10 Op-Ed/Social Commentaries: “When Defiance Becomes Selfishness” – Forum Post Re: Maine Nurse’s Quarantine Protest … and other commentaries

Following are 10 forum posts, articles (and one film review) where I address a current socio-political “hot button” issue—or just respond to something absurd I had read online that was, in my opinion, just begging for a humorous commentary.

Some are more vitriolic than others (depending on the issue—and the mood that I was in that day).  Following these forum posts (and one article) are links to blog posts on this portfolio that represent a “kinder and gentler” form of social commentary.

Within this post, in order, they are:

(1) When Defiance Becomes Selfishness – Social commentary on the response of the Maine Nurse’s public protestation against being “locked up” in quarantine.

(2) Eliminate Your Cat. Before It Eliminates You.  Humorous commentary on well-funded research study that connects a cat’s feces to female suicide. Really.

(3)  Child Abuse: Time for a New Legal Distinction – My response to Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow trashing Woody Allen on Father’s Day, 2014.

(4) Dottie Sandusky: Helpless Victim or Accessory to a Crime?Here I explore (expanded since the first shorter forum commentary), whether Dottie Sandusky specifically—and wives of sexual predators in general—should be charged as accessories to their husband’s crimes—especially when they had evidence beforehand of their guilt.

(5)  They’re Not Acting. In Bollywood…It’s Hip to be a Hit Man Post in response to a brief article about actors in India’s Bollywood becoming hit men…for real!

(6)  Film Review: The Next Three Days, starring Russell Crowe, Liam Neeson, Brian Denehy, Elizabeth Banks and Jason Beghe.

Links to my other social commentaries – some of them funny, none of them filled with righteous indignation (well maybe one…a little).

(7)   Faces: The Father of Our Country vs. the King of Con. They Only Look Alike.

(8)   When Hollywood Had Heroes: What Got Jimmy Stewart through 20 Combat Missions

(9)  Building Character in Children: What a Single Mom Learned from Her Daughter About Sports

(10)   The Cure for the Wandering Eye: A French morality play that should be required viewing this Valentine’s Day

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#1 – When Defiance Becomes Selfishness –

10/29/14 FORUM POST RESPONSE TO NEWS ARTICLE ON THE EBOLA CRISIS AND THE MAINE NURSE:   (Posting as Unvarnished Truth)

Up Vote, Up Vote, Up Vote! You really hit it good with this post. Thank you!

“Best comment I have read on this topic.”

News Article: Hagel orders 21-day quarantine for all military personnel returning from Ebola mission in West Africa   – Fox News, Oct. 31, 1014

Forum Post  10/29/14

When Defiance Becomes Selfishness

Note to Ms. Hickox: For all our sake’s, show some humility and grace and get over yourself.  It’s one thing to become defiant when your rights are truly violated; for example, when you’re told that you must worship another God or die (ISIS), or on a more subdued scale, the government strips you of your parental rights when they force your child to learn something in school that runs contrary to what you’ve raised them to believe or you’re a woman being sexually harassed by your boss and told that you either “Keep quiet or lose your job.”

These are truly justifiable causes that most people could stand behind.  But someone who could potentially carry a virus that would prove deadly for a significant amount of the population refusing to abide by a reasonable law to prevent such an event because she’s “suffered” some mild indignities?   Like what? A toilet that doesn’t flush? No—not even close to being comparable as any surviving World War II Japanese-American who was “quarantined” for years in their own country could tell you.

My point? Ebola is scary but so is a sense of entitlement with the rallying cry of “My rights, it’s all about my rights!” that’s really infecting Ms. Hickox—and our culture at large. In short, this woman has taken on a cause that isn’t a cause—unless you count standing up for your right to be comfortable and hailed publicly as a hero a “right.”

Would it have been so terribly difficult for Nurse Hickox to have simply said, “Look, I don’t agree that I have Ebola but I empathize with people’s fears and get the fact that the government is doing its best to protect it’s citizens. Maybe I don’t agree with the way they’re going about it, but I understand that this is all new to them—and to American citizens (many of whom financially support Doctors without Borders and other humanitarian causes fighting Ebola)—so I will go along with the law and use my hard-fought liberties to make suggestions. And I will do this humbly and without arrogance where I feel things need to change.

If Ms. Hickox had the guts to go to another country and fight a deadly scourge, it’s time she summon the same courage to fight the scourge of pride and arrogance. She—and the country—would be better off for it.

 

Some comments in response to my forum post:

@unvarnishedtruth  “Best comment I have read on this topic.”
@ unvarnishedtruth  “Up Vote, Up Vote, Up Vote! You really hit it good with this post. Thank you!

@unvarnishedtruth  – “Great people don’t need to point out they’re great.” [Referring to Maine nurse’s contention that since she was in Africa taking care of Ebola patients  that in essence she was above the law and had “a right” to be treated differently.]
“Well stated” – SavvyWisdom 12 hours ago

@unvarnishedtruth  “Well said.”   JustJenna 5 hours ago

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#2 – Eliminate Your Cat. Before It Eliminates You.

My cat kills me.  Turns out, that’s actually quite litter-ally. According to yet another obscenely well-funded research study (that really makes me re-think my line of work), it’s not loneliness that’s causing single women to eliminate themselves, rather it’s their faithful furry friend’s elimination. Single women cat owners and butt-of-everyone’s-jokes beware—apparently your cat’s poop contains piles of toxic waste that contain a decidedly unfriendly strain of bacteria known as T. Gondii (not to be confused with  T.Ghandi, which would at least make your suicide experience a peaceful one). Of course, this is all coming from a doctor whose name itself sounds like a lethal toxin: Doctor Teodor Postolache. What I want to know is why aren’t men affected by this Gondi thing?  I have my own “pet” theory about this whole female suicide thing—one that I’m planning on extorting millions of dollars in research money to prove. Check me out on Go Fund Me.

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#3 – In response to: Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow lashing out at Woody Allen on Father’s Day via Twitter.  (I have two forum posts pasted below the links)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Jenni_Keast/woody-allens-son-ronan-farrow-lashes-out-fathers-day_n_1606162_166031772.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Jenni_Keast?action=comments&display=all&sort=newest

First Post:   Woody Allen and child abuse: Time for a new legal distinction

“A consenting adult? Lest you forget, this girl [Soon Yi, Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter] was not adopted as a 21-year-old girl. Allen played the role of a father towards this susceptible and trusting child, then manipulated that relationship and, in so, doing became a sexual predator—one who already had the pump primed, as it were. So I think a more fitting word would be “susceptible” adult—susceptible to a man with a penchant for perversion who took advantage of his daughter’s—biological or not—emotional connection to him. Rowan Farrow called it correctly: ” I cannot have a relationship with my father and be morally consistent… I lived with all these adopted children, so they are my family. To say Soon-Yi was not my sister is an insult to all adopted children.”

On a side note, and at the risk of sounding rather shallow, lucky for Ronan that he inherited his father’s brains, and not his looks. Just sayin.”   (Though really, does anyone really believe that Allen is Ronan’s real father…he’s totally the spittin’ image of ol’ Blue Eyes.)

Second Post: Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 21:39:20 in Celebrity

“I posted elsewhere about the erroneous semantics of “consenting adult” vs. “susceptible adult.” I think that verbiage needs to be legally changed in these kinds of cases. You’ll have to read my post (a reply to another poster) to get that clarification. Upshot: There is no justification for what Woody Allen did.

That being said, as someone once remarked, “Bitterness is a pill that you swallow but expect someone else to die from.” Allen may well be a tortured soul but it wasn’t anyone’s anger and bitterness against him—however justified—that added to that inner angst. That’s just not the way it works. At the end of the day, and before the end of one’s life, it’s best to rid yourself of unforgiveness—not for the other person’s sake, but for your own. You get eaten up alive and they just keep on going living their narcissistic self-indulgent life—pretty much oblivious to all the suffering they’ve caused. Who wins then?”

RESPONSES TO MY SECOND POST FROM TWO OTHER POSTERS ON THE SUBJECT OF FORGIVENESS  (I posted their comments first – in italics)

“Realistically, I KNOW that without some kind of action (like retribution/revenge) against my own abusive parents, my anger towards them (or anyone else who is no longer involved in my life) is useless, but it burns within me and nothing seems to be able to extinguish it! If I could cry, vomit or poop it out of me I ABSOLUTELY WOULD, but it remains… As fresh as and vibrant as a flower with poisonous thorns.”
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MiaMir on Dec 24, 2012 at 16:33:04
“You have a point, but I think you don’t have to forgive. All you have to do is realize how irrelevant these people are in your life, and not allow them to cause you anymore pain, or stop you from living the life you want. I think Ronan is there already, and good for him. Sometimes sarcasm is just an exercise of your own wit, for the fun of it..”

MY RESPONSE TO THESE TWO POSTERS:

I’m afraid you’re mistaken here.  Thinking someone “irrelevant” is the easy way out.  People fool themselves into thinking that because they have written someone off, that it sets them free from their clutches—from the power they have had in their life to harm and hurt them. But the truth is ignoring someone does not rid yourself of the cancer of unforgiveness—it only stuffs it under the surface where it rears its ugly head in other situations, with other people.  They call this “sublimation” or “transference.”  Trust me, it’s still there infesting your soul. I know because it happened to me, so I’m not speaking these words with any kind of moral high ground—just experience. It took me finally grasping the higher reality that because God forgave me for my sins, it was not an option for me to not to forgive others. Hope that helps. 🙂

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#4  Dottie Sandusky: Helpless Victim or Accessory to a Crime?

MISPRISION OF FELONY – Following is my expanded response (now article length) that I wrote originally as a post on a comment board. It was my response to an article written by a childhood victim of Jerry Sandusky’s systematic abuse of young boys. In this forum-post-turned- article,  I address the role of Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, who in my opinion, should have been held legally accountable for her concealment of her husband’s heinous acts.

Dottie Sandusky: Helpless Victim or Accessory to a Crime?

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.  ( US U.S. Code Title 18, § 4).

I’ll lay it flat-out. It sickens me to see so many articles and commentaries painting Dottie Sandusky as a victim of her husband’s serial pedophilia.  Even as recently as six months ago, two years after her husband had been incarcerated in a maximum security facility —duly tried and convicted because of the overwhelming evidence against him—she still maintains that “my husband is not a pedophile” and “I am not delusional.”

Not delusional? Forgive me for being crass, but let’s call it like it is: Normal heterosexual married men do not hug naked boys in showers, have regular sleepovers in their house (and in hotels) where they tell the children that “real men sleep naked” — after which these upstanding father figures give the innocent boys back rubs, as their hands “accidentally” slip down somewhere else on the child’s anatomy.

“At some point you must bear some responsibility for ignoring the obvious at the expense of the innocent.”

Yet even knowing this, and admitting that she witnessed some of this behavior (such as the shower scene), Mrs. Sandusky  just keeps on keeping on with her litanies of denial—testing the limits of everyone’s sympathy. Please don’t get me wrong, I do have compassion for the woman.  It can’t be easy to have to face the unimaginable, especially when it nullifies everything your thought you ever knew or believed—with the whole world looking at you on top of it. Nonetheless, at some point you must bear some responsibility for ignoring the obvious at the expense of the innocent.

And yet, Mrs. Sandusky still continues in her denials—almost pathologically so.

In a March 2014 Today show interview, Matt Lauer oh-so-delicately asks Mrs. Sandusky “Did you ever once doubt after reading all those charges that this just might be true?” The embattled wife’s response?  “Never. My husband and I have always been truthful with each other…he would never lie.”

“They [men] are entirely capable of becoming masters of compartmentalization … put another way, they can lie like a rug to the people closest to them and feel just fine walking around in that plush, thick carpet of crazy making for a very long time.”

Really, Mrs Sandusky?  While I’ll give you a few points for standin’ by your man, you’re living on another planet—one clearly not occupied by the male species. At the risk of painting too broad a brush here, men are entirely capable of compartmentalization. Some are masters at it. (Yes, women are not immune to this trait but it’s less common in females.) Put another way, if a man wants to hide a deep dark secret, he can lie like a rug to the people closest to him and feel just fine walking around in that plush, thick carpet of crazy making for a very long time.

But it’s one thing to lie to yourself because of a misplaced sense of blind loyalty; the unbearable humiliation of being married for decades to a man who secretly preferred young boys to you—his wife—and the uncomfortable reality that if your husband was living a lie all these years and on some level you knew this, but did nothing, that makes you an equal partner in the whole sordid mess. None of these reasons, are excusable, but they are somewhat understandable. Yet it’s quite another thing to then turn around and blame all the victims in order to keep from having to face the harsh reality that underneath your idyllic suburban life, your marriage was a basement filled with violated souls and the corpses of complicity.

Mrs. Sandusky, of course, denies that the she blamed the victims. Yet when asked point-blank by Lauer, “Are you saying all those boys lied?” she replied: “No, I’m not saying they lied.  I’m saying that I don’t believe their stories.”  

Come again?

Basically she was saying that these boys—including her own adopted son—changed their perceptions of reality based on “suggestions” from all their attorneys.  If this absurd allegation were true, this would mean that every attorney for every claimant was in on “the conspiracy,” breaking the law as a result. This would be a crime that would result in immediate disbarment.

“If she is delusional, it’s a self-imposed delusion—one that she willingly chose over all the evidence, all the feminine instincts, all the obvious signs that any wife who lived under the same roof with a man for 37 years — a husband she purported to know so intimately—would know.”

This may sound harsh to some, but the reality is that Mrs. Sandusky, like many other wives complicit in these kinds of perverted scenarios—whether it be incest, pedophilia or serial rape  (more recently Camille Cosby comes to mind)—knew exactly what was going on underneath her own roof for what turned out to be, decades. If she is delusional, it’s a self-imposed delusion—one that she willingly chose over all the evidence, all the feminine instincts, all the obvious signs that any wife who lived under the same roof with a man for 37 years — a husband she purported to know so intimately—would know.  (Interestingly, in a revealing moment at the start of the show, “the good wife” slipped up, used the wrong word and claimed that her husband had been “exonerated” vs. “convicted.” It took her a full five seconds to realize her mistake, so clearly Mrs Sandusky has a problem facing reality—even the fact that her husband is currently locked up behind bars.)

In my book, that makes Dottie Sandusky guilty of a crime; specifically of violating US U.S. Code Title 18, § 4. that reads, Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.  

The fact that Mrs. Sandusky formed a borderline dissociative personality to help her cope with what she didn’t want to believe doesn’t make her any less culpable. The fact that she was from a different generation where women “kept house” while the husbands worked (and therefore let her husband call all the shots) doesn’t make her any less culpable. The fact that she was afraid of losing her standing in the community didn’t make her any less culpable. Because at the end of the day it isn’t about Mrs. Sandusky and her desperate need to maintain the Status quo or even to keep herself feeling like she had a normal—albeit “fake”— life.

It’s about innocent children who were being systemically violated and victimized—most of them traumatized for a lifetime.

What about them? Why wasn’t Mrs. Sandusky thinking about their pain and suffering instead of herself when time and time again she witnessed things that she clearly knew were wrong—disturbing behavior that no rational person would consider healthy or normal.

Dottie Sandusky wasn’t/isn’t a mindless zombie—she’s a human being with a brain and a conscience. And allegedly a “good Christian woman.”  I’m a Christian and I can tell you unequivocally that if I willfully ignored children being violated and abused out of some deeply misguided sense of loyalty, I would—hopefully—have enough of the healthy fear of God in me to know that if I didn’t stand up to defend those who were unable to defend themselves, I would one day be called to account for this sin.  If Mrs. Sandusky reads her Bible, perhaps she needs to re-read the following verse, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea (Mark 9:42).

I’m quite sure that if the legal system allowed this type of punishment today, there would be plenty of volunteers—the parents of those boys being first in line—who would say, “Show me the cliff he’ll be on and I’ll be there. You bring the rope, I’ll bring the rock.”

Who could blame them?  I’m not advocating lynch mobs, nor am I saying that we shouldn’t ultimately forgive those who “wrongfully and despitefully use us.” (The need to forgive is more for our own sakes, then theirs.) What I am saying is that while there is no sin that is beyond His ability to forgive, there is nothing more despicable in God’s eyes then a person who “harms one of his these little ones.”

Mrs. Sandusky had a strong moral obligation to speak up for these boys—stronger than any marriage bond or emotional “bentness”—but didn’t. Worse, she’s calling these victims liars. I find that unconscionable.

I can’t end this admittedly emotional diatribe without mentioning what has to be the most offensive newspaper headline connected to this case: “A Betrayed Wife Whose Husband Cheated on Her with Little Boys.”  It demonstrates to me how little weight that we as a society (or at least this newspaper) gives this kind of heinous crime. A man who is harming a child—taking away his innocence by physically and emotionally violating him, is doing something far more insidious than “cheating” on his wife.  One is a lapse in morals and breaking of a covenant—the other a serious crime and reprehensible act against the innocent that Mr. Sandusky will not be getting any book deals for committing.

We shall watch and see what happens with the latest serial abuser—Bill Cosby. Perhaps not surprisingly—since the river of De-Nile is wide and, as such, can accommodate many people with their various agendas— he too has his defenders, mostly those closest to him.

It’s a tired story.  A father molests his children and the mother never knew. A husband abuses little boys (or girls) and the wife is clueless. A celebrity uses his power to drug over a hundred women and rape them while they’re unconscious, yet the good and loyal wife claims “they” are railroading her husband. She continues to maintain that her husband is exactly like the character he played on America’s then-favorite hit TV show that made him a modern Father Knows Best (and unsolicited moral regulator of young black men who wear baggy pants everywhere).

No matter how many times this plays out on the public stage, no one seems to get it: That the people who you think you know you don’t really know—that even those closest to you are shockingly capable of living a completely double life.  (Though there are always signs…if you pay attention and aren’t willingly closing your eyes to protect your own sense of well being.)

It happens all the time.  Just as it happens that the victims of these “alters” are often never believed. They [the victims] have a hard time even believing it themselves. That is what abuse and manipulation by those more powerful than you will do to you … make you doubt what happened. Make you think you’re crazy.  Or that you somehow deserved it. So you suffer in silence for years, sometimes decades.

I know because I was one of those victims. I stuffed my abuse (by several males) down into the deepest part of me until there was two “me’s”: one that bad stuff happened to, and one that had to survive.  For much of my life, the two were irreconcilable.

“This is not betrayal—it’s love. It’s refusing to live a life of painful pretense and denial. It’s refusing to let the one they love continue to use them as a shield against the reality of the evil they’ve done—so that they can finally face it and be free.”

It’s time for this to stop.   The Mrs. Sanduskys and Camille Cosbys of the world need to know it’s not an “either or” situation. They need to understand that they can still love their husbands—forgive them through God’s unfathomable grace if they so choose and not abandon them in their darkest hour—while still speaking the truth of what they know.  This is not betrayal—it’s love. It’s refusing to live a life of painful pretense and denial. It’s refusing to let the one they love continue to use them as a shield against the reality of the evil they’ve done—so that they can finally face it and be free.

To rewrite a famous adage, Truth is stronger than fiction.

These two woman finally admitting to the world what they heretofore haven’t dared to admit to themselves will go a long way in healing a lot of wounds—including, I’m certain, their own.  Because it can’t be easy to know that you had it in your power to prevent something horrible from happening—to other women, to children—if only you had the courage to speak up when it would have made mattered.

It’s not too late. At the very least, coming forth with the truth will make the millions of sexual abuse victims out there feel a less crazy…and alone.

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#5  They’re Not Acting. In Bollywood…It’s Hip to be a Hit Man

Post in response to a brief article about actors in India’s Bollywood becoming hit men. Crazy.

Bollywood is a Mafia-dominated industry, with many, if not most, actors shamelessly in their hip pockets. So it isn’t too surprising that the practice of film producers regularly ordering hits on directors—and others— who don’t pay back their 50% interest-ridden loans, has trickled down to a pair of actors becoming murdering kidnappers. That might seem like a huge moral leap, but if you’re not ashamed to compromise your integrity, and are happy to kiss ass for all the world to see in order to further your career, then what else might you be willing to do for money, power and fame? It’s just surprising to us here in the US of A because for the most part, our coddled celebs like to portray themselves as being “sensitive artists” whose idea of a hard crime is to paddle out in a canoe to save a whale, criticize political figures on issues they know little-to-nothing about or show best-buddy solidarity with ruthless dictators.

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#6 Film review (Amazon Instant Video): The Next Three Days, starring Russell Crowe, Liam Neeson, Brian Denehy, Elizabeth Banks and Jason Beghe.

Suspenseful, but ridiculously over-the-top implausible, January 1, 2013

Suspenseful, but ridiculously implausible. Here’s what we’re asked to believe:  A mild-mannered, white-bread English teacher (Russell Crowe) suddenly becomes a master criminal—breaking out his wife (Elizabeth Banks) from a high-security, inner-city prison with help from a mere two minutes of advice from an ex-con (I watched this film largely for Liam Neeson and he had barely more than a cameo appearance), a couple of You Tube videos and some suddenly acquired inner-street verve.   Apparently, in the world of “insta gansta crime” all it takes is 30 or so minutes of urban guerilla training to go from teaching To Kill a Mockingbird to “I’m Gonna Kill Two Snarly Drug Thugs—and then eluding half of the Pittsburgh police force.

Right. I’m all for rooting for the underdog (though it makes it a lot tougher when that underdog kills two human beings whose particular crimes had nothing to do him), but in this case the plot was so beyond belief that I really could not cheer this hero on. Added to that, you simply could not believe that his heretofore sheltered wife (who we never really get to know—hence care about) was suffering all that much in prison as they depicted no scenes of her enduring the harshness and humiliation of daily prison life. What we needed to see here was the stark contrast of what it would be like for a young mother and working professional to go from a safe and protected  suburban life to suddenly facing the shock of being thrown in a decidedly non-white collar prison…and know that she would be there for the rest of her natural-born days.

The emotionally charged transition scene (where her husband visited her in prison) they did show was rather abrupt—especially because we didn’t see what led up to that radical change. Bank’s character went from patient tolerance at being unfairly incarcerated to a tough, street-wise suicidal inmate—seemingly overnight. Hence her sudden display of prison bravado simply wasn’t believable. Including those kinds of scenes would have at least made you feel more sympathetic to the prospect of this innocent wife and mother being broken out of prison—even if the cost was higher than it should be in doing so.

Also implausible was the grandfather’s (played by Brian Dennehy who did not look well in this film) complicity in the crime after discovering his son’s passports. No father or grandfather would willingly let his son take on the impossible feat of breaking his daughter-in-law out of a maximum security prison, thereby ensuring that his son also would also go to prison or be killed during the escape attempt—thereby leaving his grandson without either a mother or a father. (Especially when the grandparents were clearly too old to raise him themselves.)

Continuity issues also plagued this film, not the least of which was the sudden transition of Elizabeth Bank’s greasy straight prison hair to a fresh expensive looking salon wash n’ wear style while they were running from the Pittsburgh police force. Splashing water on one’s hair from a bathroom sink would NOT have produced that look.

One final note: Jason Beghe is in this film–you gotta love him in anything. He’s a Mr. Gravely-voiced, gutsy Scientology defecting one-man show. 🙂

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About seekandfind

I'm a strategic storyteller/copywriter who is divinely wired to be idea-driven, strategic minded & cause motivated.

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