Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dishonesty and Pretty Faces

Today in the New Orleans Times Picayune, I read an article about an alleged criminal gang operating around the country. This gang, however, is not the kind of gang anyone would normally consider when classifying gangsters. They do not carry AK 47s. Rather, this group of alleged criminal masterminds consists of handsome college students and adolescent high schoolers. These young people allegedly were part of a cheating ring in which smart college boys took the SAT for underachieving high school kids. Why am I even commenting on this seemingly petty crime when the papers are also filled with murders, rapes, and other heinous crimes. What angers me is that honesty and honor are casualties when thrown into the ring with self-interest and perverse competition.
These affluent high school students (and very likely their parents) were willing to sacrifice their honesty for admission to prestigious universities. Their acceptance into such hallowed halls, however, would be hollow. They did not earn scores necessary to gain admittance to some Ivy League university. Would these students, if accepted, even be able to perform in an academically challenging atmosphere? Their admission to school would be a lie. The first lesson these kids will learn is how to lie and cheat. Such people are the corporate thieves and swindlers of the nation. Will these juveniles learn a lesson or will Mama and Papa Pocketbook simply rescue them from this debacle? Can they learn a lesson and be redeemed?
And what of the fat cat boys who helped the high school kids cheat? Excellent role models, eh? Well, they apparently found a lucrative means of supplementing their college expenses. These young men allegedly hailed from the same Long Island area as did the high school kids they helped cheat. These men attended exclusive private universities, and some allegedly raked in hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for showing up to take the SAT for the students. Did the college frat boys need more money for their kegs? For their dates with pretty coeds? Now, their reputations are tarnished. They even face expulsion from their schools. Greed and dishonesty may lead to their downfall.
Or will it? When did dishonesty become accepted? When did wanting to be the best mean lying to others and ourselves? Being a cheat isn't only taking advantage of the people or institutions the swindler wishes to deceive. In the long run, he or she is also lying to him or herself. Is attending a prestigious university so important that a student is willing to sell his or her soul?


  1. Viola, I hear your outrage. The fabric of American society is being ripped apart at every level for a variety of reasons. I'm no Bible thumper, but I believe one of the reasons is prayer being taken out of schools. I lived in a country with large Islamic and Hindu populations for three years and I have every respect for right to worship. But I also believe that without a strong spiritual foundation of some sort, a society will eventually fall apart. I went to an Anglican high school where the entire school assembled in the school hall first thing every morning. Before going to our classes, we said this prayer, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might that God in all things may be glorified." What a way to start the day and no wonder my school was the breeding ground of so many high achievers.

  2. I also think we've lost an ethical sense of discipline, not matter what the religion. At one time, people valued hard work and discipline. Now, people don't care about gaining prestige on their own. They are only too willing to gain by using someone else.