Why Do We Ignore Our Role Models' Behavior?

Why Do We Ignore Our Role Models' Behavior?

Are we really willing to normalize immoral actions?

Last week, Montana elected Greg Gianforte to Congress in their special election. The day before, Gianforte was charged with assault for body slamming a reporter. The people of Montana chose the candidate who had physically attacked a journalist 24 hours prior to the election. Last November, America elected Donald Trump as President of the United States. I could write a book on the number of moral atrocities that Trump committed before and during his campaign, but I’d highlight the leaked tape of him bragging that he can commit sexual assault because he’s rich.

What does this say about the qualities that we look for in our leaders? The obvious answer in the case of politics is that the people are prioritizing a candidate’s political ideology over the morality of his or her actions. We’re willing to look the other way on moral issues with candidates to ensure that our political goals match those of our leaders. While this is understandable, it highlights a much deeper problem in our society— one that goes far beyond politics.

Take our sports heroes for example. Pitcher Aroldis Chapman allegedly fired a gun at his girlfriend and choked her, but his fans don’t care because he can throw a baseball at 103 miles per hour. It seems like more people hate him for shutting out their favorite teams than for his violence. NFL star Ray Rice received a mere two-game suspension for punching a woman in the face, while Tom Brady got knocked four games for allegedly deflating a few footballs. Deflating footballs, thereby compromising the integrity of the game, sparked a bigger outrage than domestic abuse. We can’t stand to see the sports we love defaced, but we’re willing to turn a blind eye to our star athletes’ immoral actions off the field so that we can keep watching them play the game.

We see this with the celebrities we obsess over as well. We let Nick Viall date 30 women at the same time on The Bachelor, forcing them to compete for him. We don’t care that he asked three fathers for their blessings in the same week because we enjoy the entertainment value of 30 drunk women fighting over a man on TV. We turn a blind eye as Justin Bieber eggs a neighbor’s house, assaults members of the paparazzi, and spits in people’s faces because we like to be entertained by his performances. We’ve decided to look up to these celebrities, to fuel their fame and fortune despite their immorality because we want to be entertained.

Looking at American culture, it seems that we choose our leaders, role models, and heroes based not on who they are, but what they can do for us. Be it an ideological agreement in politics, physical strength and athletic ability in sports, or entertainment value in the case of celebrities, we ignore character and morality when we choose who we propel to fame and stardom. In the process, we send a loud and clear message that you don’t have to be moral to be successful, and we enable celebrities to continue this pattern of bad behavior. Do we want to continue this trend? Do we want to teach future generations that morality and human decency are no longer important? Let’s ask ourselves, how far aside are we willing to cast character and integrity?

Cover Image Credit: Miami Beach Police

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.

I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.


This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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