Mike Barnicle

This is no joke

Mike Barnicle

There is a price to be paid when society is constantly disrupted and reality is continually distorted.

A couple of days ago, Bill Clinton — a man who can’t keep his hands off interns half his age, has a sex life that Amy Fisher would be embarrassed to own and behaves as if his real name was President Joey Buttafuoco — actually told a group of media moguls at the White House that they had to learn “self-control” and how to restrain themselves from wallowing in sex and violence.

Clinton’s latest effort in hypocrisy and shamelessness came at a conference prompted by the shootings at Columbine High School. Its purpose was to explore possible causes behind two children — and they were children — killing so many of their classmates.

Of course, the truth is, we could no more come up with an answer to their bizarre behavior than we could understand why there was a tornado in Oklahoma rather than Vermont.

Unfortunately, this country has little appetite for truth and hasn’t had for quite some time.

For example, the truth is that millions of people of all ages have been exposed to the garbage pouring out of Hollywood’s septic tank for years, yet the vast majority of us still manage to lead normal lives.

Plus, no matter what we want to think, our kids absolutely see a horrendous share of pornography and violence in all its forms beamed across all sorts of boulevards — the TV , the movie screen, the home computer — and most of them go to high school with books, not assault rifles.

So maybe the real reason that we seem to be constantly in the process of a mental breakdown has less to do with predictable hot-button items like “gun-control” and “media excess” than it does with the fact that we have spent the last three decades altering the foundations of American life — family and faith — by accepting constantly changing definitions and tolerating actions that were once socially unacceptable.

Here is just one small example: for years, people from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, put hand-lettered signs on the dashboard of cars parked at the curb outside their homes. The signs would read “No Radio Inside.” They would be there so potential thieves would pass by. But the signs were actually a concession — a surrender of sorts — to hoodlums who’d changed the way we lived.

Along the way, we managed to toss in the towel on a lot of larger fights, too. We sat like mutes while a whole host of traditions that stabilized society collapsed around us.

We were too afraid of disapproval to point out that two parents were better than one.

That an awful lot of single mothers had the toughest job in the world with too little assistance available.

That abortion became just a bit too acceptable.

That quotas could never guarantee equality.

That welfare was not as worthwhile as work.

That excuses are not the same as explanations.

That schoolteachers, police and parents deserve to be respected rather than sued.

That teenagers are not supposed to live in a democracy — they’re supposed to live at home, where rules are obeyed and responsibilities are met by everyone - adults and kids, too.

That there is a price to be paid when society is constantly disrupted and reality is continually distorted.

Of course, we are not used to hearing the truth. We haven’t been for at least 35 years.

Or, when Lyndon Johnson and others began lying 55,000 men right into their graves.

And maybe, when historians attempt to assess the root of our current cultural confusion, they will arrive at that terrible period when America was divided and nearly destroyed by Vietnam.

Now, we have another liar in the White House. And, I’m sorry if that label offends you, but his behavior has been far more offensive.

So there is no way any panel of politicians can pinpoint the reasons for the irrational acts of two young lunatics.

All of us know that there is a sickness in our society, but it might not be what we’ve come to expect.

It might not be the appearance of violence in our midst, so much as it is the daily acceptance of it in our courts, our kitchens, our classrooms, even our Congress. Every single day, all across America, criminals plea-bargain away rape, murder, spousal abuse and armed assault.

Schoolkids are isolated or ignored if they are poor, slow or simply different.

Institutions become indifferent, politicians become paranoid about the public they are supposed to serve and rely on polls for guidance rather than instinct and courage.

And that, my friends, is no joke. It’s merely the truth.


TYSK eagle

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