What happened to personal responsibility?

Posted on January 15, 2012


“This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait.”
― Natalie Goldberg

Let me say this up front: I never want to discuss politics or religion on my blog. Both of these subjects get people into trouble, and I’m not going to do it. As readers may have noticed, even in the instance of discussing the separation of church and state, I did not discuss religion itself — merely that phrase.

The same will be said here. I am not going to discuss politics, political leanings, Obama vs the GOP or anything else of that nature.

However, I will mention Mitt Romney in this blog because of a commentary I read about him on Yahoo.

Granted, this was a commentary and not a news story, but it annoyed me.

Romney insults the working class

Apparently, Romney said, “You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare,” when speaking about income inequality in America. He then went on to say that he thinks America should be a merit-based society. “”I believe in a merit nation, an opportunity nation where people by virtue of their education, their hard work and risk taking and their dreams — may be a little luck — could achieve great things,” he said, according to this commentary (which attributes it to CNN).

Blogger’s note: First of all, the person writing this commentary is all over the map. In two short paragraphs, he cites references to Romney speaking on the Today Show, as well as plugging some “according to” references for Slate and CNN. So, is this all from the Today Show interview? Or is the writer just piecing together quotes to outrage people? Sorry…read the article for yourself…that’s just a peeve of mine.

So, here’s what really gets me about this commentary: What is wrong with what Romney said? If you really look at what is being thrown at voters, if you look at the Occupy movement, etc., isn’t it about those who make less money going after those who make more money? That is definitely class warfare. Now, he may have been wrong to say that these people are “envious”, that’s true. But, why exactly is that an insult to the working class, as this commentary author insists?

Also, what Romney said about a merit-based society is completely relevant to what should be going on today. People should work for what they get. Yes, Romney is rich and probably inherited a certain amount of pomp and circumstance. Does that mean we should hate him? Does that make the statement any less true? And this isn’t about the economy because this kind of thinking has been going on for years.

Now, I’ve been blathering on for a while, so let me get to my point.

Instead of hating those that have more than you, why aren’t you working toward getting more for yourself? I have earned every single thing that I have gotten in my life. I take personal responsibility very seriously. If you blew off high school, didn’t go to college, didn’t get some kind of vocational training, and now you are working at a fast food restaurant stuck with little money and a job that you hate — that is YOUR fault. It isn’t your parents fault, it isn’t the government’s fault, and it isn’t the billionaires fault. (Of course, that’s just one example. As with any rant, there are exceptions.)

Everyone has problems. I have problems. I don’t have as much money as I would like. Am I going to hate a billionaire because I have a 9-year-old car and want a new one? No…it was my choice to go into a profession where one usually doesn’t become rich. I will choose to work hard and move up in my industry so that I can provide a better life for my children.

When I was married, I blamed all of my depression on my husband. If anyone knows me or has read my thesis, you will know that it was one heck of a marriage. However, the day I realized that it was my choice to stay day after day and take it was the day I chose to leave. From there, I chose to go back to college rather than stay in certain jobs that had no real future. I worked hard in college to graduate magna cum laude while raising two kids. I spent over 6 months sending out 250 job applications, and finally ended up with a job I love.

That was my road; those were my choices. I chose not to get involved with drugs or alcohol. I chose to work hard. I chose to not get involved with men who might make me lose focus on my goals.

Everyone makes choices every day, and those choices have consequences. At some point, a person has to stop blaming everyone else for their problems and start blaming themselves.

So tell me, despite the silver spoon that he may have been born with, what did Romney say that was wrong in this instance? Whatever happened to people taking personal responsibility for their lives?

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you also have an obligation to be one.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt