.  But when he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar?  Oh I'm a victim, I need help, poor me.  The very behaviors he mocked in those he considered as lesser human beings.  

Now when this clown was convicted, did he lose his job?  Did his listeners, charmingly referred to as "ditto heads", demand the he take responsibility for his crimes and serve some well earned time as a guest of the great state of Florida?  No, of course not.  All is forgiven, here's a slap on wrist, a small fine, some time spent on probation.  He did have the decency to atone for his crimes?  Fat chance.  He now earns more money and has more deluded people hanging on his every hypocritical word.  If a Republican politician dares to criticize this former junkie, they get to go on his radio show and kiss his big, hypocritical ass.  I guess irony doesn't exist for ditto heads and Republicans.

Another example, banks and credit card companies.  They have taken our money to bail themselves out of situations that they themselves created.  Credit card companies changed themselves into bank holding corporations so they could qualify for TARP funds.  Have these companies showed the same compassion for the very people that bailed them out when those tax payers have some financial troubles?  Oh no, they raise their rates, cut off their credit, and torpedo their credit scores.  They hand out huge bonuses, go on junkets to exotic locales, and purchase new corporate jets.  They continue to foreclose homes.  Now they are fighting tooth and nail to limit the regulations our government wants to impose, the caps on executive compensation, and the opportunities you and I would have to renegotiate our mortgages.  I guess irony doesn't exist for bankers and credit card executives.

We cannot move forward as country if we continue to reward bad behavior and protect people and institutions from the logical consequences for their poor choices.  It is one thing to be a victim of circumstance, it another to braid your own rope, and then insist that anyone but you hang from it.  It is time for a little just desserts.  Open wide....

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