Posts Tagged ‘Personal Responsibility’

It’s been one helluva week since the monumental upset of the Donald Trump presidential win occurred.  Our nation saw utter defeat in the faces on the left, and some shock in the faces on the right.  There were devastating riots (cause let’s just be real, those were NOT protests!).  Many of t he people I spoke with voted for an alternative party candidate (which actually surprises me that all the alternative candidates only garnered about 5% together, but that’s for another time!)  The riots, according to one young lady, were held because the people were “really scared and sad.” I feel for them, as I  have been sad and scared for our nation for the past 20 or so years.  So, if you’re like me and disillusioned with the main parties and their candidates, where do we go from here?

Let’s address the “really scared and sad” for a moment.  Protests are one thing.  When done right, they bring about public awareness, they start conversations, they get the ball rolling toward an awakening of the ideas being thrown out.  But, what happened across our nation makes me shake my head.  If we believe these “protests” to be genuine, and there are many questions about that (here and here), we are dealing with a bunch of spoiled brats who respect nothing.  Again, I am all for peaceful protests.  Since when did tearing up neighborhoods, looting and vandalism and destruction of property become standard protesting practices?  You say you are really scared and sad?  What the hell do you think you did to the people in Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles, and the multitude of other places in which you protested or rioted because you didn’t get your way?  And, you’re scared because of what? Just to day I saw a photo of protestors holding up a sign that said, “Rape Meliana” and during the protests, there was “Kill Trump” painted across windows.  SO…exactly whom do we need to fear???

For this behavior, I must just say, in general, we are all to blame.

First and foremost, parents…for wanting a better life than we had for our children, we allowed their lives to be a little easier than ours.  This has gone on for generations.  We don’t make our children earn anything anymore, so they believe they are entitled to whatever they want.  I see it everyday in retail outlets.  The child wants something and the parent allows them to have it.  In the course of shopping, the kid acts up…then the parent threatens, “We’ll just put that back if you can’t behave.”  The child screams and cries and continues to act a fool…yes, I said a fool…and does the child get the item?  About nine times out of ten, yes.  Why?  Because the child pitched a bigger fit when the parent tried to put the item back.  They now know they can pitch an ungodly fit and get what they want.  Heaven forbid you discipline them!  At some point, you lost the ability to teach your child respect for adults.  You could also teach then the value of money and make them “earn” what they want either through doing chores or simply using their own money.

We’ve bowed down to outside pressures, as well.  Back in my day there were clear winners and losers, but today, we don’t want to leave anyone out or hurt anyone’s feelings, so, at least for a while, everyone’s a winner.  We can’t teach our children how to lose gracefully if they don’t lose.  if everyone’s the same and is treated the same, where is the incentive to do better or be better?  That’s from where the drive to do better comes…in your rewards.

As for owning our children’s education, we have foisted it off solely on teachers and daycare workers.  Government funded schools are going to teach what they want taught.  There are tons of examples, but I will site just one.  In high school, my daughter was being taught that our nation was a Constitutional Democracy.  She was taught that the terms “Constitutional Democracy” and “Constitutional Republic” were interchangeable and Republic was never brought up again…by the book or the teacher.  Why is that important?  Because if our nation’s children don’t know the truth, they don’t know what they should be fighting for.  Democracy is when the majority gets to tell the rest what they have to do.  In a Republic, there are a set of rules and every one is to follow those rules.  In our Republic, those rules are The Constitution.  How many people know the actual role of the President?  Congress?  The Supreme Court?  The States?  The individual members of our society?  Yes…there are rules for ALL those factions…yet, in making this country into a Constitutional Democracy, the roles have been reversed and the people intended to have the majority of the power now have the least power.  If the population knew they were intended to have the majority of the power, along with their individual states, would they protest differently?

Secondly, no one is held truly accountable anymore…including our politicians.  We have created a system in which we have lawyers that get people off jail time, because “it’s their job.”  Does anyone even question why we have this?  I understand that innocent people are arrested for crimes.  I get the need for lawyers for that purpose, but when there are actual witnesses and the person is guilty of harming or robbing or endangering someone other than them, why do we have lawyers to get them off?  Also, why do we have judges who, after someone is convicted of a crime, give some light sentences and throw the book at others?  Shouldn’t the punishment actually be the same for the same crime?  Society has turned everything into a disease, so now, instead of bad behavior, you have a disease.  It’s not your fault…nothing is ever your fault…

As for politicians being held accountable, what about all the campaign promises made by the various candidates over the years?  They say they are going to do one thing, we vote for them for wanting to do one thing, but they never seem to get around to doing the things they promised.  Does anyone remember back on the campaign trail, President Obama sworn, the first thing he was going to do was to set bringing out troops home from the Middle East (TRUE support for the troops, in my opinion!)?  He said they would be home in 16 months…yeah…also, he won a Nobel Peace Prize before he had shown any true actions toward peace.  And does anyone remember the first thing he actually did when he became president?  Yeah, he drone bombed the hell out of Pakistan.  Obama was such a breath of fresh air to many who were tired of the illegal Bush war on terror.  they viewed John McCain as more of the same.  Wired published an exceptional article a few years back regarding many statistics from the “war on terror” which included what Bush and Obama had done, up to that point.  Shockingly, when you averaged by year in office, Obama sent more troops, ordered more wire taps and over all, spent more time and money than Bush on the War on Terror…but people ignored that.

Before we leave the responsibility of the candidates, why is it that the only person to actually step up and call for an end to the violence was Bernie Sanders?  Where are our “leaders?”  You know, President Obama, President-Elect Trump, Clinton, both the GOP and the Democrats?  Why aren’t they stepping it up every day and calling for an end to this?

Third, the media has to take part in the divide in our country, as well as the unrest. Let’s play a little game, shall we?  See if you can guess when this quote was made:

“There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.”

When a newspaper with the clout of the New York Times states they are rededicating their paper to reporting honestly, you have to wonder just how long they have been reporting dishonestly!  AND, if the New York Times is being dishonest, one has to wonder just how many other large papers, which serve as THE news outlet for smaller papers, radio and local news.  Even though trust in the media has declined over the years, people react before vetting their news.  Not only that, but once something is “in the news,” if later it comes out the story was misleading, the facts were wrong, or the facts were twisted to make the story sound better/worse than it was, people have already read the false and the damage is done.  Also, the way in which the media reports something, as well as the words they use, dictate how people will react.  If you want to sway someone’s opinion, wording is everything.  Ask any marketing major…you can sell anything you want to most people just by using the right words.  So, if the media wants to divide the nation, they will use the words they need to use to make it so….and people never question it, even though they don’t trust the media.

With that said, the media coverage, or lack there of, of certain individuals and ideas plays a huge roll in shaping opinions.  If we don’t know about certain things going on, we don’t know to ask questions (although I am of the strict opinion that we should questions EVERYTHING!).  If we don’t get the right facts, we don’t know the right questions to ask.  If we don’t get any information, we have nothing to go on what-so-ever.   What happened to journalistic integrity?  Is there more to it than simple across the board carelessness?

By the way, the answer to our little game is American journalist John Swinton made that statement at an award ceremony honoring his body of work…in the late 1800’s!

Lastly, we have to take a deep and hard look at our government and officials.  Our government has literally run amok for SEVERAL years now.  The egregious nature of our government didn’t start with the Obama Administration, as many in the GOP would like you to believe.  And, it didn’t start with either Bush Administration, as the Democrats would like for you to think.  Over the years, the government has been playing favorites with different industries and foreign governments, depending on who was in office.  Part of the appeal of the Trump campaign is that he isn’t an insider.  That was also part of the appeal of the Obama campaign.  Clinton is clearly an insider, but, since Trump seemed to be such an outsider, did the Democrats (AND the GOP) and the media decide they wanted to push an “experienced” politician?  It seems that way, even though, during Obama’s first campaign, they wanted fresh, new and not connected to the status quo.  How quickly we forget!

So, where DO we go from here?  Trump was elected, and yet people are already wanting to gloss over him and get to the next election.  But, will the people give him a chance?  People expected it for Obama.  I didn’t vote for him, but I do my own research.  I’ve read about his healthcare proposal and it seems reasonable.  Anyone in their right mind knows Obamacare is horrid and has done more damage to the healthcare industry than good.  Will people at least look over the final proposal?  I’ve read about what Trump says he wants to do on immigration.  It is eerily close to what Obama has done.  Will the people admit they were wrong about him and his disdain for immigrants?  After all, he can’t be against immigration, two of his three wives were immigrants!  While people call him a racist, do they actually know that?  There was plenty of support for him in the black community, but that didn’t fit the mainstream narrative, so it never showed up in the news.  I say we give him a chance.  See what he thinks he can do.  Get ourselves involved and make sure we stay in touch with our local representatives, letting them know what we think.  And, by God, we need to hold him accountable for everything he does…that’ll be new!

 

The late June 2014 Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby decision is in and the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the religious beliefs and rights of the owners of Hobby Lobby, Mardel and Conestoga. With the laws on the books right now, I see this as a major win for business owners who live their beliefs. As a constant pursuer of the truth, I see this as a very sad day in our history. Using The First Amendment, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, arguments were brought and the case ultimately decided. Yet, there is something sorely lacking…the upholding of the Constitution. Maybe Bush was right…The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper.

Why, you may ask, is that?

Firstly, there is the text of the dearly held religious portion of the First Amendment which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Get that? CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW…and yet time and again, Congress has passed laws affecting the free exercise of religion. The very fact that this case had to be brought before the Supreme Court is proof of that. The very fact that there were several major cases referenced and used in arguments is proof of that.

Secondly, what about the Articles of Power? This government, by passing the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA), and the Supreme Court, by upholding it as a tax, have shown utter contempt for the Articles of Power given to Congress, powers clearly laid out in the Constitution. Many don’t view it this way, but the Affordable Healthcare Act, Obamacare, Congress wrote and passed and the President signed into law is one of the most egregious pieces of legislation in our history. Our government passed brazen legislation that forces the population to purchase a product or pay a penalty…oh, wait! It’s not a penalty, it’s a tax, as our Supreme Court kindly reminded us over and over during the Hobby Lobby argument!

Thirdly, I need someone to show me, in the Articles of Power, where it says government can mandate businesses to provide insurance. The given powers allow for government to regulate commerce with foreign nations, Indian tribes and between the states, but it say nothing about regulating business practices…NOTHING! And, not to get off the subject too far, but take a good look at the Articles of Power. Congress has literally given away one major power, coining money. It regularly ignores its own immigration laws. It has also allowed presidents to wage illegal wars, bypassing Congress’ power to declare them. And don’t get me started on their complete lack of common sense regarding militias.

Next, when President Obama says he is going to go around either the Supreme Court or Congress, has he forgotten there are two other branches of government set forth in our Constitution?  Yes…there are checks and balances built into our government via the Constitution.  There are three, not one, branches of government.  Sometimes they ALL forget what their job is…

So, when Bush declared the Constitution and goddamned piece of paper, maybe he was sending the US population a message. And, if we, the US population, don’t start holding our politician’s feet to the fire about their decisions, aren’t we agreeing with that very notion? In closing, we only have ourselves to blame for the political concept that our Constitution is just a g/d piece of paper: that it’s irrelevant and of no use. It seems we couldn’t care less about learning that by having a Constitutional Republic, ruled by a set of laws instead of the popular concept, we are protecting both the majority AND the minority ideals. They don’t truly teach the Constitution or it’s importance in schools anymore. They DO teach, however, the functions of government are maintaining order, providing services, resolving conflicts, and promoting values. Two of the four I can see in the Articles of Power, but the other two are just not there… Don’t believe me, read the Articles of Power yourself, Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution.

We’ve lost the meaning of our Constitution, as well as what it means to have individual freedom. We’ve given all manner of excuses for people’s behavior instead of holding them responsible for their actions. And, as we can see within the debates surrounding the recent SCOTUS decision for Hobby Lobby, Conestoga and Mardel, there are masses of people who are more than willing to let others pay for them to enjoy their freedom, but don’t want to grant the same to others. Again, this country isn’t about majority rule, it’s about a set of laws that protect your ideals and mine. I have a right to do what I want to do, as long as I don’t interfere with your freedoms and you have the right to do the same. Justice Ginsburg understands that, even though she doesn’t usually rule that way. How do I know? She cites in her dissent, “In sum, with respect to free exercise claims no less than free speech claims, ’[y]our right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.’”

Over the years, we have become complacent. We’ve forgotten that this country was established as a Constitutional Republic, a country governed by rule of law. In a clever grab for power, government officials, as well as the media, businessmen and women, and schools have shifted the US toward the concept of a Constitutional Democracy, a country governed by majority rule. What’s next? I think we are seeing it as our political machine shoves our country’s ideals toward socio-fascism. And all this before a true Constitutional Republic had a fighting chance!

The next time someone seems offended by Former President Bush’s assertion that the Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper; think about why that seems so true…

On June 30, 2014 the Supreme Court handed down its long awaited Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby decision. The decision is a win for religious freedom and owners of closely held businesses opening and operating on their religious convictions. After all, if you don’t have your convictions, what do you have?   As expected, it also immediately fueled the fire of debates across the country as both pro- and con-decision comments made their way into nearly every level of communication. Many are pushing personal rights, but what seems to be missing from one side of the debate is personal responsibility. Many have the notion the responsibility for their own actions should lay with someone else…in this case, their boss. How did so many people who seem to relish their “personal rights” come to the conclusion they are free to do what they want, screw the consequences, handing the tab off to someone else?

What dissenting Justice Ginsburg and most of the mainstream media outlets continue to promulgate is that all three companies the decision affects are refusing to offer birth control of any kind. It needs to be clarified that there are sixteen contraceptives and four abortifacients required by the Affordable Healthcare Act and it’s the four abortifacients to which the three companies object. Justice Ginsburg FINALLY mentions this on page 24 of her 35-page dissent. Also in her dissent, Justice Ginsburg agrees, “that the Green and Hahn families’ religious convictions regarding contraception are sincerely held.” AND, she cites case law that the courts cannot question the lines drawn “defining which practices run afoul of [an individual’s] religious beliefs.” What the media ignores is the belief against abortion, NOT birth control. This case isn’t talking about whether or not these companies are insuring a broken leg; it is talking about whether these companies should provide drugs that stop a human life. There’s a huge difference!

That brings me to the overused phrase, “It’s my body, it’s my choice.” If it’s your body, why not TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT! If it’s your body, why is anyone else liable for YOUR choices? My grandfather always said, “When you play adult games, you pay adult prices.” If you’ve taken biology you know when you make the decision to consummate your relationship, the potential consequence is pregnancy. Also, as many well know, birth control is NOT 100%, so there is always a possibility of pregnancy when engaging in sexual intercourse. Why should someone else shoulder the burden of your choice? You played the game; it should be your responsibility to pay for the consequences of the game you played.

Another major point of contention is, “My boss shouldn’t have a say in what I do.” If you don’t want your boss in your bedroom, why should your boss pay for the decisions you make there? Again, take responsibility for your own actions! In this, the SCOTUS decision falls far short. It should not be your boss’s job to pay for your birth control OR abortifacients…PERIOD! How does this become your boss’s (OR the tax-payer’s?) responsibility, especially if you aren’t willing to pay for them yourself? When did women give up responsibility for their body?

It’s quite interesting that, during the arguments for this decision, the subject of alternative ways to pay for the offensive abortifacients arose. Justice Sotomayor seemed rather incensed that the alternative payments included either the government (taxpayers) or the individual, but not the business owner. Again, since when did the burden of an individual’s decision or a government mandate become someone else’s problem? It’s easy to make decisions when someone else has to pick up the tab! I bet we’d ALL do things differently if someone else were paying for it!

While Justice Ginsburg whines on about what’s fair and right regarding the government mandating and spelling out what FDA Approved drugs must be covered, she fails to see the egregious nature of forcing businesses to provide treatments that are against their beliefs. She bellyaches about the burden on the government of paying for the mandates it so brazenly passed on to business owners, but fails to see the burden the mandate creates for said business owners. She flat out ignores the mental burden of providing abortifacients when a business owner believes abortion is murder. The government even goes so far as to argue that the business owner is NOT providing the abortion, that the insurance company is. But, if the business owner is paying for even a portion of the insurance coverage, which they all do, they are paying for that abortion! I guess that never crossed their little legal brains, did it? And, if it did and they are ignoring it, that’s even worse!

These arguments remind me of a quote from a particularly gut-wrenching scene from Star Trek, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” According to “the many,” their “need” is for someone else to pay for their contraception/abortifacient while they enjoy their “personal right” to live their lives. No one is saying you can’t exercise your personal rights regarding your life. Far from it! What they ARE saying, however, is they don’t want the responsibility of paying for your decision regarding your choices. If you can make the choice, you can pay the price for the choice…PERIOD!

Regarding a similar notion, don’t others have a personal right to live their lives? So, where are their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to enjoy the fruits of their labor when they are made to pay for someone else’s decision/mistakes? You have inalienable rights given by your creator…with those rights comes the responsibility to do the right thing, by your beliefs. I have the same inalienable rights, and the same responsibility, by my beliefs. Why is this always a one-sided argument…you get to shove what you believe down my throat while you do what you want, with no consequences, while someone else picks up the tab but has no say? Not fair and insane!

Ironically, the Honorable Justice Ginsburg cited in her dissent, “In sum, with respect to free exercise claims no less than free speech claims, ’[y]our right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.’” Doesn’t this make the argument that your rights end where mine begin? Doesn’t this very statement express personal responsibility regarding personal freedom? I believe it does. What do people, including the dissenting Justices, see when they read that?

Will people ever get it through their heads that with personal freedoms come personal responsibilities? Isn’t that the whole purpose of being an adult? Better yet, I’d like for someone to point out where in Article 1 Section 8 of our Constitution it says our government has the authority to decide away our personal responsibilities. There are lots of things listed in there that our government can do, but relieving us of personal responsibility is not one of them.

Endnotes:
SCOTUS Decision & Dissent
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf

Hobby Lobby Case
http://www.hobbylobbycase.com/