Time to Start Speaking Up

Sunday, July 12, 2009

As I've been watching TV the last few weeks, I've again find myself both saddened and appalled by the behavior of a lot of men in power and influence.

Its not just greed. Its a pretty much wreckless disregard for the feelings and lives of others.

Its also based off a feeling that they could all get away with these things and there would be no consequences.

Nothing is worse than Governor Mark Sanford and Senator John Ensign. Having affairs is bad enough, but these two really take the cake.

Sanford with his trips to Argentina while he was supposed to be governing. Ensign giving hush money to the family to cover up his infidelity. Both incidents are just horrid.

Yes, this stance is tougher than my stance on McNair, but I'm getting back to him in a sec.

However, the standard for elected officials is higher than that for athletes. Society slaps higher standards on celebrities and athletes because they make more money, even though we all know full well most of those people are not good role models.

With elected officials, you hold yourself out to be someone of higher character and take on the responsibility of representing groups of people. You are accountable for not just yourself but for an entire state. If you are not ready for that burden, you should not run.

But I can't turn a blind eye to our stars either. As Dwil and the 2 Guys and A Mic discussed a couple of days ago, it seems like guy code rules the day when it comes to athlete behavior. Athletes at times do whatever they want and unfortunately, the results can be tragic.

Its time for this stuff to end.

At the heart of it all, at least to me, is just that men (me included) often feel like we can handle anything. That there is no jam we can't get out of and that we have everything under control.

This is worsened by two other things. First is the fact that we generally don't communicate well. Second is that when we do hear of something, guy code prevails instead of common sense.

While I try to speak up when I feel like a friend is doing something reckless, I generally say my piece and leave it alone. Only with relatives and extremely close friends will I really push the envelope on bad behavior. Beyond that, I know plenty of doctors, lawyers, etc who are quite out in the open about their vices whether it be drugs, alcohol, women or domestic abuse. I would imagine that quite a few of us are in the same boat.

Yet, when these situations inevitably boil over, everyone is stunned.

While the incidents are different, another common thread between Sanford, Ensign, and McNair is that there were people around them who knew what was going on. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if all of them had taken strong stands against their behavior.

I'm not saying that everyone should become a self righteous blowhard, harping on people everytime they sip a beer. But, at the same time, we do need to step up to the plate more often and let people know we find their behavior unacceptable and warn them of the dangers of their conduct.

I can't say you won't lose a friend. But you might just save a life.

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