Nobody is perfect. We’ve committed more than our fair share of sins. We’ve done things that would make Stephanie Kraft blush; things that make us hang our heads in shame. But, we cannot let these transgressions turn us into moral cowards.
Good people sit on the sidelines, afraid to be called “hypocrites” or have their missteps exposed.
We’ve taught one another to “not rock the boat”. We wait for others to stand up. We wait for others to speak “truth to power”. Yet our inaction, our cowardice, makes our wait even longer. We’ve taught one another to fear lawsuits and negative media more than corruption, cronyism and crime.
Our cowardice has made us settle for phony ethics panels and inspectors general to save us.
Our cowardice lets $500 checks from the well-connected determine the fate of communities and our children.
Our cowardice lets the media ignore stories that really matter. They (rightfully?) think you do not care. The media will not connect dots; they think you’re too ignorant to “get it”.
Our cowardice allows the corrupt ones to hide in plain sight. Their dealings fill financial reports and meeting minutes. They smile for pictures at black-tie events. They come before their friends at public meetings asking for more money. They interact with your children while they’re at school. Their foundations and charities populate the Mailbox stores all over Broward.
Our cowardice makes honest men and women in law enforcement think twice. They wonder what their bosses will say. They wonder if they should stick their necks out. What if the bad guys are friendly with higher-ups?
They are planning for 2012 right now. They want “friends” elected in March to make things easier in 2012. They help them hide connections. But friendships will not be forgotten.
The corruption is no secret to law enforcement. The corruption is no secret to judges and lawyers. The corruption is no secret to reporters, columnists and editors. The corruption is no secret to big business. The corruption is no secret to charities, churches and synagogues. The corruption is no secret to politicians and political parties. The corruption is no secret to teachers, principals and school administrators.
Don’t you think our children know about the corruption?
Our children and grandchildren are listening. The children are following our lead. They are learning to look the other way. They are learning to keep quiet.
We crave leadership. We want someone to stand up and fight. There is safety in numbers; The good people of Broward outnumber the bad. Who will take the leap of faith?
Who will show our children that not all leaders and politicians look the other way? Who will show us not every leader acts in his own self-interest?
A hero is not perfect. Every leader has flaws. A leader stands up when others are afraid to rise. A hero speaks out when others are afraid to be heard.
Who will teach our kids to take a stand?