Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can we just stop the blame game already?!

Well, I reeeeaaally should be cleaning and planning for my son's birthday party tomorrow, but I have all these half (or more)-composed blogs (primarily politically-related...what a surprise, right?) swirling in my head, so I figured maybe I should try and type like a mad woman and get at least one out, then bust out some serious housework in double-time. Anyway...not that any of that is really relevant, but...yeah.

So anyway, the first installment of my half-composed blogs is about the blame game when it comes to politics. I get irked to no end by politicians and the media slinging verbal mud at eachother, but now I am hearing no end of the blame game by private citizens - friends, family, aquaintences of mine (and probably yours) - placing blame for all the woes in their life on Obama, the current administration, state representatives, one political party or another as a whole, past presidents and/or their administrations...and so on and so forth. Basically, that the government, or some government figure-head is the root of all their trials.

Now, I'm as cynical, critical, and skeptical about our government as the next person (and perhaps even more so), but I'm sorry...I just don't buy it. I just don't feel like the government is that powerful over my own life and circumstances. And my own circumstances are just that - my own. While yes, some of my circumstances are some small trickle-down from government action (or inaction), I still own the situations I am in.

I think problem lies more with the attitude of our culture and generation than it does with anything related to government. Seriously. We live in a culture and generation that is too quick to find a scape goat and "pass the buck" to someone(s) else, than, oh, I dunno, take responsibility for their own situations and find solutions on how to change them.

It reminds me of the serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


Notice it doesn't say "the ability to blame other people for the things I can't or don't want to change because it takes work." No. We need to do just what this prayer urges us to do.

First, we have to serenely accept the circumstances we cannot change, not with whining, sniveling, and blaming others. Does serenity involve blaming other people? I don't think so. Not the way I define it. Serenity means coming to peace with something and accepting that the circumstance, and probably its outcome, is out of our own hands. Basically...let it go! Stop dwelling on it because there is nothing that can be done about it.

Secondly, we need to have the courage to change the things we can. Are you out of work? Instead of exhausting energy whining and complaining about it, actively seek a job. Yes, the pickin's are slim, I fully acknowledge that. But I know far too many people who have gotten discouraged and have essentially stopped looking, waiting for the perfect opportunity to fall in their lap. Again, the only person who owns, or can change, your current circumstances is you. If you are waiting around for the government to make it all better, to change their M.O.'s to meet what you are convinced will fix all your problems, well...you'll be waiting a loooonng time! If you are waiting for a "political Messiah" to come...yeah...I doubt that's going to happen.

Oh, then there is this theory! One thing I read this a few weeks ago, and find completely ludicrous, is this: That its in our DNA! I mean, really?!? Bashing presidents is in our DNA?!? Maybe its just me, but I highly doubt when God created us he thought, "Hmm, maybe I should blueprint people to bash their leaders. Yeah, that sounds good, I'll do that." And even if we are a product of primordial ooze, what primal survival instinct does that provide us with? Anyway...ridiculous, in my opinion.

And here is why I think that. When our grandparents faced the World Wars, The Great Depression, etc., what did they do? They worked their tails off to improve their circumstances! My paternal grandfather, at one point, worked 3 jobs - one of which took him out of the country for 3 months right after my dad and his twin sister were born - in order to provide for his family. He made the sacrifices necessary to provide for his family. I'm sure it was hard working 3 jobs simultaneously, being away from his wife and newborn babies, but he did it. Meanwhile, my grandmother planted a "victory garden," went back to college, and took many steps of her own to provide a secure future for her family. They put their "nose to the grindstone" and did what they were able to in order to better their own circumstances. I am sure at times they felt buried, like there was no way out, much as the majority of Americans feel right now (the wars and crummy economy are pretty similar). But the difference is, they never lost hope, they never quit trying, and they never expected the government to change their own circumstances.

Quite frankly, I think our current generation is largely...lazy, and feels an unrealistic sense that they are owed something just for their existence. This was certainly evident when I worked at a grocery store! All those who were about 25 and over worked their behinds off, while all but one that I can think of offhand in the under 25 bracket dragged their feet and made a mountain of extra work for the rest of us. One young guy literally would hide in the back room behind boxes and freight pallets, ignoring pages and complaining that he didn't get paid enough. (Yes folks, this is the future of America. Yikes!)

Anyway, now that I've gotten largely derailed, my point is, we can only change ourselves and our own circumstances, and the only way to do that is to change our attitudes. As Elvis once said, "A little less conversation, a little more action, please." We need to spend less time and energy complaining and blaming others, own our own problems, and resolve to change what we're capable of. Because we can't change Obama or his policies. We can't change the damage done by Bush's decisions while he was in office. We can't single-handedly talk sense into our law-makers. We can vote for change - that is doing something productive. We can scrimp and save to get to a better financial position if we've been hit by the bad economy and loss of work - that is doing something productive. And we can remain as positive as we can. I know it sounds so much more easily said than done, and I know many of us are feeling the painful trickle-down effects of national debt, loss of jobs, a bad housing market, healthcare premiums rising to astronomical levels, etc., but all we can do is what we individually can do to change our own circumstances, actively advocate and vote for change, and stop blaming others. Doing anything else - especially blaming others - is just plain unproductive.