Cheating On America's Soul


December 15, 2016

Should cheating be a menu option? "Burgers, fries - and our special today is cheating".

Can you imagine? No? Then what's happening in this country?

It's shocking that what is shocking is no longer shocking.

Oh, their cheating hearts!

Russia and the Olympic athletes, passing their urine thorugh a small hole low down on the wall, then even after switching it for a competitor's un-doped urine, adding the secret ingredients of salt or water to make it conform to earlier samples?

With the South Korean Parliament voting to impeach President Park Geun-hye, the cavalcade of scandals can make it seem like politicians everywhere have suddenly become greedy en masse. Perhaps Italy's Silvio Berlusconi's corruption midst conflicts of interest was prescient, yet certainly not first.

Election fraud - a means to an end?

Clinton: The Clinton Foundation accepting pay-to-play money so foreign governments got access to the Secretary of State? What Hillary said to donors at big banks? The Hillary Victory Fund, promising state Democratic parties they'd get money if their Superdelegates pledged early to vote Hillary in? Cheating of another kind - Bill and Monica, Jennifer...something about a cigar, and when asked why, the former President replied, "Because I could."

Cheating in the primaries, later admitted by the head of the Democratic Party, the New York Times, and many mainstream TV, radio, and online media. With no outcry from Hillary. Why the silence? Why didn't they immediately condemn it? Now that they themselves might be affected, they cry out loud, working to defeat the already President-Elect.

Is this acceptable? Do you want it to be (because you'd like a certain result)?

Trump: Who's on trial here? Is the intelligence community aiming for a particular result by using circumstantial evidence to decide that Russia interfered to help elect Trump? They say the quantity of indirect evidence is overwhelming, then rationalize that it's not conclusive, by claiming it's the best info available? Trump University, paying $25 million to settle wrongdoing, as if that made it disappear? Reneging on binding contractual promises to pay companies for labor and materials, then asking that they accept not being paid? Bait and switch - on what he said during the campaign and what he's saying now that he won? The pussy video, suing anyone who bothers him, even those who merely call him on the truth? Not releasing tax returns? Conflicts of interests, actual and potential, too numerous to name?

Trump is making use of the decline of what Americans view as reality, according to the New York Times.

Is that a euphemism for abusing what's become our cheating culture?

Could cheating describe the scandals, indiscretions or conflicts of interest of Trump's new cabinet? Perhaps you might prefer misleading, conning, fooling, deceiving? Deceive suggests it's deliberate; tricking means deceiving by a crafty strategy. How about swindle, dodge, fake, use artifice, set up a hoax - all cheating derivatives.

"He cheated us into believing he was a hero." Is this, too, cheating?

Are we all complicit in Los Angeles' recent lawsuit accusing Sears, JC Penney, Macy's and Kohl's of tricking shoppers by marking up prices before a sale, then lowering them and claiming it was a sale, on one of the biggest sales days of the year?

Does everyone accept the cheating culture of husbands trying to hide money (typically it's husbands, but it could be wives) during a divorce?

Anthony Weiner. Need I say more? Disgraced enough by behavior to force resigning from Congress?

The honor system - whatever happened to that one?

The little treats we all do; we know in our hearts that it's wrong, but do we go faster when we know that traffic light's about to turn red? Do we always go to the speed limit? If the cashier gives you an extra coin in change, do you always give it back?

If you could get away with murder, would you? It's just one hop skip and jump away...from that slippery slope.

When a corporation makes so much money through wrongdoing that profits increase elaborately, does it matter that they pay what to them is a smallish fine?

When companies are allowed to plead "no contest" (nolo contendere) and pay a fine or settlement which preserves their ability to say, "We never got caught doing anything wrong" - is that cheating?

Getting what you can, however you can, in any way you can, as long as you can get yours, if you don't get caught - is it cheating?

If you cheat someone out of something in a forest, and there's no one to witness it, is that cheating?

* * *

The Skit I Wanted to Send to Stephen Colbert

I would start explaining the doping strategy with the hole in the wall, revealed by the Russian whistleblower who designed the cheating. Then I would show the actual hole in the wall they used.

I'd have Colbert's animated character, "Cartoon President-Elect Trump" watching on the side of the screen.

Next I would show the world demanding an explanation for Trump's change in positions, and show him feeding his campaign promises into the hole, and getting back what he says now. I'd blame it on the white plastic button used to hide the hole. I would say the weird plastic buttons are being sought by police.

...etc...adding a sinister plot which only the great Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot could solve.

Another way to go: Olympics officials paid a lot for tamper-proof bottles for urine samples; these have a number on the bottle, and a matching number inside the cap which shows when it's been opened. I'd show a Russian contest for consumers, with lucky numbers inside the caps. Fake contest winners would somehow have lucky numbers in the consumer contest, matching tampered-with bottles.

The whistleblower, Dr. Rodchenkov, said that for at least 15 Russian athletes who won medals at Sochi, both the A and B samples were substituted before they were tested. None of the bottles’ caps — which are branded with unique seven-digit codes — showed any signs of having been opened.

Ok, it needs work.

But it's the Olympics, Stupid, with purity being tricked.

Memo to Dr. Rodchenko, who is in L.A.: I suspect plutonium's in your future. Do not go eat in any restaurant offering white plastic disks on the menu; don't share dinner with any former Russian colleagues and leave the table for any reason. Imagine them taking out a mace-like spray can, then dosing your food, or more efficiently, simply inserting a white plastic disc between your burger and bun.

We just had a "tainted election" according to the New York Times, which uses the words "stolen" and "illegitimate."

When Hank Williams wrote "Your Cheatin' Heart" in 1952, it became a synonym for a lonely person in pain.

"Your cheatin' heart, Will make you weep

You'll cry and cry, And try to sleep

But sleep won't come, The whole night through

Your cheatin' heart will tell on you..."

It this our soul, America?

Around the world, and now here at home, will taking unfair advantage be the norm? Will our shining ideal now be tarnished by the lowering of what once we cared about? Will unfair tactics be our chosen roadmap?

Is it depressing that a lot of Americans don't seem to care?

What an interesting moment in time to be an optimist!


©Carole Bell 2016 Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything.

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