Today we’re seeing ethical lapses in so many areas – politics, athletics, business. The list of major letdowns is endless, in fact the only thing that has gotten more press lately is the economy! Roland Burris from Illinois, A-rod and steroids, Madoff and now Sanford, the billionaire from Texas.
When I read the comments/excuses that these “leaders” say, they range from “youthful indiscretion” (is there a statue of limitation on “youth” – how about 18 and below) to “they didn’t ask me that question specifically” (how specific do they need to ask for you to answer honestly?).
Ignorance is not an answer. Right here in Illinois it seems that being elected means you then can make the rules for yourself, i.e. how to reward your friends and fill your pockets. We go from one scandal to the next, with barely a breath in between. And why do some billionaires need to be so greedy as to suspend all ethical decisions while they pursue the almighty dollar with a fast deal.
Who has responsibility for ethics training? The public schools? Religious institutions? The home? It’s not in any curriculum specifically, although you can say the ten commandments, the Judeo-Christan ethics, and religious precepts often include ethical teaching. But that’s no guarantee that it’s learned by others. In fact all of the people I’ve seen with ethical lapses also attend some type of religious service. So that can’t be it.
If ethics is as important as it should be, it must be included in all aspects that we read, see, watch, and hear. Books and articles should stress and point out ethical, and unethical behaviors. TV and movies need to make sure that ethical behavior is stressed, or certainly stands apart from unethical behavior. Music should include ethics in some lyrics. Without a concerted push towards more ethical thinking, standards and behaviors, history will call us to make the same judgmental lapses over and over. Let’s shout it out and reward ethical behavior and decisions. If we all do it, we’re going to have an effect on others around us. And that’s just good ethics.