Penn State, my final loss of faith
By Thomas L. Day
I'm 31, an
I was never harmed by
I was one of the lucky ones. My experience with Second Mile was a good one. I should feel fortunate, blessed even, that I was never harmed. Yet instead this week has left me deeply shaken, wondering what will come of the foundation, the university, and the community that made me into a man.
One thing I know for certain: A leader must emerge from
They have failed us, over and over and over again.
I speak not specifically of our parents -- I have two loving ones -- but of the public leaders our parents' generation has produced. With the demise of my own community's two most revered leaders,
They have had their time to lead. Time's up. I'm tired of waiting for them to live up to obligations.
Think of the world our parents' generation inherited. They inherited a country of boundless economic prosperity and the highest admiration overseas, produced by the hands of their mothers and fathers. They were safe. For most, they were endowed opportunities to succeed, to prosper, and build on their parents' work.
For those of us in our 20s and early 30s, this is not the world we are inheriting.
We looked to
The times following September 11th called for leadership, not reckless, gluttonous tax cuts. But our leaders then, as now, seemed more concerned with flattery. Then -House Majority Leader and now-convicted felon Tom Delay told us, "nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes." Not exactly Churchillian stuff.
Those of us who did enlist were ordered into
We looked for leadership from our churches, and were told to fight not poverty or injustice, but gay marriage. In the Catholic Church, we were told to blame the media, not the abusive priests, not the bishops, not the Vatican, for making us feel that our church has failed us in its sex abuse scandal and cover-up.
Our parents' generation has balked at the tough decisions required to preserve our country's sacred entitlements, leaving us to clean up the mess. They let the infrastructure built with their fathers' hands crumble like a stale cookie. They downgraded our nation's credit rating. They seem content to hand us a debt exceeding the size of our entire economy, rather than brave a fight against the fortunate and entrenched interests on
Now we are asking for jobs and are being told we aren't good enough, to the tune of 3.3 million unemployed workers between the ages of 25 and 34.
This failure of a generation is as true in the halls of Congress as it is at
Perhaps the most vivid illustration this week of our leaderless culture came with the riots in
This week the world found the very worst of human nature in my idyllic
Thomas Day is a graduate student at the
Read more On Faith:
James Martin, SJ: A Catholic priest's view of Penn State