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March 22, 2019

What Happened to Character?

by Anne Paddock

Apparently, there is absolutely no way Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the Boston Patriots is going to accept the plea deal in the Florida prostitution case even though the police supposedly have two tapes of Kraft paying for and receiving sexual acts from massage parlor “therapists.”

And, it looks like Felicity Hoffman and Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli may plead “not guilty” to the charges related to illegally helping their children gain entrance to prestigious colleges, even though the FBI has recorded conversations and a money trail that shows they cheated and/or bought their children’s admission. And, then there is Donald Trump trash talking John McCain, who died of brain cancer last year, and Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway, who Trump called “a whack job” and a “stone cold loser and husband from hell” (as if Trump was heaven-sent).

In our great country, we have the presumption of innocence so anyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty, even when the evidence appears strong. Once I asked a friend’s husband (who is a big deal defense lawyer) how he could defend some of the clients he has.  His answer:  everyone has the right to counsel and we are all innocent until proven guilty. OK, I get that but why don’t more people plead guilty, take responsibility, and apologize for their bad decisions when the evidence strongly suggests guilt?

If Kraft is innocent (and the police allegedly have tapes of Kraft having sex with a “massage therapist”), then you have to wonder why Kraft is trying to block the release of the tapes? Kraft probably hired a few high-powered lawyers who will destroy the prosecutor in court to get their client off on some technicality that shows the police investigators in Jupiter, Florida (where the massage parlor that Kraft visited twice is located) made mistakes. But, if Kraft is indeed shown on tape paying for and receiving sexual favors, and gets off (no pun intended), what kind of message are we sending?  A twisted one that basically says you may get caught but if you have the money to hire a legal powerhouse you can get off (again, no pun intended).

I truly hope that Felicity Hoffman, Lori Loughlin, and Mossimo Giannulli plead guilty if the evidence printed in every newspaper and website in the country is true.  Honestly, they should stand up and say;

I’m sorry.  I messed up. I wanted the best for my kids and I lost my way. Call it blind love or ambition. It’s a competitive rat race out there and I got too caught up in it. I should have known the difference between helping them and doing for them. I was wrong and I deeply regret my actions.

They may also want to ask themselves:  What if my kids don’t get into USC or Yale or Harvard?  Do I really need a school to validate my kids?

I know a lot of people who graduated from very prestigious schools but I don’t know one person whose college defined them as human beings. Doors may have been opened because of where they went to school but at the end of the day, they had to prove who they are through intelligence, hard work, and social skills.

And what about the admissions process?  The system is  unjust and most people know it but they look the other way. I don’t know anyone who believes the development office doesn’t communicate with the admissions office of ANY college regarding alumni’s children (despite admissions officers stating otherwise).  And, the only reason athletes don’t have to fulfill the same admissions criteria is because of the high value we place on sports. Make academics first and foremost, and the admissions process will be fairer (not fair but fairer because the quality of education varies so much; higher parental income means students can afford to live in better school districts or attend private schools, take prep classes, have tutors, and assistance, but that’s another topic).

Kellyanne Conway is in a tough position working for Donald Trump but married to one of his most vocal critics, George Conway. As the conflict continues, you have to wonder if these three adults really have to battle it out in social media with name calling and personal attacks? Can you imagine what the Conway children (four kids between the ages of 8-13) are going through? What child wants to hear the President of the United States calling his/her dad a whack job?  Or, that his/her mother is working for an unstable human being?  Most kids are the focal point of their parents lives but the Conways have an interloper who happens to be the President of the United States – a man who continues to brawl with their father, who also can’t stop tweeting and trash talking the President.  Can they all stop thinking about themselves and think about the kids?

And, finally I will close this by talking briefly about John McCain, who was a good man and a war hero, but who was certainly not a saint. McCain was human and he made mistakes but he also tried more often than not to do the right thing, which is what most of us strive to do. That Trump is tweeting insults about McCain is unconscionable, disgusting, and so classless…as if Trump has led an exemplary life.  He’s cheated on his wives, bullied people, and attacked opponents viciously. Trump lies often but doesn’t correct himself; instead he takes the spot light off himself by vilifying others. Although he lives in the White House, Trump is the quintessential resident of a glass house, who likes to throw stones, lots of them….except that no one has told him that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, much less boulders.

If Trump would own up to his own character flaws instead of pointing out perceived flaws in others, then maybe we could see the 45th President worthy of the office but that will never happen because his mission is to destroy anyone who threatens or crosses him, and he has millions of supporters who condone this type of behavior instead of calling him out. It reminds me of the first time I took my daughter to a hockey game in the US and she watched in surprise as a 3-year old bounced up and down on her mother’s lap shouting “kill, kill, kill” when two hockey players got into a fight on the ice while the referee just stood there as blood poured and the audience egged them on. Where is human decency and why doesn’t character seem to matter anymore?

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