After the verdict, Scrushy delivered a public statement, sounding alternately like a preacher and an Oscar winner. He thanked the jury, God, his family, and a bevy of bishops and pastors.
"I don't understand why people are so critical. What's wrong? What happened to the compassion in this world?" Scrushy asked. "You've got to have compassion in this world, folks, because you don't know who's next, who's going to be attacked next."
To quote one of my favorite movie lines (from John Carpenter's "The Thing"): "You gotta be fucking kidding."
Okay, full disclosure time: I pronounce myself guilty of six out of the seven deadly sins. If you want a list of particulars, I can provide multiple pages for each sin. But one of them, Greed, has always eluded me. Now and then I wish I could hit the weekly PowerBall jackpot, but I don't desire excessive "material wealth or gain". Maybe it's because I have no realistic hope of earning more than high five figures per year. Maybe it's because I came of age during the 1980s, surrounded by the worst examples of wanton avarice in my own public high school. Or maybe greed never took hold in my genetic code. Whatever the reason, I don't understand the sin of greed. I have no touchstone for it, unlike, say, anger or lust. I have experienced those sins in full flower, so I understand why people can be carried away on their currents to drown. Not so with greed.
Now, back to Scrushy1 and his ilk. I only have one question for them all: How much is enough? I mean, seriously. How much is fucking enough? Do you, who surround yourself with luxuries and trappings that most of us will never know in a thousand lifetimes, really have the gall to turn to us and ask "What happened to the compassion in this world?" You want to know what happened to it? YOU BOUGHT IT YEARS AGO AND SOCKED IT AWAY IN SOME TAX SHELTER.
Am I angry? Hell yeah, I'm angry. I'm angry at these bozos who preach the "rising tide lifts all boats" line, while knowing full well that folks occupying the bottom tax bracket haven't a prayer of buying a house in their gated communities. The notion of an "ownership society" pisses me off. Maybe I'm just commie-pinko-liberal trash, but I think that the least a state can do is make sure that its citizens are fed, clothed, housed, and healthy. I do believe that we can eradicate poverty in our lifetime with a slight diversion of our GDP.
If Scrushy really wants to earn my compassion, then he should do something to really help people. And encourage all his rich friends to do the same. I mean, really, how much is enough?
1I know that Scrushy has done much good in Alabama. That still doesn't excuse his arrogance, IMHO.