I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last few months trying to analyze my beliefs, principles, and understanding of the world I live in. As I prepare to bring another child into this crazy world I feel that it is my duty to really think about some of these things. Things like politics, motives, morals, free choice, success, death, and taxes. As I watch, listen, and read about a president I didn’t vote for make bold statements and say things that to me sound contradictory, it hurts me to think where this country could possibly be in four years time.
At one time, the penalty for treason in this country (regardless of reason) was death. You got a trial and if you were found guilty of treason you were put to death fairly quickly. Today people whine and moan when we torture known terrorists who admit to plotting attacks against us. We let them go without trial, without anything really. I’m not going to try and argue if torturing people for information is successful, because realistically it probably isn’t (at least physical torture, psychological torture I feel might have different results). What I’m trying to point out is that over time people have lost their nerve (for lack of a better word). We live in a society where we accept people regardless of deed. This wasn’t always the case. If you were a criminal, you were treated as such and a lot of the time that meant you were treated quite poorly and no one gave it a second thought.
Also in a similar respect, if you didn’t work and just feed off of society you were looked down upon, often shunned for not working or trying to find work. Falling on hard times was one thing, people want to help their fellow man when he falls on hard times. But just flat out laziness was looked at as a disgraceful thing. You didn’t want to be a person without work. Society just didn’t look kindly on you for being lazy, jobless, and living off of government funds. Now we have a president who wants to “spread the wealth” and tax the “rich” (>$250k/year) to pay for government programs to “help” the poor and middle class. And this man was voted in with open arms, on a platform of “hope” rather than experience and past accomplishments.
We as a society have become lazy. We expect our government to provide us with things it was never meant to. There are people less fortunate that look at those that work hard to get ahead and say “why should they have all that fortune and success? the government should help me have what they have” rather than saying “I want what they have, I wonder how they got it, maybe I should go back to school, learn a new trade, or find out what I can do to get ahead in my current company.” This, in all honesty, sickens me. How can I tell my soon to be born son that “you need to work hard for what you get” when there are people without jobs getting free money, getting help to get a house, and other free stuff (free to them because the “rich” are paying for it via higher taxes)?
The other problem is this sense of entitlement so many of the poor and middle class have. They feel they are entitled to a house, health care, large sums of money, and assistance for anything they might need. I’ve been guilty of this myself from time to time, but I always come back to working harder to get ahead. I’m not going to just be given a raise or promotion because I’m me and I’m entitled to it. I’m going to get a raise or promotion because I work hard and prove my worth to my company. There is such a feeling of entitlement that if we don’t have something that someone else has we demand that someone else help us get it or pay for it outright.
In this day and age you have to be understanding of people regardless of intelligence, social status, religion, criminal status, and job title. There is some good in this ideal. We are all human after all and therefore we are by no means perfect. I am no better than they guy sitting next to me in the office. However we have taken this “understanding” and “acceptance” to such an extreme that we are “understanding” and “accepting” where we shouldn’t be. We don’t give the death penalty to murders because it’s “inhumane” to kill someone just because they took another’s life. Now we look for reasons like “well they were abused as a child” and “their mother didn’t hug them when they were 10” trying to make excuses for them rather than treating them like the murders they are. We try to find someone else to blame for these people doing the horrible things they do. There was a time when if you committed murder, there was a trial and if found guilty of cold blooded murder you were hung or shot within a week.
“Criminals thrive on the indulgences of society’s understanding” – Ducard, Batman Begins
I want to make sure you understand that I think the appeals process is great and that I believe that no man should be falsely killed for a crime he didn’t commit. But we sometimes spend decades leaving a murderer on death row to find a way to get them off on a technicality. I understand the current system is broken and could be better, but I want to work on fixing the system, not leave someone on death row for a decade or two while society pays for them to have what is essentially free room and board, education, three meals a day, and some decent medical care. Our criminals have better lives and more than some of our less fortunate citizens. Yet we justify this any way we can.
We have a president who wants to further tax a class of citizens that already pay over 70% of the taxes the United States collects. He wants to tax corporations that make large profits because (when you really boil it down to its simplest form) they made “too much” money. How can we tell our kids to work hard and wish them to be successful when we have a society that approves the punishment of success? The justification is “well they can afford it” but when you make the rich and the profitable companies pay more in taxes, you cut into those profits which can have a unintended affects like lay offs or canceled projects. Sometimes those profits allow companies to keep people employed during less profitable fiscal quarters.
I wonder what it would take to get us back to a society where we honor the hard worker, shun the free loader, and don’t look at the successful as some kind of disease that should be punished and oppressed. What will it take to get us to a point where we are understanding but not to the point it is a detriment on society. When will we stop indulging the criminals? How do we get back to not looking for someone else to blame for our misfortune or our deeds. Can we get back to where an individual is responsible for what they do and what they have?