"The Responsibility is Ours"

by Annie J.

Modern Americans don’t like to feel the pressures of personal responsibility. A few months ago I went to the doctor’s office to get my shots and pass my physical for swim team. The nurse never introduced herself. Giving shots was a routine for her. She seemed so bored with the standard procedures that I almost felt that I need to apologize for having the nerve to put her though another set of Tetanus and Hepatitis B vaccines. I never once got even the slightest hint that she was at all personally concerned with my health. Of course, she probably wasn’t. A century ago this would never have been the case. Whole families would have a relationship with their doctor – a doctor that was prepared to give them as much time as they needed and understood them completely – a doctor that would invest himself, his time, and his skills to the well being of the individuals who solicited his energies. “The patient was free to choose his physician, and the physician free to accept or reject the patient.” Or if the person did go to a hospital they would have been asked “What’s wrong?” not “What is your insurance?” People were responsible for their own medical care. They could pay for it out-of-pocket or they could buy insurance. Either way, the choice was theirs.

Not so with this new “Obamacare.” Even the person whose name has been tacked onto the bill is not exactly sure what’s on it. In the “Special Report With Bret Baier” Obama “conceded that no, he doesn’t know what’s on the bill right now.” But assured the public that “By the time the vote has taken place, [he’ll] know what’s in it.” He doesn’t know what’s in the bill. He doesn’t care what negotiation and arm twisting has gone into the passing of the bill. He is pushing for a political victory – not something that he can say he knows the contents of. He can’t honestly take credit or blame for what the bill does because while the bill ping-pongs between the Senate and the House, he’s busy trying to reschedule his state visits to Australia and Indonesia. This is not the kind of relationship the president should have with an issue that involves 17% of his country’s economy.

Less than one hundred years ago Franklin D. Roosevelt stood behind and pushed through congress every single piece of relief legislation that he could squeeze into his first 100 days in office. Before FDR Woodrow Wilson was so dedicated and personally invested in his 14 points, his triple wall of privilege and the exactness of the Treaty of Versailles that when congress changed part of Article X in the document, Wilson urged all the “loyal democrats” to vote down the bill, pulling down with it the US partnership in the League of Nations.

Why can't people feel such intense interest and take personal responsibility for such things now? These days people won’t even take blame for small things or disturbances in their lives. The National Center for State Courts reported in 2001 that civil filings increased more than 20 percent overall from 1984 to 2000. That’s an increase of more than 1% each year. An increase in the number of people shrugging off the responsibilities that comes with living in this country at this point in time. People are determined to pin blame on someone else.

Not only are people shrugging off the mantle of responsibility in legal matters but in the value of life and the acceptance of the consequences that come from their every actions. In 1996 the Alan Guttmacher Institute released an article on “Worldwide Incidences and Trends” in it we learned that there is an average of 1.37 million abortions in America every year. 3,700 people every day that refuse to accept the consequences that come with sex at 2 am the morning after prom, or getting drunk at a friend’s house, or making love with the person who only says that they love them. Do the math. Since the turn of the century more people were killed before they were born than all the Americans killed in the Second World War. Why is this not recognized as the atrocity that it is? Because these people don’t want to feel the guilt that comes with being responsible for the termination of another persons life.

We’ve gotten to the point where few people care to take on the personal responsibilities that come with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must not let the slackers blame the successful people when they fail to catch the happiness and those liberties that they too so vigorously pursue. To achieve that end we must take on the responsibilities that come with the living of this life. We must learn to be responsible.