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Abuse of Power
cole horton 14 editorial associate
December 15, 2011

On account of three separate allegations of molestation against the basketball coach, Syracuse University Senior Vice President Kevin Quinn released a formal statement saying, “At the direction of Chancellor [Nancy] Cantor, Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately.”

The similarities between the case of Bernie Fine, that of Jerry Sandusky, and the scandals of the Catholic Church in the 2000s are frightening.

At that time, Bishop Wilton Gregory, then-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and current archbishop of Atlanta, said, “We [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] are the ones who chose not to report the criminal actions of priests to the authorities, because the law did not require this.”

An insidious, persistently increasing trend has begun to show its face to American society: a trend of misusing power. No football coach or archbishop should be above the law of the United States. This abuse of power and influence even stretches into the political realm, with “legal” behaviors like insider trading that allow politicians to beat the stock market by 12% each year.

As a nation, we need to confront abuses of power, whether it is the molestation of young children or the manipulation of the stock market. When a nation’s leaders or any programs or institutions cease to obey the same laws as those of the people, that nation finds itself the birthplace of monarchy.

To ensure our leaders and powerful persons refrain from considering themselves above the people’s laws, we must be vigilant and police those who disobey, manipulate, or “bend” the rules. The American societal system is based on mutual trust and obedience of the laws.

Alexis de Tocqueville, visiting America in its earliest stages, is credited with saying, “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” If these acts of superiority and disobedience of the law continue, America may reach a point where she ceases to be good. American people of all monetary stature and influence must adhere to its laws if she is to maintain her greatness.

What’s more, if our elected and spiritual leaders, along with our glorified sports heroes, fail to obey the law, what keeps every American from following suit of those expected to “lead by example?”