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Perspective: What happened to consequences?

Artyom Kabajev

For the better part of three decades as an educator, I spent time trying to impart a fundamental life skill for kids, that of understanding the relationship between cause and effect. Or, as I sometimes rephrased it, the connection between an action and its consequence. Many of those connections are simple. For instance, if one eats too much and does not exercise, his/her health suffers.

It stands to reason that the more responsibility a person has in his/her purview, the higher the standard should be for the ethical application and understanding of cause and effect. And because that standard is higher, so should the consequences for failing to abide by said standard.

For instance, let’s say you’re a politician who for craven purposes perpetuates a lie that leads to long term damage to democracy itself?

Or for instance, let’s say you are a politician who is more interested in ruling and power than in fair governing. And in the pursuit of that power, makes every effort to demonize and marginalize “the enemy” who also happen to be American citizens?

Or lastly, let’s say you are a politician who is all for the rule of law until the rule of law comes to apply to you, because you broke it. And your response is attempt to change the law so it no longer applies to you, because you are, well, so very special.

I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t tolerate these behaviors from kids. So why do these adults get away with it?

Andrew Nelson has been involved in public education in northern Illinois for more than three decades.