No One to Blame but Ourselves
We looked the other way, selfishly enjoying ourselves, while ignoring our responsibilities to parent and teach. We didn’t set expectations for those dependent on us and attempt to manage the results. We needed to instill core family values and discipline them, instead, we threw money at problems and poverty and went our merry way. You see it is much harder to do the tough work to form behaviors than to buy them and our conscious off.
We gave things without requiring anything for it. They had no skin in the game, why are we surprised they feel entitled?
Different kind of Ellis Island
We also compounded our problems with newer immigrants.
What a difference a generation makes! When millions flocked to our shores for a better life, they toiled hard at work and even harder at becoming Americans. They learned the language and assimilated quickly. It was not an abdication of who they were, they still practice their customs and cultures, but realized and desired to be a part of something bigger – AMERICA! Their contributions are legendary and a reason prospered into a beacon for the underclass around the world.
Newcomers to America are accommodated to such a large degree that they have no incentive to learn English and integrate into our society and culture. Thinking we’d make it easier for them led to neighborhoods filled with signage in other languages and children unable to learn in school because they didn’t know English, resulting in tremendous disaffection. (Interestingly, Arizona, now maligned for its immigration policy, actually mandated that children be taught in their native language and ‘imported’ Spanish speaking teachers from Mexico! It proved to be a colossal failure as Spanish speaking children performed even more poorly.)
This disaffection and resentment manifested itself in many ways but some recent events like the riots in England are ringing alarm bells. In short, we need to turn course quickly in order to have a chance at changing the tide.
In order for a democracy to survive and prosper it needs the far majority of its people participating. We cannot have the outrageous amounts of folks we have now living off the government! Fiscal disaster that it is, it is just not sustainable for democracy.
We must make the distinction between those who are unable to take care of themselves and those who are simply unwilling. Safety nets for legitimate, verifiable reasons should be maintained. Other programs dealing with poverty must be managed with an eye to outcomes. If it does not change behavior, leading to independence, it should be changed until it does. If you get something (Sickness and aged etc aside) from the government or society you should be required to do something. Is there a legitimate reason, that those getting a year or two of unemployment checks not be required to gain a new skill to be employed (or clean a park?) as a condition of getting the check?
Nothing less than the very fabric of our society is at stake. We need ideas and action now!