Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.”
Personal responsibility and accountability, where have you gone? I’ve been struck over the past few weeks by what seems to be an ever increasing lack or maybe abdication of personal responsibility and personal accountability.
Among politicians, while Trump may be the most egregious example of someone who refuses to be personally responsible or accountable – it’s always someone else’s fault – the disease seems to have infected virtually the entire Republican Party. As noted in Entry #414, Republicans in the House of Representatives kicked out Liz Cheney from a leadership position because she had the temerity to tell the truth. Shame on you Liz for telling the truth.
As if such skewed thinking weren’t enough, most Republicans in the House voted against establishing a bipartisan commission – yes, an equal number of Republicans and Democrats – to explore causes and responsibility for the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
Some Republicans claimed the attack was no different than an ordinary day with the usual throng of visitors. Other Republicans claimed the attack was really Democrats in disguise. Whatever the phony rationale, Republicans seem intent on not seeking the truth.
When it became clear the effort to establish a bipartisan commission would not pass the Senate, Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Republicans in the House and who voted no to the commission, publicly and loudly proclaimed he would testify under oath. Such an outstanding display of personal responsibility and accountability.
Unfortunately for society the unwillingness to take responsibility and/or to be held accountable is not confined to often spineless politicians. It seems to be pervasive.
In several recent articles in the Charlotte Observer, there was data indicating the percentage of people being vaccinated by various categories. One chart noted the percentage of blacks being vaccinated was lower than the percentage of whites. Some people quoted in the article implied the lower percentage was further evidence that systemic racism against blacks.
Hold on folks. Not every difference between blacks and whites indicates racism. What about the percentage of black athletes vs white athletes, especially the NBA and NFL? Seriously, back to Covid-19 inoculations, there has been ample time for everyone to get shots. While appointments were difficult to get initially, that is no longer the case.
Further, the number of available locations has expanded considerably. On a personal note, my wife’s appointment location was moved from a clinic reasonably nearby to one on the west side of Charlotte. The new clinic, much larger and better equipped than the original clinic, was located in a predominantly black neighborhood. The clinic also had ready access to frequent public transportation. For those located without ready access to public transportation, Uber and Lyft have been providing free rides to and from the clinic.
So, in this situation, who is not being responsible? The clinic is nearby, and the transportation is readily available.
Another example of “who should be responsible” is from actions by Mecklenburg County Commissioners. The manager and commissioners of Mecklenburg County, which surrounds Charlotte and is a significant source of funding for the school system, stated they want to withhold more than 10% of the funds allocated for public schools until the School Board develops and details a plan that ensures student performance will improve.
Few disagree that measuring teaching skills against a reasonable standard is legitimate. If the teacher is meeting the standard, then holding teachers accountable for student performance is not reasonable and unfair to the teacher. The people directly responsible for student performance are the student and the parents of the student. Making teachers directly accountable is a no-win situation and discourages people from becoming teachers. Apparently Mecklenburg County has never heard the saying, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
One more example, which is minor, but I think indicative of how widespread the problem of shirking responsibility has become. Last week Sam’s Club was out of the birdseed mix that all the backyard critters seem to like best. The clerk said to try ordering on online, which we did. When the order was placed, the scheduled delivery date was six days. The next day, FedEx said the delivery date was now COB the following day, a Friday. Friday passes. Next FedEx notice Saturday morning, delivery today. Sunday morning, delivery today. Finally. Any updates or notices from FedEx there had been a delay? Not until the delivery date passed. Any reason given? No. Any apologies from FedEx? No. In the scheme of things, an annoyance. In the larger context, indicative of the lack of willingness to be responsible.
How do these examples link to the likelihood of a 5th US revolution, aka the Revenge Revolution? I think the unwillingness to take personal responsibility for something as simple as getting vaccinated, an unwillingness to acknowledge something as obvious as only an individual can decide whether to learn, or unwillingness to keep the customer informed, bodes ill for the willingness of the US populous to try and solve really serious problems facing the country.
How will the public respond to actions required and sacrifices required to help solve climate change? If people thought the backlash against non-mask wearers was bad, wait until the public begins to truly understand how much an individual’s actions can contribute to a carbon footprint that negatively affects climate change.
While there’s a lot of discussion inside the Beltway about infrastructure, voting rights, potential inflation, etc., as I noted in an earlier entry I think climate change will become the overwhelming focus in the near future. And who’s going to lead the discussion about and the effort to address climate change?
The leaders won’t be the current set of elected representatives, especially those in the Senate. The people who are going to lead the charge are the ones who will be most negatively affected by climate change. Look out, here come the younger generations. Update: 05/25/2021 — An example of the kind of climate-change demands that we might experience in the future — demands by workers at Amazon that the company end pollution from its operations disproportionately affect people of color. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/amazon-shareholders-demand-end-pollution-hitting-people-color-hardest-n1268413
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