Friday, December 11, 2009

Just a Question or Two

Because I have not followed this closely, my pool of information is sketchy at best and should not be relied upon for accuracy.

One of my favorite people in the universe of “well knowns” is in hot water because of marital indiscretions. Much of what most would call private life is now exposed to public view accompanied by “oh my!” and “what a shame” and “how could he?” The check out aisle at the super market is cluttered with his picture and varying claims of the number of his paramours. In general, the attitude of the press has been one of “gotcha.” This man whose public persona has been near perfect over a lifetime, is now an object of derision, deprecating humor, and scandal mongering by those who could never come close to ever duplicating his simplest accomplishments.

Lost in the sea of condemnation is the heavy sigh of relief on the part of millions of men and women that he was the target of discovery and not they themselves. We have demonstrated as a society that we are a pretty two-faced bunch when the evidence of someone’s infidelity oozes to the surface. The difference is that when it’s the guy next door or the gal who lives down the road, there are not regiments of reporters present to chronicle every sweaty moment. Each electronic message is not discovered, aired, analyzed, and dissected to be later exposed for the world to see. Suddenly, extra-curricular sexual activity is the high crime of the day and missing is the admonition: “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Breaking a vow, any vow, is nothing to be ignored or diminished in importance. Most of us have in the past sworn, before God, to be faithful to our spouse. Some of us have entered into that covenant more than once. There is nothing stipulated in the pact which indicates a clause which says, “until I get caught.” One famous ex-president (no, not Clinton) admitted adultery because he had “lusted after a woman in his heart.” God’s capacity for forgiveness is legendary and actual as well. However, it is well to remember that those decisions are reserved for His judgment and based upon our level of repentance and not our feeble moral appraisals. The outcome of that judgment will become apparent in the afterlife and will not be on the morning news.

This also presents a moment in US history which I have noticed and shall attempt to explain as I see it. We have two prominent men in the public eye, of mixed racial heritage, who are both credited with advancing the cause of black Americans beyond any former status. For both, a level of credulity is allowed because they have both reached the ultimate height of their chosen professions. Historically, the comparison ends here. Their public faces are universally recognized and their accomplishments acknowledged but their methodology in achievement varies widely.

With the first, and at the beginning, we find a tiny child (3 or 4 years old) on the Tonight Show, amazing Johnny Carson with his putting ability. Under the mentoring of an adoring and demanding father he continued to hone his skills and achieved countless awards in collegiate and amateur sports. Immediately after turning pro, he rewarded his followers with a win at the Greater Milwaukee Open and captured the hearts of golfers worldwide. As a result of constant training, relentless practice, and absolute dedication to an ironclad work ethic, he carried on to become one of the, if not the finest in his profession--ever. He excelled in an otherwise “lily white” field to become the best. His fantastic success put the lie to claims of “no opportunity” for Americans because of race. He came to be the absolute personification of total professionalism. In so doing, he became immensely wealthy and shared with the less fortunate to elevate them as well. Through tour wins, investments, and endorsements he became the poster boy for hard won success in America. His most important accomplishment is his position as a role model for young people of every background to strive to achieve the American dream. There is no evidence of benefit from affirmative action in his history.

For the second man, we have a near fatherless youth, schooled in foreign lands, finally winding up under the tutelage and care of grandparents. Much in the actual details of his youth remains somewhat murky, including the particulars of his birth and early sworn allegiances. Although we have been denied the verifiable facts of his schooling, we do know that he went to Columbia and then on the Harvard. His first brush with excellence came when named head of the Harvard Law Review. This was no mean accomplishment but we have little in publication to review his performance.

Upon arrival in Chicago, he became involved in community organizing and although we have little of a concrete nature to attribute to his efforts in that enterprise, he managed to ascend and gain the attention of new friends and sponsors. In that twenty year period, he attracted a large number of people who are best described as not having the country’s best interests at heart. Ayers, Rezko, Wright, et al were examples of those who exerted undue influence and support. Using an age-old device of eliminating competition, he went from the state senate to the US Senate. There, his record of voting “present” on most issues established a pattern of being non-committal and concentrating on his individual personality over the matters of state. A gifted orator, (or reader of Teleprompters) he advanced to the presidency and you currently are aware of his record from there. Without the benefit of access to his records it is unlikely we can determine how much of his success was attributable to affirmative action.

On more than a few occasions, I heard various inquiries about the golfer’s opinion on the 2008 presidential election. In every case, he was non-committal on support or antagonism to either candidate and remained distant from the race. Any bias was undetectable and frankly, welcome in the heat of election. In retrospect, one wonders if there might be some residual resentment because of non-support of a particular candidate. With a compliant press, it would be easy to do a hatchet job of reprisal for non-support. There is no concrete evidence of complicity of the White House to further damage the reputation of the country’s greatest golfer. It does pose a question though.

The issue of the infidelity is, and should remain, a matter of concern primarily to him and his wife. My, or your, belief or disbelief in the facts of the matter as reported are immaterial and actually, none of our business. With news which actually does concern us breaking constantly, it does appear that the media, as usual, has its priorities mixed up.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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