I could care less that Lance Armstrong took drugs to enhance his performance. What I do find odious about him, as well as interesting from the broader perspective, is the extraordinary lengths he went to win all his races, destroying loads of people in the process.
The broader perspective is that the whole affair reflects the prevailing attitude in this country that winning is everything. That whatever it takes to win is OK, even if it means destroying everyone who gets in the way. We see the same thing demonstrated in the disgraceful way in which the ideologues in Washington and all the special interests, banks, the NRA, you name it demonstrate this principle. Their only motivation is to win by any means possible and to hell with what’s good for the country and the American people. They lie and cheat and distort the facts and deny their responsibility. They seem accountable to no one. But somehow we seem to support it. It’s how the game is played, we think, and make the assumption that we can do likewise when it suits us.
The other thing it demonstrates, which shows just how sick this society has become, is that he got away with it all those years because he was too big to fail. People knew the truth but dared not say anything for fear of bringing down the whole edifice of the sports industry along with all the arcane mythology that feeds it. He felt so supported by his own celebrity status power that he was able to do as he pleased, no matter what the cost. He literally destroyed people and intimidated every sports writer in the country, daring them to out him. They didn’t because they knew that it would be career suicide to do so.
It was exactly the same thing as with Jimmy Savile the pedophile I wrote about some time ago, who abused young children right under the nose of the BBC for decades. Everyone knew all along that he was abusing children but everyone chose to go into denial about it because of who he was. He was too big to fail. Or to put it another way, he was too big to bring to justice. So everyone looked the other way.
We see the same thing with HSBC, the bank that engaged in breaking umpteen laws, both national and international. Not one executive was prosecuted for the criminal behavior because it was said that do so would destabilize the entire banking system. “Too big to fail” seems to cover all sorts of crimes, no matter how egregious they are, when the crime takes place at the highest levels. See how well that defense works for you if you get caught with a few ounces of weed in your possession!
I heard people last night on TV, prior to the airing of the Oprah show on which he is to confess, indicate a willingness to forgive him (the letting bygones be bygones variety only, of course), for the mess he has caused and saying what a good guy he was really because he supported cancer work. Well, Bernie Madoff was a nice guy too and he got 250 years in prison. Notwithstanding the broader perspective that Armstrong is mirroring what is rotten in our culture, and to that extent is a ‘healing angel,’ for us if only we could see it, at the human level I think Armstrong is a sociopathic scumbag and a scoundrel. He should be treated in much the same way as Madoff. They would make good cellmates.