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Politics & Power

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Personal Responsibility

This last week Jesse Jackson came under fire for comments he made about Barack Obama ďtalking downĒ to people. These comments were about recent speeches made by Obama talking about black men in America needing to take responsibility for their childrenís well-being and upbringing. Itís disheartening to think that one would need to remind people that they are responsible for raising the children they bring into the world and even more troubling that so-called leaders in the community would see bringing the issue up as being a bad thing. Where have Americaís personal ethics gone that we would need to even discuss that if you bring a child into the world it is your responsibility to make sure they are cared for and raised to be a good human being?

The problem seems to be that somewhere along the way somebody got the foolish idea into their head that life is supposed to be somehow easy. Life is not easy and itís not supposed to be so. Many people in this nation seem to have embraced the idea that if you just do the bare minimum to get by life will hand you some golden future or that if you want something itís ok to just take it. What the hell is wrong with you people? There are no guarantees in this life and nobody deserves a damned thing other than to die at the end of their life. Death is the only absolute right that all human beings are entitled to. We all have the right to die one day. Other than that, it takes hard work, a sharp mind and a bit of luck along the way to achieve a prosperous and rewarding life.

In some ways I blame the instant gratification culture that we have become accustomed to in America. We microwave our food, we wait for books to become movies before paying attention to them because reading takes too long, we donít watch the news because itís ďtoo depressingĒ and we donít even bother to move our bodies enough to extend what life we do have beyond what a life of excess and leisure will allow us. We are the instruments of our own demise and all we seem to be able to do is point fingers at others for our problems.

Hereís a bit of a reality check for you. If youíre fat, chances are you are partly to blame because you either eat too much or move too little and if neither is the case you could still be to blame if you donít know what is in the food you are eating because you didnít feel that finding out was important enough to study up on the things youíre putting into your body. If you canít find a job because you only know how to do one thing, you are partly to blame because you never felt that taking time to learn more than one set of skills was important enough to turn off the TV and pick up a book or two. Anyone who has the unmitigated gall to say that they could not have foreseen layoffs in the year 2008 deserves to be unemployed. Did you not even once think that if one company will lay people off and send jobs elsewhere others like the one you work for would possibly do the same? If not, youíre basically and idiot and not exactly the type of smart employee most companies want on their payroll. While these are only a couple examples of abandoned personal responsibility there are countless other areas for which we as a nation need to take responsibility for our actions and inactions if we want things to get any better.

We make our own fate to a great degree and when we lose sight of that we, not the politicians, are to blame for the outcome. We elect the leaders of our nation. They are not thrust upon us by some absolute dictator. We choose to not pay attention to politics and make our voting decisions based on who has the better ad campaign. Nobody puts a gun to our heads and tells us to run up debt, eat too much, buy things we canít afford, screw around on our spouses, abandon morality or sit glued to the television for an average of four to six hours per day. We choose to do these things and then get pissed when there is a consequence for our poor decision-making. Wake up folks! We are the only ones who can change our world.

Itís not in the interests of the politicians or corporate executives to force us to do it. Our laziness keeps them in power and makes them richer and richer. What incentive do they have to push us to reach our potential? The status quo works for them. We on the other hand are now reaping the rewards of a lot of poor choices over a long period of time. As long as we continue to take the ďeasyĒ road we will suffer the consequences. You can call me a jerk or any other number of unsavory words that come to mind but it wonít change that Iím speaking the truth. America is suffering from a bad case of apathy and entitlement issues. Until we get over the insane notion that somebody somehow owes us a good life, we will be at the mercy of those who benefit from our foolishness.

It has come time to take responsibility for our actions and the consequences they bring. I propose that we establish a Bill of Responsibilities to accompany the Bill of Rights. We need to set standards for every American that says for every freedom we enjoy, there is a corresponding responsibility. For the privilege of the freedom of speech we have the responsibility to speak responsibly and considerately to avoid our words being the catalyst of violence or unacceptable behavior. For the privilege of being able to vote, we must take the responsibility to learn about the real issues and where the candidates have stood on them not just now but in the past to determine who the best candidate is before we vote. If we donít change our mindsets soon we will destroy all that our ancestors fought and died to build for us. We have allowed our freedoms to be curtailed because we donít pay attention. Most Americans donít even know that now we canít sue a drug manufacturer for the side effects of a drug if it has been approved by the FDA because the Supreme Court deemed such lawsuits in violation of Constitutional principles that empower government. Our country is ours to lose or save. In the end, it is we who are responsible for our success or failure because we are the only ones who can actually make a difference.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | Give your feedback on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article

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