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Penn State Could Have Learned From DC About Statues Penn State Could Have Learned From DC About Statues

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Penn State Could Have Learned From DC About Statues

The sad controversies of Penn State have shown us that there is one thing politicians in Washington do right. Well, do right most of the time. Official Washington is smart enough to know what the folks at Penn State sure didn't -- you don't build statues or monuments to people who are still alive. At Penn State, they thought it was a great idea to erect a statue of football coach Joe Paterno when he not only was still alive but still coaching. Nobody could have imagined when they dedicated the Paterno statue in 2001 that it would have to be removed in ignominy and shame, by workers hiding behind a hastily-built fence, only 11 years later.

But they should have known they were taking chances when they decided to honor somebody whose legacy was still being writ. They should have listened to Robert Shrum, who said Sunday on Meet the Press: "We shouldn't put up statues of living people. You're going to make yourself a hostage to fortune. And that's what happened here."

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