Young people, pay homage to the most recent heroes. Emulate them. Follow in their footsteps. Learn to cheat, and someday the rest of us may honor you.
That seems to be the message lately. Recently, New York Congressman Charlie Rangel won his primary election (although as of press time that victory was in question as the vote margin fell and his opponent vowed to challenge the results). Charlie the cheat.
Charlie cheated on his taxes, which, of course, is par for the course with a lot of political types. Half of the president’s economic team had not paid their taxes when they were nominated for office.
Charlie cheated on reporting his assets to Congress. He cheated when he cornered four rent-controlled apartments for his operation. He cheated when he extorted money — from outfits that had business before his congressional committee. He had them give big bucks to his Charles B. Rangel charity. The good ol’ reliable pay-to-play scam.
The House of Representatives censured him. Dishonored him. Shamed him. Well, the shame passed pretty quickly. Nancy Pelosi forgot all about that. A couple weeks ago, she honored him with an endorsement in his primary campaign. So did Gov. Cuomo. Isn’t that wonderful? The leader of a state and the leader of the Democrats in the House honor this crook with their endorsement. Pay attention, young folks. Recognize the heroes in our midst.
Oh, well, you say. This is just politics. We all know politicians cheat all the time. Unlike, say, sports heroes.
Well, recently, we had a New York Yankee cheating. Left fielder Dewayne Wise fell into the seats snaring a foul ball. Except that he did not catch it. But he won the prize for acting. He faked it. He acted as if he had caught it. Trotted off to the dugout. That conned the umpire into calling it a catch.
He cheated. The ball game was a close one. In other words, his cheating may well have decided the game. Hey, give that man big headlines in the morning papers. Have him on the clips on TV sports. Feature him as having done something spectacular. Not as a cheat. No, we don’t want to label him a cheat. After all, he’s a heroic Yankee. Imagine you got his autograph on a baseball. Along with Charlie Rangel’s. Why, you could send that to Cooperstown.
And some day a young man might visit Cooperstown’s Hall of Fame and feel especially inspired — because he too loved to cheat.
He is a student at one of New York City’s premier high schools. He cheated on his recent Regents exam. Well, c’mon, over 100 of his fellow students also cheated. This kid was merely the ring-leader. Merely. He regularly texted answers to other students. And, they texted answers to him — during the exams.
Did his dad kick his backside? Nah. He stood up for him. Said the kid was under a lot of pressure from health problems. And he had been robbed at a subway station last month. That caused him to fall behind in his class work. Which made it OK to cheat.
That fits the mold. Charlie was under pressure. Tackling huge problems for the lowly voters. That is why he cheated. And the Yankee? Well, you know the pressures of the pennant race. And the pressures of investing all the money the guy is making this season.
The student should have a great future. Maybe he will write a fake autobiography and get elected to high office. Or maybe he could juice-up on steroids and become a sports hero. Or, maybe he could become one of the countless firemen or police officers who bilk taxpayers with fake disability claims.
Honestly, the heroes who walk among us — oops. I mean the opposite.
From Tom...as in Morgan.
Tom Morgan writes about financial and other subjects from his home near Oneonta, in addition to his radio shows and new TV show. For more information about him, visit his website at www.tomasinmorgan.com