I sure hope nobody finds out that the password for this blog is "PaSsWoRd!" Otherwise, they might sign on as me and post something that you find offensive, demeaning, or borderline mansplaining. So, if you see anything here that gives offense, I was hacked.
The same thing applies to written documents. Back in third grade, Eddie Greenboogers learned how to copy my handwriting and continually wrote all kinds of terrible notes that seemed to have my signature, and he has continued doing that until, um, well, he’s still doing it today. So if you see any paper copies of any documents that suggest I wrote something bad, it was absolutely Eddie Greenboogers, not I.
Am I safe now? Probably not. In fact, nobody is safe today, because we live in a gotcha world, where a video of your least articulate moment will be shared by all your “friends” and your kindergarten coloring book will become Exhibit A in your public shaming. Or your murder trial, if you end up raising tigers for a living.
Life was so simple when our teachers threatened to make a note of our misdeeds in the “permanent record” that would follow us throughout our lives. As with (spoiler alert) Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and those X-ray glasses they advertised in the back of comic books, our “permanent record” turned out to be more legend than reality, and we all breathed easier as a result.
Of course, that was pre-internet and before the time that anyone, anywhere, could dredge up a bloody scent for the posterazzi. Clearly, it’s all gotten out of hand and we need some new rules to make sense of it all.
First, we need a statute of limitations for all the perpetrators of racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-American, anti-religious, nasty, vicious, foul, revolting, offensive, nauseating, sickening vile, ghastly, repugnant, inexcusable statements, posts, pictures, texts, e-mails and emojis.
I’d give anyone a pass for anything they said before the age of 16. Even if it’s really, really awful, I will accept that the offender is still developing mentally, is overwhelmed by hormones and peer pressure, and has time to grow out of their wretchedness.
After 16 though, your driver’s license comes with the burden of accountability. If you’re old enough to take responsibility for a car, you’re old enough to take responsibility for your actions. Yeah, you’re still a kid, partly, but you’ve been online since you were two and you’ve probably been part of the mob more than a few times, so suck it up and be ready to take the heat.
Along the same line of reasoning, it’s time we rejected all claims of “youthful indiscretions,” which is the favored excuse for people in powerful positions who do terrible things or make terrible statements that, without a doubt, they knew were terrible at the time. And, if they didn’t know, they were pretty damned stupid and they really don’t belong in positions of power in the first place.
At the same time, we need some form of parole for people who see the light and change their ways. Maybe we can agree to ignore statements or (most) infractions at least 10 years in the past, if the person has not made similar statements or committed similar infractions since then. With elected officials, C-Suite executives, educators and clergy, I might lengthen that to 15 or 20 years. But if a person goes a decade or more without repeating the sin, it’s likely they don’t represent a current threat.
I’m okay if we never forgive someone for murder, rape or child molesting, though. Some things are just too venal for forgiveness on this Earth. Everything else is on the table, though, because we want people to have an incentive to do better and be better.
We talk a lot about healing our wounds in this society. Maybe we can start the process by committing less bloodletting.
Dad Writes invites your participation in our ongoing journey as a subscriber to our illustrious and non-offensive blog. Just click here to start your subscription.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.