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Corruption is, like, so cool!

You know we are living in sad times when a peanut butter sandwich can kill your kids. Poison in our lunch boxes, tax evaders running the treasury. What’s next? Pedophiles running the board of education or Ahmadinejad running the missile defense program?

With so many depressing headlines, we can’t help but worry about the future. But I fear we are forgetting to focus on the most important aspect of it – Generation Next – our youth. I’m not only concerned with the salmonella sandwiches we are giving them, but with what we are failing to give them: morality, values to live by and role models to emulate.

There are many causes behind almost every one of today’s upsetting headlines: greed, corruption, official malfeasance – and let’s not forget our own apathy to make all these wrongs right.

But I have news for you. Kids watch us silently, and when we fail to fight wrongdoings, we serve to endorse them. And the kids take it all in.

Did you know that today’s youth spend approximately six hours a day in front of a screen, either the TV, the computer, video games, iPhones, etc.? So, who is filling the moral gap for them? Tom Daschle? Rod Blagojevich? Michael Vick? Timothy Geithner? Britney Spears? Can you imagine taking the morality of all these individuals, putting them in a blender and then pouring this slimy smoothie into an impressionable youth? You’d end up with an alleged mother-beating dog-killer who doesn’t wear underwear while shafting the country as he auctions off a Senate seat for which he refuses to pay taxes. Just add a splash of vermouth to the mix and you have a future congressman.

The biggest oversight failure we are guilty of today is neglecting to morally edify our youth, to teach them right from wrong – not only by preaching but by doing. It has been scientifically proven that screaming at the anchorman on your TV will do nothing at all. So, don’t just be a grouch potato; get up and make a difference. Lead the way by example. Activism is just as contagious as apathy.

This new generation is tomorrow’s regulators and senators, and if we don’t serve as active role models, tomorrow may very well be worse than today. There is already a trend for teens to text nude pictures of themselves over their cell phones. How truly revealing, literally, as to where they are heading.

That is why I am thrilled that Kellogg’s didn’t go soggy on this one and will not be renewing Michael Phelps’ contract. Along with his medals came a duty of responsibility. Had he faced zero consequences, we would once again have taught Generation Next: You can do anything and get away with it. He got the “gong” because bong was wrong. Am I being a bit harsh? No, I’m being terribly merciful to the next generation. What saved everyone on Flight 1549 was that they had a consummate professional who lived his life by following the rules and perfecting himself. Can you imagine if it was some pilot who had cheated on exams and got away with it, who was an alcoholic and got away with it, who got his job because of nepotism or lofty connections and got away with it? Guess what? There wouldn’t only be six dead geese; there would be 155 dead passengers floating in the Hudson.

We have to stop falling for all these people who cheat us and then go on the apology tour and cry on prime time about how sorry they are. We can’t keep forgiving them like abused housewives. If we fall for everything, how can our youth ever learn to stand for anything. The future, yes, may very well be on all our minds, but let’s never forget, it’s in their hands.