Sunday, January 20, 2013

Integrity - Has It Always Been This Way?

The Lance Armstrong interviews have me thinking.

Is lack of integrity in leaders / role models a relatively recent (40 - 50 year old) issue or has there always been lack of integrity?  Perhaps we know more stories of scandal because of modern technology and 24 hour media.

Although I was too young to pay attention it seems the first 70 years of the last century provided people  of influence who had reasonable integrity and the last 50 years have seen and increase in lying and public acceptance of it.

I'm no historian, but it seems things started to shift with the impeachment of Nixon and the debacle that was the Vietnam conflict.  You could add other examples but I remember in the 80's when Jim Bakker was exposed and public opinion began to shift about religious leaders.  Who can forget Jimmy Swaggart?  Later we had Robert Tilton and more recently Ted Haggard and the Catholic pedophile cases.  We all have stories that are less public about religious leaders stepping into scandal.

Here's the question; is this a new issue or do we know more because of the media age?

I remember what happened in the mid 90's when Clinton said under oath "I never had sexual relations with that woman".  Even with unbelievable abuse of power, lack of integrity and the objectifying of women, Clinton seemed to get a pass.  And yes, last year he gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention which received glowing reviews.  Shocking when you think about it.

Sports is no exception.  Ben Johnson, Jose Canseco, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong and many others have been caught cheating.

With more research we could list hundreds of scandals and breaches of integrity from the last 50 years.

So what say you?  Does the culture of recent history have less integrity or is it simply easier to discover and report?

If our culture has shifted what does that say about us?