Sunday, May 21, 2006

What is considered "immoral behavior?"

Our morality meter is broken. The actions that constitute immorality disturb me.

What is truly immoral?

Is it immoral for a mother to protest the Dixie Chicks by picketing outside their concert while holding her two-year old child and commanding him to shout an angry chant directed at the Dixie Chicks or for people to call in death threats (serious enough that the FBI became involved) because one of the Dixie Chicks voiced a negative opinion about the current administration and it's decision to go to war?

Apparently not. Those are not the stories in the news. Instead, it is the Dixie Chicks or people like them who are portrayed in such a negative light for not supporting our country and not supporting our troops...when really what they didn't (and don't) support was the decision to go to war.

Is it immoral for protesters to stand outside an abortion clinic and ridicule everyone who walks in and out of the clinic, yelling insults and derogatory statements and carrying despicable signs of dead fetuses in an attempt to belittle the people who walk in and out of the abortion clinic?

Apparently not. Instead, it's the woman who has gotten pregnant and struggled to figure out if having a child is right for her or the baby. It's her decision to have an abortion that is criticized, despite the fact that perhaps she realized that the father of her child might not be a good role model or that she might not be able to financially or educationally provide what the child needs. Maybe she just realized that she is not mature enough to have a child. Maybe she made a bad decision, but maybe she's trying to keep her bad decision from affecting yet another human being.

Is it immoral for people to camp out every weekend at the border with binoculars and guns to ensure that no one crosses--even if it means shooting or even killing people--to make sure people don't cross and invisible line and come into "our" country?

Or is it immoral for the people who hire the undocumented workers and underpay them (in cash) so that they can make bigger profits to keep for themselves?

Apparently not. Instead, it's the people in Mexico who recognize that they might be able to help their family out of poverty if they take a trip that often means leaving their immediate family behind so they can work at physically demanding and underpaying jobs to support their family.

Is it immoral for big corporations and companies to contract overseas with sweatshop labor that often employ small children and work kids and adults 17-20 hours a day for pennies because they say their profit margin is too small, yet the executives of the company are still making million dollar salaries?

Apparently not. We still buy the products. Wal-mart, Nike, and others are not feeling any pain. There is no outrage over this. Whatever other countries do and however they do or don't pay their employees is none of our business. We simply contract with them. We try to stay out of the way other countries run their business, right? (well...unless it negatively affects Iraq...or Iran)

Is it immoral for a big company like ConAgra to pay a meat grinder $6.40/hour in 1977 and 29 years later, the same man at the same company only makes $13.25/hour? Is it immoral for the same company to pay their former chief executive $45 million during his 8 years at the company give him a $20 million retirement package despite the fact that the company's share prices fell, the company missed earnings targets, and underperformed its peers under his watch?

Apparently not. Instead, it's the people who ask for livable wages, adequate healthcare, and better schools and education systems for their children who are said to want something for nothing.

Something is wrong with our society when we focus on one type of immorality (mainly the types that affect the poor and people of color) and ignore the other (mainly the types that affect wealthy, white people).
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