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I'm Just Sayin' - Our culture of lying and cheating: Apparently it pays off

With all the press coverage lately of lying and cheating politicians and athletes, it caused me to wonder why. Are we born with the propensity to lie and cheat? No. It is something we absorb from our parents, mentors and society. It is not taught intentionally. However, we see people lie and cheat as we grow and mature and gradually it seeps into our world view of how to act in society. A large percentage of us learn to reject it and try to live our lives by a righteous and moral code. So, what is it that draws people into lying and cheating to the detriment of our fellow human beings? It seems to be a combination of money, power and sexual infidelity.

The case of Alex Rodriguez, Yankee third baseman, comes to mind. Here we have the case of a baseball player, who many predicted to be the best of all time. He was the youngest player in the history of the game to get to 500 home runs and then 600 home runs. He seemed to be genuinely cordial and accommodating to the press and his fans; always smiling and making time for them. So why did he use performance enhancing drugs and continually lie about doing it? The answer looks to be obvious: because he could get away with it, improve his statistics, and not lose much of the millions of dollars the Yankees were obligated to pay him. He will serve his suspension and come back to the game to get his guaranteed money from the Yankees. So, it apparently will pay off for him and he will have no severe consequences for his actions other that permanent banishment from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Maybe he doesn't even care about that.

Other examples are Anthony Weiner (The Peter Tweeter) and Elliot Spitzer (The Hooker Booker). Weiner was a Congressman from New York who sent pictures of his private parts to female friends via Twitter. Spitzer was the New York State Attorney General who cavorted with prostitutes using his state expense accounts for "traveling," while engaging in these activities. Both were married and resigned from their elected political office. Both are now running for office again: Weiner as mayor of New York City and Spitzer as controller general of New York City. So, if they are elected after lying, cheating and resigning from office, only to be elected to office again, it apparently paid off for them with no consequences.

Then there is the case of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. While he was governor (and married), he told his staff he was going on a mountain trail hiking adventure and would be gone for a few days. It was then discovered that he was in Argentina with his mistress. He resigned from office after lying and cheating and has now been elected as U.S. Representative from South Carolina. Apparently, it paid off for him also.

We are a forgiving society and we welcome the opportunity for people to have second chances. We want to see the best from everyone, but there should come a point when we as voters, fans, spouses, acquaintances, etc. need to say "enough is enough." Liars and cheaters need to be held accountable, even if forgiven. Consequences should be enforced. It is up to all of us to reject behavior detrimental to society, and we need to show that example to our children.

There is a righteous and moral code to live by, and it is found from Genesis to Revelation - the Alpha and the Omega. I'm just sayin'.

• • •

DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.

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