1964, singer—songwriter Bob Dylan released what would become one of
his most famous songs, The Times They Are a—Changin’. Several recent
events reminded me this song title is just as applicable for 2012—from
sports to politics, to college and reproduction…
The Times They Are A-Changin'
Do you find things
Americans once found shocking now tend to be ignored while matters
that once seemed so ordinary, are now embroiled in controversy? For
example, it used to be, the most controversy sports generated was the
debate among fans over who has the best team or the best player, or
how the game was lost on a blown call by an umpire, or referee. Even
when a player was found to have crossed the line morally, it rarely
caused even a raised eyebrow, because on the field of play their
integrity was unchallenged.
That is not to say some have not been noted for their
carousing—Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath.
But, this was generally brushed aside; as, “boys will be boys”.
As what mattered, first and foremost, was the integrity of the game.
Not so today. Many
athletes break the rules, some even break the law; yet, the public
gives it that same old wink and a nod. Several sports records are now
held by suspected or admitted steroid abusers. An NFL team paid
bounties for deliberately injuring their opponent’s star players. In
both instances the fans seem accepting of it, even pleading for softer
sanctions. However, let an athlete take a stand for his faith and the
Case in point, on
Easter Sunday one of the largest celebrations was held outdoors to
accommodate the interest generated by a professional football player.
Over 15,000 attended the event to listen to a 24-year-old man talk
about his faith and where it was taking him.
He humbly spoke of the positive effect public displays of faith
could have on the world. He knows of what he speaks as his own public
displays have made Tim Tebow quite a sensation in the media. They have
also landed him in the center of controversy.
is over something Tebow says he has been doing on the football field
for seven years—kneeling or “Tebowing” as the media now labels it.
However, now people are paying attention. Some because he bows in
prayer—something he's done since childhood; others because he was a
winner—taking an NFL team, that was not supposed to make it, to the
playoffs. And, while there are many who believe in the sincerity of
this young man, others say his actions are only for show, or that
there is no place for religious displays in professional sports;
steroids—maybe, marital infidelity—most definitely. Just don’t talk
about your faith.
Later that Easter
afternoon the sporting world was again riveted when Phil Mickelson,
who was favored to win The Masters Golf tournament, turned in a less
than spectacular performance. This allowed a Dutchman, with an
improbable shot, to raise his prospects of victory and secure a spot
in a playoff with a golfer named Bubba—who, like Tebow, has generated
his own fair share of controversy over his faith.
charged to the fore through steady success, hole after hole, fighting
his way into a playoff and ultimately winning golf’s premier event.
Shockingly, for some, a guy named Bubba now numbers among the elite of
golf. The green jacket is his forever. Perhaps even more shocking is
the commitment he affirms of his faith in God.
importance of his own faith, Bubba Watson has tweeted, "Most important
things in my life—1. God 2. Wife 3. Family 4. Helping others 5.Golf."
As with those who do not like Tebow’s pronouncements of faith,
Watson’s words were not well-received by some who follow him on
about his tweets regarding faith and scripture verses. He responded
politely that any offended should feel free to “unfollow” his Twitter
feed. A hundred, or so, folks did. Bubba took the time to reply to
each with a goodbye note of well wishes.
So, what is it
that motivates these young champions—the NFL quarterback, who led his
college team to a national championship, and the formerly bad tempered
golf pro, who now holds golf’s greatest championship? Is victory in
the sporting arena their ultimate goal? The answer to this question
is, incredibly, what also makes them controversial.
Tebow is known for deliberately stating on the front end of the
interview, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Regarding his kneeling he said, "I've been doing the same thing for
the last seven years and this year it just seems to get popular. But I
do think it's pretty cool because at least prayer is being talked
After donning his
trophy attire before the throngs at Augusta National Golf Club, Bubba
stepped up to the microphone and offered thanks to his Lord and
Savior. Later in an ESPN interview he spoke of wearing “the Green
Jacket” as a dream come true and a blessing.
That it would help him, “. . . do better things across the
world outside of golf.”
The stories of
Tebow and Watson illustrate how people are polarized over those who
place a higher premium on things other than simply winning the game.
Surely to most of America there still exist noble ideals and higher
aspirations than to merely have the best view of the circus of life
around us. As a sport crazed nation, have we forgotten that winning is
not the only thing of lasting value?
The Times They Are a—Changin’
Unnoticed on Good
Friday by the major media was a full-page ad run in the campus
newspaper The Stanford Daily. The page 5 advertisement
sought a human egg donor for hire.
Though unspecified in the ad, compensation to donors regularly
ranges from a few thousand dollars up to as high as $50,000.
(Unfortunately, college students are particularly susceptible to such
offers as they can always use some extra cash.)
specifications and qualifications for the donor and informed of the
intentions of those who sought to buy a young woman's fertility.
buyers bragged about themselves as highly educated but infertile,
highly accomplished with graduate degrees from excellent universities,
and living in one of the best school districts; they want the child to
be a top student as were they.
interesting was how they described their “ideal egg donor” as a:
Stanford student with an ‘A’ grade point average, near-perfect SAT
score, wonderfully awarded during high school and the University.” The
fee for this “Genius egg donor” was simply, “excellent compensation".
At one time Mom
and Dad worried that their daughters would remain chaste while at
college and were scared to death if they didn't.
Now parents have to worry not only about their children keeping
their virginity, but also about selling their offspring—by surgically
having their eggs removed.
I am reminded of
the award winning documentary movie Eggsploitation, my
friend, Jennifer Lahl, produced and directed. The movie recounts the
tragic stories of Stanford and other university graduates and
students—young women who sold their eggs.
It all looks so simple and sure for some easy big money. But
the young ladies featured in Eggsploitation, introduce
you to a darker side of the story—the unseen potential added costs of
infertility, sterility, crippling long term disabilities and death.
Director for the FDA, Dr. Suzanne Parisian, warned of these dangers in
Eggsploitation, stating, " . . . [the dangers] for egg
retrieval in women would include the OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation
syndrome), which would in and of itself put a woman at risk for
pulmonary complications, fluid imbalances, stroke and death.”
Unfortunately, The Stanford Daily ad doesn’t
inform donors of the potential dangers inherent in donating human
college to be a learning, maturing, developing experience that also
provides some enjoyment.
It’s a last opportunity for our children to search broadly for issues
and ideas that inspire and uplift before they begin their professional
career. Society is making
it into some sort of “qualifying endurance test” and an expensive
one—not only financially but as this ad indicates, physically and
emotionally, as well.
It is little
wonder that some young woman, having achieved so much to earn her way
into an elite school, and trying to survive without a withering debt
load the day she graduates would be vulnerable to the allure of a
quick cash down payment for her hard work.
The Times They Are a—Changin’
Perhaps of even
greater consequence for us as a nation is what is happening in the
political world. Statesmen
used to come together to effect legislative agreement for the good of
the nation and for her citizens. Foreign policy fights stopped at our
one-upmanship rules the day when seemingly every elected official is
out to deliver the bacon back home, let alone provide benefits
expected by their major contributors. Could you dare describe our
current group of legislators as statesmen? Times have changed, we have
constant conflict and infighting that hinders compromise and because
of that we find ourselves facing such things as:
spending tax dollars on extravagant “team building” events;
billions of taxpayers’ dollars on the failing green energy
companies of political cronies;
profiting from “insider trading” that would get ordinary taxpayers
a prison term;
Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reed refusing to pass a budget for
over 1,100 days;
junkets and First Family vacations to luxury locations;
Service procuring prostitutes
Since we deal with public policy, when you paid your
“tax bill” for April 15th, did you ask yourself, “Are we
getting our money’s worth?”
With the country racking up $4 trillion in debt in the last 4
years, isn’t it time for
someone to take action and cut back on the entire lavish spending
We deserve more
for our money. We desire people who steward it, save it and spend it
wisely. We demand some standards to apply to when, where, and for what
it is spent and accountability for how it is spent.
In politics, the
American people want a government that does its job efficiently and
effectively and at a low cost. We want politicians who are not
corrupt, men and women who are straight shooters, on whom we can rely.
The public has at least earned that!
Please heed the
Don't stand in the
Don't block up the
For he that gets
Will be he who has
There's a battle
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake
And rattle your
For the times they are a—changin'.”
The Times They Are a—Changin’