Lately I’ve been thinking about the deep differences that are dividing America and what the cause is behind them. There is no doubt that a huge ideological gap between the left and right in this country exist. Evidence of this can be found in the arguments put forth by both the Occupy Wall Street protest and the Tea Party movement; all Americans but each with a very different view of America. Some say we are more polarized today than we have ever been. I’m not so sure. The country was pretty polarized from the day our founders came together in Philadelphia and hammered out our Constitution. You had those who favored a more centralized national form of government and those who desired a very limited government. Yet these same political factions that so vehemently opposed each other found a way to meet in the middle and produced the greatest document ever; our constitution. Today it’s the same argument with a different generation debating about the size and scope of government; a big government to manage our lives versus a limited government that promotes individual liberty. The difference this time around is there appears to be unwillingness on both sides to compromise. It’s either an all or nothing mentality. So how did we get to this point? Maybe it has more to with parenting than anything else.
Conservatives over the last few years have tried to unravel just how we reached a point in our society where we have a new generation who believe they are entitled to what other people have. The explanations have ranged from we were asleep at the wheel for far too long to the unchecked indoctrination of our children by the public education system and institutions of higher education. Many believe we placed our trust in institutions that had been infiltrated by leftist instructors peddling their flawed ideology. We even decided it was time to take a hard look at our elected representatives who on a daily basis trampled all over the constitution. The Tea Party movement that emerged on the political scene in 2009 was ignited because of this frustration with the system and with a government that couldn’t get its spending under control. Across the nation like minded individuals stood up and woke up protesting the way business was conducted on D.C. and calling for a return to constitutional principles. The rise of the Tea Party movement was a reaction to the entitlement culture we had become and the Occupy Wall Street protesters are the end product of a new generation who doesn’t appreciate America and believes they are entitled to what other people have. So my question is how did we manage to create a generation that believes the world owes them a living? I believe the root cause starts with parenting.
I was thinking about these angry young people in New York and across the nation protesting the system and the more I watched their reactions the more I recalled the same scene being played out by spoiled children I grew up around; throwing a tantrum when they didn’t get their way. As you start to dig a little deeper into the profile of these protesters who begin to see a common thread; many come from affluent families or upper middle class. Many are college students. Now I’m not saying this is the case for all. I am saying there is a large number that fit this profile. When I was young there were kids that didn’t have to pay their way for anything. These were the kids who got all the toys they asked for at Christmas or the ones whose parents bought them their first car and paid their way through college. These were the kids who got a weekly allowance for taking out the garbage. You all know kids like this you grew up with and looking at the ones I knew today I see that many of them embrace an entitlement mentality. My parents took the opposite approach with me. They believed that in order for me to truly appreciate the things in life, I needed put in a significant amount of individual effort. This is pretty much how most of my childhood was. From playing sports to working when I was 14 years old everything I achieved was earned. My first car was a flooded out 1971 Chevy Camaro that I paid $200.00 and I spent another $1,500 restoring it. The money came from my savings; money I earned working three hot summers haying for various farmers in my area. My car was NOT handed to me…I earned it. I earned it through my hard work and individual efforts. While all the other kids were goofing off in the summer I was throwing bales of hay in the hot summer sun. The same can be said for my college degree. My mother and father decided if I wanted to go to college I would figure out a way to pay for it. After taking out a student loan for the first year I decided I simply did not want to go into debt up to my eyeballs for a college degree. I chose to enlist in the military and take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by Uncle Sam. For 10 years I worked to achieve my goal of completing the requirements for a bachelor degree while on active duty of. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling when I received it. It was simply amazing and one of the happiest moments of my life. You see I don’t believe the world owes me a living because my parents instilled values in me that individual effort equals achievement. They helped build this foundation and even when I was in college the liberal slant was unable to erode it.
Everything I have earned in this life has come from my own individual effort and I have my parents to thank for it. I don’t believe I’m entitled to the fruits of another person labors because I had nothing to do with what they have earned. Just as I don’t believe free degrees should be financed by taxpayer dollars because I earned my degree through my own individual effort. This is not the same take or view of America a large number of these kids on Wall Street hold. Because most of them have not had to earn what they have received they have very little appreciation for what I have earned by my own efforts. And because they cannot appreciate the effort it took for me to achieve my goals they have zero understanding as to what it takes to be successful in America. So their fall back is they want what the other person has because it’s impossible for them to achieve the same results. So the only way to achieve the same results is to TAKE what the other person has. And I believe the root cause for the entitlement mentality all stems from when these young adults were children. Their parents never instilled in them a sense of work ethic that will help them achieve the greatness America has to offer. So when we’re looking for the answers as to how we got here, the answer in my opinion resides in the proverb of sparing the rod and spoiling the child. This is how we got here and until we address this issue we will continue to churn out a generation who believes they are entitled to what have.
Liberty forever, freedom forever.