One of the most important factors in raising a good, moral child is teaching them to be responsible individuals. My father, a Citadel graduate and Army man, instilled that in my brothers and me. Though certainly a flawed man, I try to do what is right and, in virtually all situations short of performing a tracheotomy with a butter knife and a ballpoint pen, I know what I SHOULD do. That is why, today and every day, I am so saddened by the depths that we as Americans are sinking. We all know that the easy path is rarely the right one yet, in most situations, we ignore our values and take the route of least resistance. When is anyone going to take responsibility for their own actions?
Pop quiz! Who can tell me who Stella Liebeck is? Anyone?
The first time I really remember being appalled by the gold-digger mentality growing in America (though it certainly was there far earlier) was with 1992’s infamous McDonald’s Coffee Spill. Essentially, an old woman, Stella Liebeck, was in a car driven by her grandson when she spilled coffee in her lap. Due to the burns suffered, she sued McDonald’s for serving her hot coffee. Regardless of which side you fall on the specifics of the case, I was appalled that someone would file suit for burning herself with coffee they purchased. It is not as if Liebeck ordered a snow cone and instead received molten lava. Where was her responsibility? Seemingly it was nonexistent for, while we do not know exact amounts since the settlement was sealed, she received a number in the six-figure range.
I remember a Calvin & Hobbes strip (hands-down best, most genius strip in history, by the way) I read as a teenager where Calvin, the mischievous 5-year old boy, was talking with his tiger/imaginary friend Hobbes about their lack of money. Calvin, to close out the strip, asks with an evil grin “Who do we know that we can sue?” Were it only a joke….
In the 20 years since, things have only gotten worse. We went through the “sue the tobacco company” fervor in the 1990s. Though any idiot knows they are committing a slow suicide if they smoke and have known it for decades (even back in the good old days when Mike Wallace was smoking on his 60 Minutes predecessor, everyone knew), the dead, dying and relatives of said walking-wounded lined up for a payday. As a smoker for a short period of my life many years ago, I include myself in the line of imbeciles that are responsible for my eventual lung cancer if I get it. I knew I was being stupid when I party smoked in college and would not dream of trying to play ignorant or squeeze money from the companies that sold me the coffin nails. It is my fault and, if you smoke, it is going to be your fault when you get cancer and die. It is certainly your right to smoke but, when it bites you on the backside, man up and take the blame.
The same goes for, and this will hit a lot of Americans in the gut, the overweight. I realize that a VERY FEW individuals have health problems that cause obesity but most do not. A large (no pun intended) portion of rotund America simply eat crap, eat too much of it, and do not exercise. End of story. The very idea that people are now suing everyone from fast food chains, to food makers, to Betty Crocker herself (has that actually happened yet?) for MAKING them fat is criminal. Hey, from one (once) fatty to another, we both know it is not a glandular condition, genetics or KFC, don’t we? I was once 285 pounds and a lard-butt. My pizza and Wendy’s Triple Bacon Cheeseburger diet knocked me for a loop in my mid-20s once my youthful metabolism slowed. I looked like John Candy at my zenith (mmmmmmmm, candy!). I, however, never blamed anyone but myself. I stopped the fast food and the partying, and started working out and eating right. Within one year, I dropped 90+ pounds. Nearly 20 years later, I am still at 180 and have run a few half and full marathons, Marine Corps mud runs and other races, and I work-out regularly at the Y. My point in saying this is to reiterate that we are all responsible for our decisions, even the embarrassing ones. As Americans, we have the freedom to gorge ourselves; just don’t blame the companies for giving us what we want. We do not need Mrs. obama lecturing our children and troops about healthy eating as she is this week. (The hypocrisy of a woman that eats junk food in public and looks like ex-N.Y. Giants lineman Michael Strahan in a dress lecturing anyone on healthy eating is simply insulting.) We know what we SHOULD be doing -eating well – but instead more than half of us eat junk and look like it.
Two additional points on this subject that we all know but few will admit:
- If your kids are obese, it is your fault. They are not “big-boned” and it is not “baby fat”. If your child is over a year or two old and they are fat, it is because you do not feed them right and you are setting them up for a lifetime of misery. It is, in my mind, abusive for parents to allow such to happen. Take responsibility and be better parents. Stop killing your kids, making them the butt of cruel jokes and putting them on track for a most likely lonely,miserablelife.
- Do not blame the airlines when they require you to buy another seat. If you are as wide as a hippo and still want to fly, you should have to buy two seats. Don’t act like you are model thin as your girth blobs over the armrest and smothers the innocent passenger next to you. Again, fat is your fault so if you choose to be fat, you have to own the consequences.
Here is another elephant (apologizes to the obese) in the room that we ignore. We have elderly that come with pitchforks in hand if someone even considers messing with Social Security benefits yet they often take little responsibility for their own retirement. They feel it is the government’s job, not theirs. The whole idea was a Progressive trick to get people addicted to government nearly 100 years ago and it worked. Heck, at least initially it was just for people that lived an extraordinarily long life, but now people are on it for decades. Were it at least adjusted for the longer lifespan we now have, SSI should not kick in until someone turns 77 at the earliest. Why not change it to 80 years old before benefits start? Better yet, where is the responsibility one has to take care of themselves or their elderly family members? Though this may be hard to read, we all know that I am right. Government, if at all, should be there for the elderly as a last resort, not as a first responder.
- What about the hundreds of other issues that show our slide from self-sufficient pioneers to the needy, government-dependent lemmings of the 21st Century?
- Instead of preparing for job problems, we have the government providing up to 99 weeks of unemployment compensation. This is when all studies show that a large portion of recipients wait to find jobs until the benefits are just about to expire. Logic allows for some safety net but, if we really want to help these people, we should shorten the weeks of payments allowed based on these facts. At the very least, tie any government benefits at all to work or study programs.
- Related to this is the constant fight over minimum wage. While those that know economics know there should never even be a minimum wage, where was it ever described as a living wage? It is for teenagers with after-school jobs, not a vocation. If you are in a minimum wage job, do not get married or have kids. End of story. Why not be responsible and better yourself and your situation and THEN have a family? Why trick someone into marrying you and the trap your offspring in a life of poverty? Sounds like common sense, huh? Instead, people pop out kids, flip burgers and expect to be paid enough to buy a house, car, phone, food, clothes, entertainment and 1000 other things.
Within the last week, we have had:
- The “settlement” with the mortgage companies in which they will pay out billions for “tricking” individuals into buying houses. Though no guns were held to heads, no bait & switch committed, these homeowners were tricked? They were too stupid to know what they were doing? They have no responsibility for getting in over their heads or even reading the documents? No company in their right mind would have loaned out the money for most of these defaulting individuals to purchase a house in the first place. The truth is, they were forced/blackmailed by Democrats, starting with Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act and then doubling-down on the program with the Clinton and Reno in the 1990s, into making the bad loans. Then idiots like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank whistled past the graveyard while Bush, for all of his many faults, at least tried to fix the problem. Regardless of who in Washington is to blame, ultimately no one was tricked into buying a house.
- Indian tribes are suing beer companies for causing alcoholism in their tribes. Of course it is not the fault of the individual for actually drinking the firewater, is it?
- We have obama forcing free access to birth control for everyone. We all know that, if you are not responsible enough to handle the consequences of sex, you should abstain. Instead, it is the government/employers/churches/insurance companies that are now accountable for mitigating reproductive missteps, loose morals, and drunken one-night stands.
- We have our own government fighting laws that would make citizens responsible for showing identification before voting. If one is assumed to be deserving of the sacred right of voting, should they not be smart enough to know how to get legal identification? We have laws requiring individuals to show I.D. to purchase cough syrup or drain cleaner but it is too much to want voters to prove their identity at the polls?
- We even have our government fighting their responsibility for protecting our boarders, even as people are actually being SKINNED and dismembered in our own country by these illegal aliens.
Again and again, we as Americans (even Native Americans) are succumbing to the victim mentality rather than owning our mistakes and then making our lives better. Our government, when not running from the tasks they should be performing, are turning us into a nanny state that handles all of the things we should be doing for ourselves. How did we get so broken? I could go on and on but the fact remains, we are and should be responsible for our actions. McDonald’s, the government, evil corporations, your genes, whatever you want to invent; it does not fly. If you smoke, stop. If you are fat, push away from the table and go for a walk. If you are poor, work hard and do whatever you have to legally to make your life better. If you are a drunk, seek help and stop drinking. Whatever your individual choices may be, you know what your choices SHOULD be. Take the hard path instead of the easy. If you do not, don’t whine to everyone else and look for an easy payday.
About the Author: As the sixth-great grandson of American patriot and Revolutionary War hero Christopher Gadsden, I feel it is my duty to speak fondly of America’s greatness and stand ready to defend her against all adversaries. Sadly, I must rail against the vileness and evil of the leftists, progressives, Marxist, socialists and idiots in general now threatening to destroy our great nation. If you support this aim, please spread the word.