Role Models

In Paul Simon’s Mrs. Robinson, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” touches our human desire, our human need, for role models … for special people who live an  extraordinary combination of exceptionalism and grace.  It’s what we long for within ourselves.

We know who our role models are, we just know.  However, for repugnant reasons, we replace our role models with repugnant idols … idols who are repugnant to the essence of role models, repugnant to civil society, repugnant to humanity.

Once upon a time, our role models lighted our lives, warmed our hearts, nourished our souls, and painted our canvas of life with images of aspiration, humility, and reverence.  Who can forget Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech?  That was a long time ago.

Today our role models are idols who shame humanity.  Our idols are the Devil, but we deny the Devil as we deny God.  We live by the liturgy of John Lennon’s Imagine: “Imagine there’s no heaven … Above us, only sky … And no religion, too”.

We move Jiminy Cricket to Pleasure Island, because conscience is not what all the cool kids are doing.  We lionize a Senator who drowns a woman and flees the scene, because he is from the House of Camelot.  We glorify a President who sexually harasses a young intern and frequents Jeffrey Epstein’s private island, because he makes us feel so good.

We let our children choose their own role models while they listen to Cardi B’s WAP and Geto Boys’ Mind of a Lunatic, because we’re busy keeping up with non-stop headlines about sex, drugs, and politics in a world of people who used to be our court jesters.

We drop our grammar school children off each day into the custody of role models who we call teachers.  We pay them to teach our children to judge people by the color of their skin, men can become pregnant, abortion for any or no reason at any time up to the instant of birth is health care for the mother and uneventful for the about-to-be-born baby, and pornography is age-appropriate in grammar school.

Who will our children choose as the role models for their children?  How scary is that question?

Al was an intelligent, educated, well-informed, mild-mannered gentleman who was fond of saying that life is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth, from extreme to extreme.  May the day soon come when our pendulum swings back, and our real role models return.

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