“They” is Us!

The scandal du jour in my country surrounds a passel of privileged folks, two of whom are TV stars, bribing corrupt college officials to admit their privileged children to famous universities—kids who would never otherwise have been accepted. String ‘em up! Right? (Which is what the media and public are currently doing to their careers.)

We love to see the privileged taken down. That’s our way with idols: first we worship them, then we grind them down to make new gods. Does anyone have a get-out-of-scandal-free card? Yes, members of underprivileged minorities can sometimes play that card—unless they’ve harmed the wrong people (children, the poor, the disabled, other minorities). But the rich and the famous? Never!

But here’s the problem: We’re all bad guys. All of us have sinned against society, friends or family at one point or another; there is no one who consistently does what’s right—no one. All of us have done things that, were we just a bit more famous, would be public scandals. Even our most venerated heroes are seriously flawed. Icons of goodness like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr. have each been “exposed” at some point for sins they really did commit. (Heck, even Atticus frickin’ Finch is revealed in the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird to be cranky and a little bit racist!)

So, when I heard about TV stars Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman being caught up in this college scandal (and now, possibly Ms. Huffman’s husband of 30+ years, William H. Macy, whom I’ve met and greatly admire), I was more than a little disappointed. I mean, Lori is so damn pretty, and such a symbol of wholesome motherhood. And Felicity is such a brilliant actress (a member of “my tribe,” no less)!

But perhaps the greatest damage done by public scandals is the way so many people use them to deceive themselves about their own goodness: “Hah! Well, at least I’m not like that!” Which is why we like melodramas with good-good guys taking down bad-bad guys.

Because now the world’s a better place, right?

Well, yes and no. Certainly, taking down those with permanently seared consciences, like Hitler, Stalin, or even Brenton Tarrant (the man who murdered fifty people and wounded as many in New Zealand), is necessary.

But for the privileged caught up in scandals? The best thing that can happen is for them to confess their wrongdoings (see Chuck Colson), to be real and transparent with the public and themselves, and to make restitution.

And for us to forgive them.

And the next thing is for us to identify with them (privilege is only a veneer—“they” is us) and learn from their failings. It’s the perfect time for us confess to those whom we’ve wronged (and we’ve all wronged people), to be real and transparent, to make restitution wherever possible. And that might just make the world…

A better place.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to “They” is Us!

  1. You are right on! I told my husband, “Who knows what I might have done should my child really wanted to go to a certain school?”
    Fame may seem something to elevate but when the famous person makes a mistake, they are in front of the world to see. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. badfinger20 says:

    Lying and diverting makes it worse. People tend to forgive…maybe not forget but forgive if Celebrities are caught doing something and they just admit it…that should go for all of us… but like you said they are put on such a ridiculously high pedestal that they have nowhere to go but down.

    John Lennon was a fan of Springsteen and he remarked in one of his last interviews… ” “And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he’s no longer God ….. they’ll turn on him and I hope he survives it.””

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well said! I can’t check out of the grocery store without seeing scandalous headlines that make me grateful I’m not famous. Truth be told, the only reason a lot more people don’t do these things is that they can’t afford to.
    I’m glad you saw this as an opportunity to speak the hard truth – that we’re all guilty – and the incredibly good news that there is forgiveness through the only One who lived a sinless life.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, yeah! Weirdly, I looked up the source of the saying “We have met the enemy, and he is us” this morning, as I listened to the awful effects of climate change, chemicals in the flood waters, hatred spewing on everyone… Thank Heavens for God, huh?? Love thine enemies takes on a whole new dimension…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The tragedy of the whole thing is all the children with high IQs who were denied admittance because there was no more room for them. I weep for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bette Cox says:

    Great article, Mitch. BTW, the original cartoon showed Pogo and Porkypine looking at a swamp filled with garbage… gives a better understanding of “draining the swamp” task.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bette Cox says:

    A little suggestion, Mitch: in your first sentence, “except” (their privileged children) should probably be “accept.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So right on the money, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. All of us have sinned, the good book tells us. None of us is as pure as the driven snow. When we point fingers at others, there are always three fingers pointing back at us. Our penchant to vilify those who are caught in sin is not healthy and will eventually destroy our culture and society as we once knew it. The need for the media to sensationalize is only a scramble for news when there is little to be had. Sorry, but this whole thing gets me going. Good post, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. sashiengland says:

    You remind me of a lesson I need reminding of. When I think of things I have done, well, if I were to run for public office, I fear those things would pop out like a sore thumb. I am a big fan of shows and movies that Lori Loughlin has appeared in and I was disappointed, but truth is, I’m no better than she. I have no business in judging her or the others charged since I’ve never been in their shoes as a parent or in the public eye or had the financial means they have. If I had been in their shoes, I might have paid more for all I know.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. GREAT POST, Amen!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Blended Hope says:

    When this story broke all I could think of was “whose rich kid didn’t get in?”
    Someone’s child didn’t get admitted and they threw a fit.

    This is nothing new and goes on at every college campus around the nation….I’m just waiting to see who started this.

    And who doesn’t love “Aunt Becky”!!!
    Shameful they all got caught!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. smzang says:

    A member of a poetry site made a comment I’d like to share.
    “Cardboard images are easy prey to burning truth.” G (not God)
    The conversation that spawned the quote was not about
    the issue at hand but it seems to me it pertains and is just
    another way of saying what you said, “first we worship them,
    then we grind them down to make new gods”
    Your article is spot on. No surprise there.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. And what have their children learned from this? Mommy and daddy will always save us? We don’t need to work for ourselves? I think not only did the parents do a disservice to other children who should have gotten in but also to their own children who need to learn about how the world works.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. thedamari says:

    My hope is that we, as a society, will take a harder look at how we judge and punish poorer parents who do something like put down a relative’s address so that their kids can attend a decent public school. People have been sent to prison for it. Of course, they didn’t have money for attorneys. We could all take this opportunity to discuss making systemic changes to help level the playing field for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Vince700 says:

    No one can say they are perfect. I guess the best any of us can do is when we fall, get up, admit our fault, ask for forgiveness then forgive and love one another.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. joyroses13 says:

    You wrote this so well!! Its been on my mind, but I haven’t known how to write it. Thanks for this post for heart did sink about Lori Loughlin. Isn’t it crazy how when we watch someone on TV so much, we really feel like we know them and that they become like a friend to you. Our kids grew up watching Full House, we have the DVD series and its been watched and re-watched and now Fuller House. Plus Hallmark movies that she has starred in. I just saw in the news today that Hallmark has dropped her. It is sad!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. grAnnie Roo says:

    Paragraph back from the end I thought of Chuck Colson and how he turned his story around to win countless Souls for Jesus. I’m so glad to be redeemed. Great Piece, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. This time has been dark. People say they do not want this darkness, but they seek it. They skip the happy news. They mock the cheery people. They avoid being known as that person. What hell it would be to have people know you woke up smiling, laughed throughout the day, said ‘Hi’ to others, sang songs, and went to bed grinning. What hell to have the world filled with Flanders. We watch murder and horror and reality drama hysterics. We buy violent games. We fill our homes with guns, toy or otherwise. We start wars. We keep wars going. We refuse to help refugees of war. We’re about to build more walls, restart intense divisions of ethnicity & race, we’re cheering on a person that supports people that support racism, and we’re killing more animals than ever. Ever creature and plant gives off energy. If someone is in a negative environment, watches negative things, etc… they begin to have a different frequency of energy. It affects their surrounding people, pets, and plants that way. The same goes for anger. The same goes for happiness, success, etc…. Imagine what this world would become in even 30 days if even half the population focused on that. Can you see it? I pray for this constantly.

    Let’s stop judging. Let’s leave that to God. Let’s stop even reading the hate. Let’s get out of the anger picket lines and give them all a hug. I am pretty sure the entire world could use a 90 second long hug.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ann Coleman says:

    I agree, Mitch! Part of the problem is that we do like to see privileged people torn down because it does make us feel better about our own faults. But as you say, “they is us” and we really need to learn that and live that.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A.C. says:

    What was that one? Something about the first stone or something? Great post! Very….reflective.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I subscribe to the idea that our higher learning institutions are a bubble that’s about to burst. More goes into that idea than is practical for a comment but the bottom line is that because they have become diploma mills they have undercut their own value.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. changeofheartjournal says:

    I’ve was a conspiracy theorist before I came to Christ but I still dabble even though it’s a bad habit that I don’t really need any more (Jesus is the only truth you need)

    If you knew, as I do now, what really goes on in Hollywood (or Hellyweird as it’s better known as) brothers and sisters in Christ would not touch it with a fifty foot barge pole.
    It’s not for me to tell you what goes on there but there is plenty of evidence if you care to find out. The stuff that goes on there I wouldn’t hesitate to call evil. They commit sins there that you didn’t even know existed and wouldn’t want to know about either.
    Why do you think they are rich, famous and successful, do you seriously think they worship God through Jesus?!
    They worship the prince of this world and I think you know who I’m talking about.

    The worst thing about Hellyweird is not corruption or nepotism (but that stuff is plenty too) but the institutionalised sexual abuse of children and that’s all I’m going to say.

    Knowing the truth of the world we live in really does set you free. These days I am glad I’m poor and not famous! I’m glad I didn’t have to sell my soul for a season of fame. I feel a free person and I really appreciate the everyday folk now as I know they would be horrified as I am about what the so-called “el-ite”
    get up to and what they have to do to stay there. Like I said, one word “evil”.


  24. gpavants says:

    Sinners saved by grace. The whole lot of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Sarika Dhaka says:

    100% True !! I am reading your post since morning and have taken a lot of knowledge by reading your post.

    Liked by 2 people

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