by Bil Aulenbach

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Spoiled Brats

Usually when we refer to spoiled brats, we’re talking about children. Not in this blog post—I’m referring to the now-infamous parents who decided to “help” their children attend the college of the parents’ choice.

The journalistic name given to this travesty is the college admissions scandal, which currently involves thirty-three parents who allegedly bribed a man named William “Rick” Singer to perform all sorts of illegal and immoral actions to help their children gain admission to prestigious colleges. Allegedly, more parents are going to be named. One mystery parent paid a million dollars to get his or her child admitted to a top school.

The network of people implicated in this scandal is large, and getting larger.

Why is this subject even worthy of a blog post? Let me suggest three reasons.

  1. I think our country needs to expose those folks who feel entitled to rig systems in their favor. People like that endanger democracy.
  2. Too much of our justice, political power, and social prestige are bought by the wealthy. One wealthy athlete bought his way out of murdering two people.
  3. When anyone admits to doing wrong and is truly sorry for their misdeeds, they are much more admired than those who try to pretend they didn’t do what the evidence shows they did. Much of the public is big into forgiveness.

I feel our system works when wrong is proved to have been done and justice is served. That’s what democracy is about.

On the other hand, I get angry when those with the means to buy justice complain about the process. One actress objects to being called a cheater even though she and her husband were exposed as first-class cheaters.

One of my favorite mental images is of someone pointing his or her index finger at someone else and not realizing that three fingers are pointing back at him- or herself. I want that actress to see those three fingers, accept the blame, and try to find her moral compass.

When she complains that she doesn’t appreciate the negative backlash, had no bad intentions, was misled, and so on, I want her to go to prison and see if she gets it then.

I must ask: Do these folks who cry “not guilty” have a moral compass?

I think many people have a faith because they appreciate the ethical limits that their religion imposes. My faith has been very clear to me about this.

I admire the parents who were caught, quickly admitted their involvement, and were willing to pay the price. It won’t be cheap, but making mistakes never is. Just ask me.

I have always admired the tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1–10), not because he was a filthy-rich tax collector but because he admitted that he was a sinner and was willing to pay the price if he had ever cheated anyone out of anything.

Jesus responded, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9).

What’s your take on the college admissions scandal?

Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One Response to Spoiled Brats

  • I feel the same way. My daughter didn’t go to college until she was 40 (she had put her husband through his last year at the university by working as a waitress).

    When she was 40, she decided her career options were limited because of her lack of a degree and went to school nights for several years to get a bachelor’s degree. I once asked her how long it would take for her to pay off her college debt, and she answered that she would not get it paid off before she died. She will be 62 in July.

    One of the many tragedies of the USA is that ordinary people usually cannot afford college without going into lifelong debt, while the wealthy can scam the system and almost get away with it.

    The granddaughter of a friend of mine is getting a great free college education in Germany. With all the tax waste in the USA, it appears we could afford to make college free for good students who cannot afford it without their having to go into lifelong debt.

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