Its a sad day. Not just for Floyd Landis, the cycling community, or the competitive sports world, but for the United States in its entirety---
When did we become a win-at-all costs society? When did pride in hard work and a commitment to excellence become defeated by instant gratification? Oh wait--- for centuries this has slowly, and in some ways unknowingly, become way of life for most.
I feel bad for Floyd Landis---not because he is under speculation for using a synthetic substance to enhance performance and will most likely lose his title as winner but because he is an American and in other areas of his life what he did would go unnoticed. Unfortunately, it seems Landis isn't the only one who needs to ask the hard questions and be honest with himself. I would say we all do.
Isn't it true that inadvertently we endorse this type of behavior in many aspects of life. As early on as elementary school we see traces of the same character flaws that Landis is being scrutinized for. Our schools have the highest rate of cheating and academic dishonesty that the education system has ever seen. Parents make excuses claiming the pressure for grades is too much and laws like No Child Left Behind leave teachers feeling overwhelmed and underqualified so they look the other way as well. We gawk and drool over the idea of a "get-rich-quick" idea in the business world. The individuals who catch a break and seem to fall into money as the 9 to 5ers look on with envy. We look for every way possible to make things easier, quicker, and more convenient. We spend millions of dollars trying to do less and get more.
We have cheating in schools, we have Enron scandals in business, we have pyramid schemes, we have a president who commits adultery and lies in the Court of Law, we have American soldiers who torture prisoners and then lie about the incident, we have a ramped steroid problem in the baseball world. . .we have a paved path towards dishonesty in every facet of life. Yet, we are insulted and agast when we learn that Landis may have taken a performance enhancing substance to win the Tour de France.
My question is, why are we surprised? We are a society that does the character cry at a time like this when someone has done something to gain the edge---but we currently reside on a shaky foundation that is crumbling under the widespread outbreak of doing whatever it takes to save time, energy, and work, and still reap the rewards.
We cannot decided to be a nation of Character when it is convenient if we are going to chastize cheating we must be consistent---so right now all we are really in a position to say to Landis is: Isn't it ust the American way?.....