Sunday, November 20, 2011

one picture worth 10,000 words

The horrific nature of child abuse is numbing in its similarity from venue to venue. It's just so damned familiar and the reactions to it are likewise repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. First the incidents begin to surface like a boil -- small and lonely voices of the affected make their way into mainstream consciousness. An institution that relies on and elevates its good name and integrity and power is accused of fostering and protecting and giving permission to members who preyed on the unwitting and vulnerable. The Catholic Church, Penn State, The Citadel, or, in the world of Zen Buddhism, the Zen Studies Society ... the last of which did not (to the best of public knowledge) prey on children, but nevertheless fed its version of Christians to the lions of institutionalized power. The list goes on and on.

Step 1: It happened. Step 2: Bit by bit the horror goes public. Step 3: The institution, which relies on its good name and accumulated power and income to survive, goes into survival mode ... grudgingly admits, but carefully couches its responses so that all that power and money will not be lost ... seeking to preserve what is 'good' and 'noble' about the institution. Supporters rally around, cooing and tut-tutting, but basically supporting the institution against the victims (who threaten to upend the income flow ... the victims who, were they not victims, would represent the very life blood of the institution in all its glory).

One small act of straightforwardness
I'm not sure which makes me want to puke worse -- the depredations that originally occurred or the self-serving and half-hearted institutional answers that rise up in response to being caught, literally and metaphorically, with their institutional pants down. Straightforwardness is sacrificed in oh-so-many-logical-and-thoughtful-and-caring ways on the altar of preserving of the very institution that allowed the evil in the first place.

I like straightforwardness. At least that contains some integrity.

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