Everybody wants to rule the World


A song by Tears for Fears encapsulates the 80s for me like few others do. And the irony now, all these years laters, is that it was probably in the air when a high school teacher and coach named Hastert was doing some terrible things to trusting young kids.

He went from Yorkville High to third in line to the presidency. He literally did help to rule the world, at least in theory, and made millions in the process. Some of those millions would later be funneled to those who he abused when nobody knew his name. That’s punishment enough for what he did, right? If only if were that simple.

I never knew any of the people involved in this tale, so perhaps it’s not my place to say anything about this. But the good teachers and coaches who want the best for the kids they work with will bear the brunt of Hastert’s actions, far more than he ever will. And that is beyond unfortunate.

High school sucked for me, and I’m not the only one who felt that way. When adults in position of authority and trust use the circumstances of this difficult age of transition for their own benefit, in order to sexually prey on those who are still trying to figure out their own place in the world, all of us suffer, in ways that we may never realize. I’m grateful that nothing like this ever happened to me, but I can easily understand why others were not so fortunate.

After a long and financially rewarding stretch in the halls of power, Coach Hastert’s past finally caught up with him. He paid off his prey, but money alone can’t make everything OK, either for those he molested or the rest of us, as well. He’s old and going to die soon, so perhaps he’ll get what’s coming to him when that happens. But here on earth, his request for probation is an affront to anyone who’s paying attention.

His “family values” and likely unstated opposition to the very behaviors he engaged in as a wrestling coach makes him an outsized hypocrite. Sending him to prison won’t make him any different, but the idea that he can do this and slink off with nothing more than his own shame and humiliation seems wrong, on some level.

I have no doubt he feels bad about what he did, but this is only becauseĀ it came up again. The abuser can forget his actions however he wants to, but the abused cannot. And to protect those who need it, neither should the rest of us.

Merry Hypocrite-mas


I read the news that a U.S. senator was arrested for drunk driving with great amusement this morning. On the one hand I thought there, but for the grace of god, go I. But on the other hand, it’s likely not the first time that this Mormon–and presumed tee-totaler–has done such a thing. He tells his people, both in his church and in his state, one thing and then goes out and does the exact opposite.

As an enthusiastic drinker for many years, I can’t judge him for his liquor consumption. I hope that he would cut others the same slack, but I don’t know what’s inside his heart. But what’s wrong about this is that the people he represents in Congress were actively misled. And whether he apologizes or not–and he has–that doesn’t change things one little bit.

He’s one of the Republicans who routinely obstructs things in the Senate, and will continue to do so, regardless of how this plays itself out in the legal system. The honorable thing to do, after being publicly revealed as a hypocrite, would be to resign his Senate seat immediately. But he won’t do this. He’ll make some insincere apologies, and then check himself into a rehab/detox program, with the expectation that when his turn at re-election comes up in 2016, the voters in Idaho will forget this ever happened in the first place.

I’m willing to be proven wrong on this, but I don’t think that will happen.