“All that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing,” so said the great English politician Edmund Burke. Recent events have proven his words as true now as they were over 200 years ago.
DEA agents stationed overseas were found to have been engaging in sex parties funded by drug cartels. Over a period of at least five years agents repeatedly threw caution to the wind and participated in lascivious parties held in buildings leased by the US government. At least seven agents were directly involved in the misconduct with many others involved in covering up the behavior. Supervisors were made aware of their behavior but chose to ignore it. When news of the misconduct came to light DEA officials obstructed the investigation.
Hearing the story I found myself asking, “Where were the good men?” If just one person had taken a stand and spoken up about the wrongdoing the problem could have been handled quickly, harm prevented and embarrassment avoided. No one did.
In Atlanta, the city has been torn apart by a scandal that has rocked its largest school district. 34 educators either plead guilty or were convicted of racketeering in a 6 year scheme to fraudulently raise standardized test scores. Investigators found evidence of cheating by 180 educators in 44 schools. As bonuses were handed out based on student performance on the exams the teachers and administrators received thousands of dollars from the government for their lies.
Hearing of a scandal this widespread and involving so many people I find myself asking, “Where were the good people?” Was there not one person who had the courage to stand up and say, “This is wrong!” It seems no one did.
Courage is required because standing against the crowd is risky. Rejection, anger and isolation may await, there is a chance that one will not be heard, that pain may come and change may not. Faced with such personal danger, where can one find the courage to stand?
It must come both from within us and beyond us. To stand we must have a deep rooted conviction within ourselves that evil cannot be allowed to win out. We must have faith that there is a God who sees and who will ultimately judge men according to their works. Only then will we be able to speak out. Only then will we see good men and women rise up against evil. In a world where values are disappearing the need for a few good men has never been greater.
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