Hominy & Hash
CALL IT THE 'PK' SYNDROME
by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, GA
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Preacher's kids - need I say more? It's an almost stereotypical reference to someone assumed to be squeaky clean, who should be held up as a shining example, but who is really running with the pack.
This week, Harvard student and son of respected Al Gore, former Senator of Tennessee, former Vice President of the United States, was stopped by police for driving with his headlights off. Was he looking for the stop, search, seize and arrest that goes with such an utter disregard for the law?
It would seem that the many times he and his friends drove around with marijuana both in use and stashed for later use, attracted no attention. He was being bad, but, unless someone knew it, he couldn't flaunt it. Thus, no headlights ... I double dare you!
When George W. Bush was campaigning for president, his twin daughters were cited for underaged drinking -- openly, in a bar. Of course they'd be spotted -- what were they thinking? Perhaps, something like, just because my dad's running for President is no reason for me to be any different from my friends.
Do these parents hold up their hands and say "why me?" Or, do they separate their responsibilities as parents from their professional lives -- and hope we will, too.
It's not only kids, but siblings as well. We remember Billy Carter (accused of representing foreign interest -- Libia -- in the United States) and Roger Clinton (caught on tape snorting cocaine and mouthing epithets and racial slurs with no lumps) and the lives they lived -- so different from what we'd expect from brothers of Presidents of the United States. But, there we are. We're in the United States and we can focus on where the problems lie. Noelle Bush, daughter of Jeb Bush, was escorted into a rehabilitation center by none other than the Governor himself.
It's not a "trickle up" behavior for us to worry about His son's arrest is absolutely no reflection on Al Gore; nor, is it a "trickle up" behavior. Ex-President Clinton's behavior has been in no way a reflection on the respect we tender his daughter, Chelsea.
So, what is the syndrome all about? What come first, the children wanting to "fit in" -- to belong to their peers in every way, or, are they actually leading the pack? Are the parents, always high achievers themselves, assuming their children will learn from observing them, and following their own tried and true blueprint for success ... and not taking time to give of themselves, time to talk, time to listen?
The rest of us fit into this syndrome in a way I'll never understand. One, we like to see that the rich, famous, accomplished among us have the same problems raising children as we do; and, two, we apparently like to see the mighty fall, then we feel guilty for having those thoughts.
Preachers and priests alike fall into the syndrome, not as sons of preachers, per se, but openly sons of Almighty God: Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, the Boston Diocesan scandal, all creating shame through their deeds, cloaking themselves in ignominy, while tainting some innocents along the way.
In the case of rich and famous, grand and notorious, we secretly want them to be taken down; however, in cases involving men of the cloth, we don't want it to be true. Their defense is that we are all sinners and they are human, and no different from the rest of us.
We don't want to hear it! We prefer to think they might just be a few bad apples in the bushel. We want to believe we're able to rise above temptation, able to resist the urge to toil in the Devil's workshop. But, if these holier-than-thou human beings among us can't, what chance have we?20
Are we holding them up to derision, whether fathers, sons or brothers? Are we pointing fingers? Well, yes, I believe we are. But not with the tsk tsk suggesting shame on you. We point with index finger firmly extended and say, "There. There, look at him. There but for the grace of God go I.