This Won’t Sound Good

By Louis R. Avallone

This won’t sound good. It will seem uncompassionate and unfeeling. Perhaps even mean. But here it goes:

I really don’t care to hear about Lamar Odom anymore, or the headlines that seemingly wonder aloud how this could have happened. Yes, I know he has played on two (2) NBA championship teams. And that he apparently is quite soft-spoken, and very polite. And that he is beloved by all that knew him in the NBA.

In case you haven’t heard, here’s what Lamar Odom did: He paid $75,000 to be with two (2) women for several days, at a brothel in Nevada, where he ingested a combination of herbal supplements and cocaine, eventually ending up unconscious, being transported to a hospital where he remained in a coma for three (3) days. His road to recovery will be painful and long, and we should all pray for his speedy recovery.

But I also know there are many men and women in our armed forces who are seeking a speedy recovery too, like Lamar. Unlike Lamar, though, they have been wounded defending our country, and many have offered their very lives – and yet for many of them, there’s scarcely a story, or headline, or mention in the local newspaper of their contribution to something far, far greater than themselves.

So no, I’m not interested in more Lamar Odom headlines and stories. Or how he and Khloe Kardashian have jointly gone to court to dismiss their divorce case, because they want to stay husband and wife. Or how Khloe is the only one allowed to be by his side in the hospital. Or of how she skipped her sister Kim’s birthday party, so she could stay by her husband’s side instead.

And no, I’m not that interested in how he just wanted to be a basketball legend, and lost the ability to tell the difference between those who cared more about his fame and fortune, and the genuine people who cared more about him – and wanted him to succeed. I really am not interested either in how the brothel’s owner is threatening to sue Khloe for her husband’s bill for his “partying” with the women at the brothel.

But you see, when I say I don’t care about any of those things, what I really mean is that I don’t care about those things as much as I wonder why there are not headlines and news stories on this subject that say, “Going to a Brothel and Snorting Cocaine Is A Really Dumb Idea.” Or “Follow Your Conscience, Make Better Choices, and Live With Fewer Regrets”. Or, “Faith and Family Can Help Us Choose What’s Good, and Not Just What Feels Good”.

But that’s not what our culture is reporting. In addition, you have Lamar’s father blaming the Kardashians for ruining his son’s life. The media is blaming the harsh spotlights of Hollywood. And ESPN is blaming pop culture tabloids and reality television shows, to explain what drove Lamar to this point.

It seems there’s always someone else to blame these days, and it’s become a generational sentiment today. Just going back to the 1992 presidential campaign, for example, if you questioned Bill Clinton’s marital infidelity, womanizing, draft dodging, drug use, or honesty, you were told, “What difference does it matter, it’s the economy, stupid!” Or if you supported impeaching Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky matter, you were told this issue was due to a “massive, right-wing conspiracy,” and not anything that Bill Clinton did, of course.

Sadly, from the sanctity of life, to the institution of marriage, to the freedom of religion, we are constantly reminded by too many in our culture that “character doesn’t matter” and that “right” and “wrong” is only a matter of convenience or perspective, instead of principle.

But you know what? It does matter, because there are basic values about “right” and “wrong” that we must all share: Tell the truth, honor your commitments, remain faithful in God.

After all, when things go wrong in life, it’s natural for us to blame, because then we don’t have to accept responsibility for what we did, or didn’t do. And we come by this quite naturally, in fact. Remember the Garden of Eden?

God: “Adam, did you eat the fruit?”

Adam: “Eve gave it to me.”

But when we resort to blame, and refuse to take life on, or fail to accept responsibility for our circumstances, we hand over the power – the control of our very destiny – to others, as if other “people” or the government will fix everything for us, like a genie in a bottle.

This is why I don’t care to hear any more about Lamar Odom. The sooner he – and our culture – can let go of our excuses, and we take responsibility for our own pursuit of happiness, the sooner we will have the power to change our lives, and our nation, for the better. And given Lamar’s “rags to riches” journey from Queens, New York, I suspect he would wholeheartedly agree – even if the headlines don’t say so.

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