December 13, 2005

Gimme, Gimme, you owe me

As Americans we have named those born in a certain era with nicknames. Those of the Greatest Generation were those who lived through the Great Depression and won WWII. The Lost Generation were those that survived the horrors of WWI. Less respectful we have called the baby boomers the Me Generation and those who came later Generation X. I think we have developed a whole new class of citizens in this country -- The Entitlement Generation. Bear with me, this is a long post, and I am afraid I lack the skills to make my case as clear as I hope.

This term applies just not to the Senior Citizens who insist the Government owes them cheap drugs or medical care. The Entitlement Generation goes beyond welfare queens and whole generations who have lived on the public dole. It is an attitude that we are "owed something". We often hear "it is not fair", "there should be a law", or some such.

As I get older I am sure I will change my attitude, but the AARP aged folks who insist they should get reduced and discounted food at restaurants fit into this category. If you are living on a "fixed income" (those who have read me for long know how I feel about that term) and demand discounted coffee at McDonald's you should be at home fixing your own coffee for pennies a cup if the 89 cents is too steep for you.

What really bothers me is much deeper than this. Just who the hell does Cindy Sheehan think she is to demand the President give her a private meeting? Should Bush meet with the family of every serviceman who has lost their life for their country? Is the death of Sheehan's son any more tragic than the young airman killed in a training crash, or the sailor killed in an accident at sea? I think not. But somehow she has become convinced her case is more significant than the rest.

I will use as further examples of attitudes run amok in today's society from the world of sports. The Case of TO is well documented. He hated his quarterback, coaches and management at San Francisco. He was eventually traded (first to Baltimore which did not suit him) to Philadelphia. He signed a seven year contract that may or not have paid him adequately for his skills. He signed the contract, there was no duress, no gun to the head of his wife and children. If he did not know what he was signing, he should have sought expert advise. If the experts advised him to agree to the contract the beef is with the agents and lawyers, not the football team. After the expiration of 1/7th of the contract he wanted more. The club said no. Owens proceeded to disrupt his team, disparage his teammates, his coaches and the owners of the Eagles. He got what he deserved -- booted for the year. What made him think he was entitled to anything? What made him believe the rules were for everyone else on the team but him?

Eric Moulds a receiver for Buffalo was suspended last week because he refused to play, to meet with coaches and practice. His grievance -- the quarterback threw too many balls to another receiver. Boo fricken hoo. I guess you are entitled to have passes thrown to you.

Perhaps the most egregious case is that of Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers. He has thrown tantrums and been penalized repeatedly over the last several years. This jerk had the audacity last year early in the season to complain that the Pacers, who are paying him a significant amount of money to PLAY BASKETBALL would not let him have some time off to promote his company's rap album. Shortly thereafter he led the riot in Detroit that ruined his teams season and led to his year long suspension. Now, after he cost his teammates a run at the title last year and significant playing time and salary, Artest wants out of his contract. He does not like the coach. Again, Boo frickin hoo.

I hear young people say that Bill Gates does not deserve his wealth. Regardless of your opinions on his product, he risked his own money and built the largest software and operating system in the world. He did it by hard work, and through savvy business deals. He deserves every penny.

Somehow our country has developed an attitude that we are owed something. We do not have the right to success, the right to not be offended, the right to public acceptance of our lifestyle and ideals. We are guaranteed the same opportunity to HAVE success. We are guaranteed the right to offend someone. We are guaranteed the right to believe as we choose.

You can dress in baggy pants that would look great on a circus clown. You can spike your hair into a purple Mohawk. You can pierce your body until you look like a human pin cushion. I still have the right to laugh at you because I think you look ridiculous. You can have all the tattoos you like, I can still think you look like a comic book. You can wear your hat sideways and circle your neck with chains and gold. You can tell me "yo yo what up" and I can pretend you are not speaking English. See that is rights. You are not entitled to my respect, nor I yours.

You are not entitled to a job. You are not entitled to wealth. You do have the right to work hard and create success for you and your family. You do not have to right to be admitted to Harvard or Michigan or UCLA or Stanford based on your DNA or the amount of pigment in your skin. You do have the right based on your intelligence, test scores, athletic ability or community and school activities. You have the right to pursue success.

If you do not like eating in a restaurant that caters to smokers, stay away from that establishment. Hit the owner where it hurts, his wallet. If enough people want smoke free dining the market will create those places. Want to smoke after dinner, patronize smoke-friendly eataries. Why does the Government have to get involved? I challenge anyone to show me how regulating smoking is in the government's best interest. Business owners want to force local governments to make their establishments smoke free because they lack the guts to declare a position on their own -- they might offend someone.

Finally, you have no rights based on your sexual preferences. What you do in the privacy of your home is your business. Should I get a promotion because I get laid every week? Should I be rewarded because I never get sex? Should an employer fire me because I am fat, skinny or bald? If I weigh 800 pounds do I represent my employer in a positive manner when I call on customers? How about if I weigh 200 pounds, have a five o'clock shadow, a hairy chest and choose to wear women's clothes?
You do not have the right to not be offended. Do not like Christmas? Fuck off, 85% of the country is Christian or agnostic. I am not offended that Jews do not eat pork, why should I care if the Christmas tree in the downtown is called, well a Christmas tree? Isn't that what it is? Is there anyone fooled when we call it a Holiday Tree? Do you want to celebrate Kwanza? Go ahead, it is none of my business if you want to celebrate a holiday made up by a leftist, white hating American. The holiday is no more authentic than the annual kool-aid party at Jonestown, but it is NONE of my business.

You see, you are not entitled to diddly. Get over it, be a teammate. You signed the contract and took the money. Support your country or move. Work hard, create success. Get over yourself, I do not owe you anything.

Our forefathers risked everything to overthrow the yoke of tyranny. They risked their lives so we could escape overwhelming government. Yet in little more than 200 years we have developed a government with powers that would make the creators of the Constitution cry. We are raising a whole new generation that only cries for more, gimme, gimme. Too many of us think we are owed. I, for one, intend to look at my life and act on it. I am going to try hard and make sure I do not develop the entitlement disease. When I show those symptoms; hit me with a ball bat.

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