You’re tellin’ me!

Your comments regarding what we say in this space matter and that’s why we call it “You Tell Me.” The idea is that I take a position and then you tell me what you think. I’m right on. I’m full of beans.

You Tell Me.

So with that said, let’s revisit some of the things we have talked about in previous weeks and share your comments on them. Let’s start with Roman Polanski.

The Swiss police announced this week that they are keeping fugitive film director Roman Polanski in jail pending extradition proceedings back to the United States. As you may recall, Roman Polanski skipped bail 31 years ago in California as he awaited formal sentencing in a plea deal flowing from his sexual abuse of a 13-year old girl. He has been living in France and Poland since. Polanski was arrested late last month in Switzerland as he entered that country to accept an award.

The beautiful people of Hollywood have gone nuts on this. How dare anyone hold Polanski accountable for something that happened so long ago, they cry. To arrest Polanski and extradite him to the United States to face the reckoning he has avoided for 31 years is to reveal oneself as a “Philistine” according to Debra Winger.

I said in a post two weeks ago that anyone, regardless of political belief, should be able to make the right call on Roman Polanski. He’s an admitted sexual predator. He should have to pay for his crime.

Reader David Birkman offered this comment. “I wonder where the 13-year-old’s father was in all this. If someone had done that to my sister, my father would have taken care of it before the SOB could have left the country.”

Well, that’s a good question, Mr. Birkman and one that I would have raised in the original post but for the fact that space did not permit. I, of course, don’t recommend vigilante justice. But the whereabouts of the father is a legitimate concern. I don’t know this but I’d bet on it. The young girl who was abused by Polanski likely did not have an actively engaged father. It has been my experience that children who are raised in households with two committed parents are dramatically less likely to wind up in this kind of trouble. The social model that worked for several millennia was the two-parent household. Kids that wind up in trouble or as victims of abuse are disproportionately from single-parent homes.

Men fulfilling their duties as fathers is a big issue for me. I have spoken my mind on this subject here and here.

Thank you, Mr. Birkman, for your comment.

Reacting to my post of September 24 reader Andy Harris commented, “Ben Franklin [said], ‘We must not have those in poverty comfortable. We must DRIVE them out.’” Mr. Harris, I cannot find where Benjamin Franklin ever said that but I agree with the sentiment.

To the extent that government provides aid and benefit that serves to insulate individuals from the consequences of their bad behaviors, such as dropping out of school, becoming addicted or having babies while still in their teens, you will inevitably get more of the bad behavior. Fear of the consequences of failure is a useful motivator that has become greatly under appreciated.

The beauty of the experiment that began with our constitutional republic is that for the first time, we got kings and earls and dukes and potentates of all stripes out of the way of ordinary people and allowed those ordinary people to flourish on their own industry and initiative. Thus a great nation rose and went on to become very, very wealthy. While we have a moral obligation to help those who cannot fend for themselves, we want to cast a narrow net. It was Benjamin Franklin that said, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. “

Your comments matter. Thank you Mr. Birkman and Mr. Harris and all of those that I have not mentioned for sharing yours. This is a dialogue. To anything that I say, I want your response. We didn’t pick the name of this feature by accident.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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5 Responses

  1. Michael Littleton says:

    Why is it that it has come to a point in this country that to determine weather a person should be prosecuted or not swings on there social or professional status? If according to the Constitution that all Men are created equal should not our being subject to the Laws of this country be the same! To my Knoledge I Don’t think I have ever seen in ANY Jurisdiction the Laws labled as Upper class & Lower class. So in my observation & opinion the prosecution of Mr. Polanski should apply just the same as if I had commited the crime. Equal Punishment for Equal people!!

  2. Tom Martin says:

    We desperately need a moral vision correction. The clear thinking of the past in which there was little room for ” gray” areas is in danger of being lost. There is nothing wrong with being certain of our morality.

    I persoanlly find it frustrating that any part of our society can condone criminal acts and find excuses for them. What is wrong with our moral compass? Why can’t we just find right and wrong and deal with them in an appropriate way. Sure would be an easier world to live and work in wouldn’t it?

    Sorry, being PC just isn’t in my vocabulary nor a part of my life. I would put Mr Polanski under the jail.

    Tom Martin

  3. Simon White says:

    Mr. Littleton, you are dead on. Sadly that even goes on in Smith County.

  4. Tom King says:

    What we’re facing is a return of the idea that “rank has its privileges” to an America that was not built that way. The U.S. was created in “one brief shining moment” when, due to the increasingly preposterous excesses of the nobility, the idea that all men were created equal was receiving some positive press with philosophers like John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. The idea was even written into the new American constitution.

    The nobility did not take kindly to losing their privileges. Fairy tales and children’s stories continued to “sell” the idea to new generations that there were certain special people out there who ought to be above the rest of us mere mortals simply because of who they were.

    A short time later, the noble class and the would-be noble class got some help from the new ideas of Charles Darwin. He famously proposed that talent and brains and, by inference, success, was, in fact, inherited. Those who had believed all along that they should receive special benefits for being, well, “better” than the rest of us, seized on this idea and ran with it. The result was the flowering of progressivism, eugenics, socialism, communism, nazism and finally, the Democrat party – all predicated on the idea that some people are better than others and should have extra privileges and power.

    The idea does include some room for merit. If by chance or dint of hard work, you do manage to “make it”, it’s obvious that you must be one of the elites, therefore you (and your genes) should be welcomed into the gene pool and protected from the consequences of actions that would get ordinary mortals thrown into jail.

    The 16th and 17th century kings and dukes, earls and barons have been replaced by actors and actresses, politicians and corporate titans. Of course, Polanski should get off we reason. He’s a movie director. Think of the movies we’d miss if you put him in prison – the loss to humanity of his vast talent.

    Don’t know about you, but I didn’t really grieve over missing “Ninth Gate”. I’m just sayin’. Polanski could sit for a little longer in jail for drugging and raping a 13 year old girl and I don’t think the world would lose a lot.

    When are we going to give up the Hollywood-fueled notion that there ought to be such a thing as a privileged class?

    It’s coming up on Halloween and once again this year the number one costume for girl children in the United States will be – you guessed it – the “Princess” costume.

    It may already be too late.

    Tom King
    Flint, TX

  5. Sharon says:

    Not only should Mr. Polanski serve his sentence for the crimes for which he was convicted, but additional time for the escape. Just because this man is a notable director does not and should not give him a get out of jail free card.
    Hollywood shut up and let the common sense people do what is right.

    There are occassions that people fall on hard times and I believe that helping these people is essential, living off of the system is a lazy mans way and far to many people have grown up thinking that somebody owes them, I don’t owe anybody anything, I have worked all my life to get what I have, it may not be much, but it is mine, if you want it get off your butt and work for it, because the only way you get mine is to pry it out of my cold dead hands.

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