Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Taking the Good

I wrote this post back in mid 2000 during the peak of riots, civil unrest, and uncertainty, but never published it. Since I can't seem to produce any new content these days for his blog, I am sharing this new, yet old post that has never been seen.

Recent trends in society have made judging and labeling people a very popular sport. Labels are now quickly bestowed upon people with opposing viewpoints. This has recently been highlighted by many founding fathers of this country being labeled as hateful, racist men. Some people want to destroy any evidence of their lives and that includes the many contributions they have made to society. I think we need to look at the bigger picture. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water!

I've been let down many times in my life by having someone I thought was a role model fall from grace. Below is a list of people who I previously looked up to (some I still do) for a variety of reasons and was saddened when I learned of their failures, secret lives, or other aspects of their life that hurt others or negatively impacted the world.

OJ Simpson- Since I was a kid I admired his athletic skills and accomplishments. I felt he was a charismatic, nice guy and liked seeing him in movies after his retirement from the NFL. He was a rags to riches role model for so many people. It sucked to see him fall.

Bill Cosby- For decades he was a clean comic with universal appeal. He was so relatable and fun. He entertained and set an example for so many people. It was sad to learn about how many women he had hurt.

King David- I love the story of this young man standing up to Goliath and the Philistine army with such faith. With one brave act he became a military hero and saved his people. Then he got sloppy.

There are many lesser examples who have done less serious things to fall from grace but I still appreciate and enjoy their accomplishments and contributions.

I might add my disappointment in the many actors and musicians who I really enjoyed and looked up to but they needlessly ended their own lives prematurely through drug abuse and destructive behavior. 

There are many talented actors I admire for their skill and love to see perform in films. This doesn't mean I have to agree with their beliefs or political statements. Tom Cruise is probably my favorite actor but I don't share his beliefs in Scientology. I appreciate the acting skills of Sean Penn, Robert De Niro, Tim Robbins, and Leonardo DiCaprio but I don't share their same political views on certain subjects.

There have been many talented late night TV hosts and comedians who have made me laugh over time but I don't agree with their politics or hypocrisy. Many people in the entertainment world are Atheists. I believe in God but I can still listen to, learn from, and appreciate the contributions of those who don't.

I appreciate the fact that Trump is not intimidated by the media. He has improved the economy (especially economic conditions for minorities). I believe he loves his country and is looking out for Americans first and foremost. At the same time I am so turned off by his egotistical behavior, provocative tweets, and immature name calling. 

I thing Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time and was my childhood hero but after watching The Last Dance documentary, I was slightly put off by his intense, obsessive, competitive nature which spills over into other areas of life like gambling. I enjoyed seeing him win games and push his team, but it's frequently not pretty behind the scenes when you live at that level of intensity and expect teammates to live up to the same standard.

I loved Magic Johnson and the 80's Showtime Lakers but I don't like the fact that the Lakers were so promiscuous, careless, and essentially a travelling brothel. 

Karl Malone was one of my favorite basketball players. I admire his work ethic and power but he fathered a child with a teenager and then denied responsibility or support. I don't think the NBA or the Jazz will be ripping down his statue in front of the arena any time soon.

Lebron is my favorite player today and the main reason I have followed the NBA for years. I respect him for his all around game and what he has made of himself, but I don't necessarily agree with many his political or social statements.

All of these talented people have influenced society and contributed many good things. Many of them have a dark side or negative contributions too. Just like all of us. Some of the examples I gave are extreme and others not that big of a deal. I think all of us can relate to doing good things and then there are moments of our lives we would prefer to forget or erase. 

I understand that people are passionate about their beliefs as we see today with the zealous social justice warriors who want to topple statues, attack whatever they disagree with and rename everything and do away with any history that is not palatable to their country. The boycotting and cancel culture expects perfection but nobody is free from controversy.

I will stand up for what I believe is right, but at the same time I will appreciate, applaud, and enjoy all the good I see in the world, even if it came from someone with an imperfect past. I will continue to be amazed at LeBron's basketball skills, I  will probably still laugh when I hear a classic Cosby joke, and I will definitely continue to appreciate the contributions of our founding fathers and the Constitution they established.