The following was published in the Newsleader on February 20, 2009.
I have watched with amusement recent events concerning some people of note. People like former Governors of large mid-western states, former Senators, former Wall Street executives, as well as current Olympic gold medal winners. They all have been caught on tape, on camera, and in print doing very embarrassing and in many cases illegal acts. It is reminiscent of former Presidents and blue dresses.
There is a lesson here for all people of fame, status, or otherwise in the public eye. Somebody is watching, filming, taping, recording, and remembering about everything you do or say. With today’s technology virtually anyone is capable of capturing your every act on some recording device. You cannot hide.
Here then are some of my admonitions.
If you are asked to serve in a Presidential Cabinet, for goodness sake, pay your taxes on time. If you think you can bluff your way past a crime like that you are sorely mistaken. People who are your friends will report such a discretion as that. Never mind what your enemies will do.
If you are a Wall Street executive who has received a huge bailout from the taxpayers, curtail your need to spend extravagantly on furnishings, bonuses, and retreats. Did you really think you could get away with that? Do you really think no one will be watching and noting your activity?
If you are a Governor who seems to have a propensity to challenge the law and law enforcement by trying to get rich with various schemes that are illegal, not to mention just ridiculous, consider that everything you do or say is being recorded for posterity by the very law enforcement people that you have tried to trick. Oh, and another thing, when you are in a hole, quit digging.
Finally if you are an Olympic hero with gold medals hanging around your neck and huge endorsement contracts from every shoe manufacturer and cereal maker in America, for Pete’s sake, don’t take a hit from a bong at a party where everybody there is armed with a cell phone camera and could be just a little jealous of your fame and wealth. Is it so hard to understand that the next day pictures will appear all over the world?
Here is my question. Are these people so arrogant that they think the rules that apply to everybody else, the normal people, do not apply to them? Do they park their brains on a shelf and just go about their regular business?
Most, if not all, of these people have sought out the spotlight. They have sought fame. Well guess what, when the spotlight is on you, you just make yourself a better target. That is their reality.
I guess it is too much to ask for people to just exercise good judgment. It also appears to be unreasonable to expect them to obey the law. Therefore they are entitled to the embarrassment and even the prosecution they are facing. I, for one, am happy they have been caught. I am happy they will be called to task for their excesses. Those who have committed crimes should have to pay for those crimes. Those who just face public embarrassment are certainly entitled to that shame.
Most of us will never be famous or people of note. Most of us will just live our lives in relative obscurity. I am sure most of us prefer it that way. We can, however, look with amusement at the characters that publicly shame themselves because of their arrogance. Tsk, tsk, what a pity.
Ron Scarbro February 6, 2009
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