How could we possibly survive without a tantalizing scandal going on? Scandals seem at times to be the warp and woof of America, the oil that greases the wheels of interest. Scandalous news captures our imagination and gets the juices churning. And it doesn’t necessarily require reality to place our citizens on “scandal watch.” Remember “Who shot J.R.?” That was the question that haunted America for an entire network TV off season in 1980 until the Dallas series resumed and it was finally revealed who committed the dastardly deed.
Negative scandalous activity by politicians, Hollywood, the corporate world, sports figures and clergy all keep the media networks’ ratings up and provide job security for the reporters. And getting a scoop on a scandal will sky rocket the reporter or particular network to the top.
There are only three reasons for crime or scandals: money, power or sex; that’s all. Every scandal involves one or more of these ingredients. The public thrives on dirty speculation and slanderous stories. And what would the talk show hosts and late night monologues be without scandalous people? Bad news sells and travels fast!
When I was the owner of a service company, I always reminded the technicians that a bad service reputation travels much faster than a good one. We had to fight every day to be the best and keep that good reputation.
I believe the same is true in all walks of life. It is natural to come at life from a negative slant and the bad news will seem to travel at the speed of light. Scandals seem to lead the pack in reaching and teasing interested ears. TV programming and nightly news has much more to say regarding the negative than the positive.
Presidential scandals have plagued US presidents such as Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S Grant, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Barak Obama, just to name a few. Celebrity scandals have always been juicy and numerous, to include Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Michael Jackson.
Scandals in the sports world get particular attention because of America’s obsession with it. From the 1919 “Black Sox Scandal” in the World Series to Lance Armstrong’s doping allegations to the Nancy Kerrigan attacks of 1994, the list could be very lengthy. Of course the religious community, shamefully, is not immune to scandalous activity. The Medieval Inquisitions, the “Christian” Crusades, Martin Luther himself was anti-Semitic, Mormon founder Joseph Smith and his Book of Abraham, Jimmy Swaggert’s improprieties and the more recent Catholic priests’ abuse of altar boys controversy are but a few we could study. It seems religious scandals bring more shame and disgust than the others; and I suppose rightfully so.
It truly seems that as history has progressed, scandals have become more sinister and dangerous. Lives are disregarded and put in immediate danger because of lies and cover-ups. Innocent children are endangered and scarred for life because of adults’ neglect and selfishness. Businesses are forced to close because of a few relentless imposers.
But is there a bright side to this way of life we seem to be entangled in? Are there actually people left who are concerned about the good and best for society and not just their own self-absorption?
I must insist that yes, there are many people among us who represent the good and who desire to do the right thing. Sadly, they are becoming more and more difficult to find. But they are ordinary people; people with strong values and character.
Look for them when you’re at the grocery store, car wash or restaurant. They will be easy to spot. They will probably be out of the limelight, but you will see a smile and eagerness to provide you with excellent service or just a cordial, “How are you?” They will have a positive attitude about life and are eager to make you feel good.
Mary Kay Ash has been quoted as saying, “Everyone goes through life with a sign around their neck that says, Make Me Feel Important.” That is so true. We all want to be made to feel useful and accepted.
Scandals, crime and heartache will always be with us through this life. But we are not required to be controlled by it. We can look for the good and encourage those that need it and make our lives brighter because of it.
Abraham Lincoln once said words to the effect, “A person is just about as happy as they choose to be.” So, choose a happy attitude and be the bright spot in the room instead of the one overshadowed by the proverbial dark cloud.
Life is too short to waste it! Proverbs 17:22 gives the encouragement, “A joyful heart is good medicine.”