Athens Review, Athens, Texas


July 5, 2012

Penn State an example of Americans worshipping false idols

Art Lawler — Little that I've seen in my lifetime has so enraged the human race in this country like the constant revelations coming out about one of our “most respected institutions of higher learning.”

That would be, or used to be, Penn State.

No amount of punishment seems sufficient. And I have to admit that when I think about what the coaches and administrators did in turning a pedophile loose on small boys, it continues to sicken me, as I'm sure it does you.

But when is enough, enough?

Now we're hearing that Joe Paterno and the administration knew much more than originally thought about the Sandusky situation.

It's starting to look like a long, massive coverup – an institution over the lives of small, innocent, hero-worshipping boys.


You know what's really making us so angry, beyond the horrible truth here? It's that most of us just got it so wrong about the Penn State football reality over a period that covers the bulk of all our lives.

Seldom have we ever bought into such sterling reputations for so long, pointing these people out as our examples of honor and decency, and what we're all about in this country.

I think in the Bible, they call this worshipping false idols. We know better, but we're not going to stop doing it.

Even so, when we deceive ourselves, we don't like idols, false as they may be, going behind our backs, and making fools out of the masses.

I've been reading on the Internet from die-hard, lifelong Penn State fans wanting Joe Paterno to “rot in hell.”  He can't get away with just dying in humiliation. We've got to send down the buzzards.

They want Jerry Sandusky to rot in his prison cell first, then rot in hell. They want the NCAA to give Penn State “the death penalty,” as they did SMU back in the seventies.

Others want the death penalty to be 10 years, instead of just two years. After all, the Ponies were just paying players, and having the Governor of Texas cover up for them.

Silly stuff, when compared to Penn State.

The hate just keeps hanging there, getting worse, eating up an institution, and creating a cancer in the land. Some people want to take a torch to Penn State, as if it never existed.

Fact of the matter is, it did and does exist, and the monster called football that critics are decrying with so much hate now, wasn't always a monster.

Some of those same monsters really did teach strong moral values. Penn State players really were, for a while, among the best behaved in the nation.

They did teach discipline and manners and sportsmanship. I never had reason to be a Penn State fan, but I always admired what they tried to be

Heroes are created by the people, and always have been. When they crumble, we roll them up into a ball of clay, and mold another fake hero.

Nothing will ever change the facts of what happened at this school. Every last one of these “professional” hillbillies in expensive suits and ties, should be imprisoned in a blue-collar facility for many long years to come.

The hubris sunk them, just as it did the Titanic. The last thing they should do is escape punishment. Still, this has the feel of something getting out of hand.

My former stepfather once said something  that took me by surprise at the time. Wouldn't so much, anymore.

This bright, World War II veteran, commenting quietly on what could have happened to create a monster like Hitler and the nationalism he incited, had this offering.

“I believe the German people developed too much respect for authority,” he said.

He was dead on.  We develop too much respect for coaches with winning records, then fire the rest of them.

It's so hard to get “respect”  right. We either don't have enough of it — as in most cases, I'd guess – or we go overboard with our few false idols, whom we bestow God-like qualities on, that don't exist.

For every fallen general or politician or preacher, it was the masses who ushered them onto lofty shoulders. There's enough guilt on this stuff to indict a nation.

It's not like, we shouldn't be reasonably deferential to those around us for their accomplishments. But don't fall down, and start slobbering over somebody we made up.

In the end, we're all just people that have to eat, drink, go the bathroom and scratch.

Keep it  respectful, but keep it human, too, for Penn State.

Art Lawler is a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.

Text Only
  • Joe new mug.jpg Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season

    I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
    Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
    Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg The greatest country in the world has hungry children

    No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
    An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
    I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg 22 years – and they said it wouldn’t last

    I was a high school senior when I first entered the world of newspapers.
    I found my way to the The Dallas Times Herald after graduation, when a number of kids I went to school with were working part-time at the paper.
    It was summer, and I needed a job. I first applied for what was referred to as the night crew.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites