"At the root of our society is a carefree desire, a daydream that will never become reality. We are a broken society, one hell-bent on not ruffling the feathers of organizations. All the while people suffer silence, suffer lack of healthcare, and suffer the indignation of the political elite—to name a few."
Surely, there are some that will accuse me of being too harsh upon Paterno. They will say that his death prevents him from defending himself, or that the sum total of the blame should be spread across the institution, not one individual. Valid points, to be sure, but all missing the larger point: inaction in the face of injustice remains inexcusable.
Outlined in the report are interviews with janitorial staff that witnessed abuse. They failed to report it because they were afraid for their jobs, their livelihood. Penn State failed to create an atmosphere that made it conducive to report any sort of abuse. They failed the mission of their university, their community, and most importantly the young men and children abused.
Yet it the task remains too easy to call out only Penn State. We live in a nation consumed with inaction. We have yet to hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s words that called inaction what it is: injustice. In his March 1968 sermon, “Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution,” preached at the National Cathedral King said, “It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time."
We are consumed with waiting now as much as we were then.
Months ago a nation rallied, eventually, to arrest George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin. For the law enforcement parties involved, waiting was the name of the game.
Currently we debate healthcare and the floundering middle and lower classes as though with time they will heal themselves. Our politicians and power brokers are more concerned with waiting to see what happens rather than take pragmatic, proactive action.
In the Church we wait for “times to change” and ideas to morph around accepting lesbians and gays. Injustice continues in the pulpit and pews because all too often we find it easier to wait than take action.
At the root of our society is a carefree desire, a daydream that will never become reality. We are a broken society, one hell-bent on not ruffling the feathers of organizations. All the while people suffer silence, suffer lack of healthcare, and suffer the indignation of the political elite—to name a few.
Penn State remains but one example of indifference. The greatest tragedy with Penn State remains what will we do about indifference. Will we continue to allow inaction and indifference to plague us? Or will we wake up to our humanity and see that the longer we stay silent, the longer injustice reigns? Only time will tell, but the journey to justice begins now.