Since I got back from the trip a couple of weeks ago I've been busy trying to get caught up.
Since I got back from the trip a couple of weeks ago I've been busy trying to get caught up. I know that anyone who has been gone for very long can relate. That means that I haven't been able to watch as much news as I would like. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing since my blood pressure seems to be better when I watch less news.
But, I did happen to catch a news segment that shows all is not lost in the country and that there are still people who hold other people accountable for their actions. In this case it was a judge in Florida. A young lady appeared before him, I believe on drunken driving charges. She got a suspended sentence but a $5,000 fine.
She was quite the little smart mouth and made some flippant remark to the judge who then promptly doubled the fine. That really got her attention and on the way out she gestured to the judge with one of her fingers (you know the one). To that little act he called her back and put her in jail for 30 days. You should have seen the reaction on her face – it was priceless.
Hooray for the judge. He held someone accountable for their actions and they suffered the consequences for bad behavior. We need a whole lot more of that kind of accountability in this country. And, I'm not talking about just our judicial system. It seems like people in every setting just don't want to hold anyone accountable for their actions.
In today's "make everybody feel good" society in which we live, it's always someone else's fault for our bad behavior. You've heard the excuses – it's the parent's fault, or the school's, or society's in general. I've talked to a lot of people about this very subject and just about everyone agrees that we have gotten to the point where you just can't seem to find anyone who accepts blame for when they screw up.
I remember as a young kid, if I got in trouble at school that was the least of my worries. My real concern was coming home and having to tell my parents what had happened. And, I have heard that same thing from several people when we get into discussions about the "olden days." We all knew that we would be in more trouble at home than we were at school.
Nowadays that just doesn't seem to be the case. A kid gets in trouble and it's not their fault or people say we shouldn't punish them because it might hurt their psychological well-being. Have you wondered why we have so many more instances of violent behavior now than we did 20 or 30 years ago? Do you think that it might have something to do with people not accepting accountability for their own actions? Surely not.
I know that I am making some blanket statements that don't apply to everyone but there are enough people who blame everyone but themselves that it is affecting all of us. And, it is affecting the way people view the world. Many think that they can do anything they want and they just won't suffer any real consequences. And, quite frankly, we have gotten to the point where they are right.
So, what can we do to fix this? Well, the first thing we can do is to accept responsibility for our own actions. The next time something happens and you start to make an excuse for it; stop and think "what caused the problem and who is really to blame." And, once we do that to ourselves, then we have to demand that others do the same – don't accept excuses, expect accountability.
It seems like I'm preaching on this and I guess I am but I'm also preaching to myself. I know that there have been times where I've been guilty of trying to shift the blame. That's human nature to try to get out of trouble.
The difference is that we used to hold each other accountable and now we accept excuses. Until we get back to a place where we, as a society, demand accountability then we are just going to continue to do what human nature dictates and do our best to blame someone else.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.