The sins of the fathers - Gerry Yandel

Sitting in my kitchen early on Father's Day, I pondered the ramifications of socking Michael Jackson in what's left of his surgically re-created nose.

But, the more time I actually spent thinking about Wacko Jacko, as the British Press so accurately dubbed him several years ago, the clearer it became that he is not entirely to blame for being the freak show he is today.

Certainly, his consistent transgressions with young boys and highly questionable antics with them speak for themselves. His own self-loathing is well-documented and easily illustrated by making a photo timeline of his ever-changing appearance. One doesn't even have to be an armchair psychologist to see how the steady stream of surgical procedures is clearly a case of him trying to morph himself into something completely different than he is.

Unfortunately, he seems to have morphed himself into a grown man who keeps an unhousebroken chimp for a pet, who dangles infants over hotel balconies and who is, by his own words, socially comfortable only around children, and moreso with boys rather than girls.

Nonetheless, one has to look a little further than Jacko's sociopathic behavior to figure out what turned the sweet little kid, with an even sweeter voice, into a Jesus Juice-guzzling, pill-popping paranoic that he has become.

By most credible accounts, Jacko's father, Joe Jackson, is an even bigger sociopath than his son. Michael's siblings have repeatedly gone on the record to detail various levels and degrees of alleged mental, physical and sexual abuse. Again, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the sins of the fathers can manifest themselves tenfold in their sons.

Still, Jacko's daddy is not entirely to blame for the sick scenario that surrounds his wayward son, either.

One has to wonder what went through the minds of the so-called parents who offered up their children for the pop singer's amusement and entertainment. One also has to wonder why these people have not been more aggressively prosecuted for, at the very least, contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Sure, the first mother and father who got stars in their eyes - and big bucks in their pockets - can not be entirely blamed for falling for the singer's line of garbage. As far as they could know, Jacko truly was a do-gooder who just wanted to make kids happy.

But, once that line was crossed and the facts of the relationship became public, any parent who knowingly sent their child into the lion's den should be held accountable for their greed and the reckless disregard for the safety of their own child. Amazingly, however, Jacko never seemed to want for fresh children to "help," and a steady stream of parents was more than willing to turn a blind eye and allow their kids to spend time alone with a person who can not be called normal in any sense of the word.

The fact of the matter is that parenting in this country - which is rotting from the core outward with greed, selfishness and celebrity worship - is becoming a sick joke. We are becoming a nation that has forgotten the awesome responsibilities involved with bringing another life into the world. And as we abdicate those responsibilities of raising our children properly and conscientiously, those same children grow up and have kids of their own, whom they are ill-equipped to raise properly.

Once again, it doesn't take an Einstein to see what kind of hell we are headed into with such a downward spiral.

We need to stop looking everywhere else for the causes of our discontent and the erosion of the American family and look at ourselves. It is not video games, rap music, violent movies, social permissiveness, fashion, drugs or anything else that is leading our children astray. It is simply our own self-absorption and greed that has twisted our values away from the important things we should be teaching our children, such as love, tolerance and respect.

Of course, doing this would require that we first learn how to start treating each other with love, tolerance and respect. Yes, these days it seems like an insurmountable task any time we have to interact with each other, whether it is in line at the store or out on the public roads.

But, it is not impossible. And, unless we get to work on it, it seems pretty clear that sociopathic psychodramas like the Jacko saga will more and more become the norm rather than the exception.

Gerry Yandel is the city editor for the Daily Herald. He can be reach at (770) 957-9161 or gyandel@henryherald.com .