We are a nation that loves to forgive. We do. You do us wrong, and we can look the other way as long as you make us think that you feel badly for lying, cheating, betraying, or even stealing from us. I like that about my fellow country people. I like that we allow others the opportunity to start over again. Yep, works for me. In Lance Armstrong’s case, however, we are talking about something all together different.
I heard someone on NPR talking about some of the other athletes who have abused their gifts and eventually come clean, and been forgiven by their fans. Pete Rose. Tiger Woods. (Ok, as long as we are coming clean, I really saw it on the CBS Morning Show, but you will think me more intelligent if I say NPR. I know, I know, but at least I told you.)
Lance is different than a Rose or a Woods. Lance Armstrong didn’t just use drugs to win. He decimated anyone who wouldn’t go along with it. He ruined the lives of those who told the truth. He personally threatened people. Over and over again, he attacked the truth sayers with a vengeance that speaks of a sick mind. A very sick mind. Watch some of his attack ads for Nike. Scary stuff.
Tiger Woods fooled around. Pete Rose bet on his own games. These are men who did not ruin the lives of others.
I sit here confident today that Lance can never recover from this. I removed my bracelet. I don’t want to ‘Live Strong.’ I want to ‘Live Real.’ “He is done,” I said to myself lying in bed with the flu yesterday, and not only that, I might not even watch his interview on Oprah because I don’t wish to waste another moment of my precious time on his sorry ass.
But there was something gnawing at the back of my mind. Then it hit me. Bill Clinton is in a league with Lance Armstrong. He decimated lives. Lots of them. His vehement, “I did not have sex with that woman,” haunts me still. That young girl’s life was ruined. And, his? He moved on and is now beloved by us all, including me. I loved him at the convention this year for saving the day. He is one of the reasons Romney is not president today, and I’m part of the grateful nation.
So, where does that leave us? If Clinton can come back, can Lance? I guess it really depends on what he does with the next years of his life. I guess it depends on what he brings to the table of his people moving forward. But, I am not as sure as I was yesterday that his days as a leader in this country are over.
One more thing. I have heard from my friend EJ, the cyclist extraordinaire, that Lance is a really talented cyclist. I can’t help but wonder what he could have done on the up and up? Would he be a second rate cyclist today? Do you think he asks himself the same question? What if…