Are Too Many Rights With Too Few Responsibilities Creating Our Nation's Problems?

Rights — and the responsibilities connected to them — are the backbone of any great nation. While rights and privileges speak of freedom, choice and entitlement, responsibility sounds more like a task; something a person must do. Responsibility is a form of ownership. It involves owning — being responsible for — the actions we take while exercising our rights and privileges. Groups and individuals have both rights and responsibilities.

When entitlement and ownership are not on equal par the result is an indelicate balance. This indelicate balance is undermining and eroding the very structure of our free society. Our freedoms are holding us captive. So obsessed have we become with our rights and privileges that group and individual responsibility seem to no longer to be a factor. Responsibilities are being cancelled out. Are we, or have we already become, a nation whose freedom of rights are the very object of our restless discontent? 

Cronyism; Wall Street, banks, automotive bailouts; growing power of lobbyists; are rights without responsibilities. In addition, we have the largest number in our history of people illegally entering, living and benefiting from both our freedoms and our earned entitlements. A society should not permit people, business and powerful entities the right to take from their society that which appeals to, and benefits them, while negating the responsibilities attached to them. 

We are living with, and subject to, a bought and paid for Wall Street government. Bailouts for corruption and financially irresponsible business practices have resulted in historical debt for a nation and generations to come. This lack of accountability followed by on-going enabling is a major national disgrace. Responsibility would dictate high rollers liquidate their assets and bail themselves out and for government to reign in unscrupulous predatory lenders by regulating interest rates for homeowners. 

People benefiting from illegally living here continues. Those in favor of this population receiving equal rights say we need to provide for them and treat them in a humane manner. Those not in favor say since they came here illegally they do not have the same right to government programs paid for by taxpayers to be among a humane manner.

The Pursuit of Happyness is a movie about the struggles of self-made millionaire Chris Gardner who made his fortune in the stock market. The main focus is Gardners' complete acceptance of responsibility for owning where he was and where he wanted to go in his life. He owned his life and his responsibility to change it by reflecting on the word "pursuit" as written by Thomas Jefferson in our Bill of Rights. Both men understood the true meaning of pursuit. It is not a guarantee of happiness but an opportunity to pursue it.  

A nation solely focused on rights while not equally focusing on responsibilities cannot survive. America is destroying itself by allowing rights without responsibilities. 

Do you see the integrity regarding rights and responsibilities of this nation in balance or imbalanced? Is America today demanding happiness or pursuing it in the manner of Gardner?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Kathleen Quinn

I was born in New York City and moved to Denver, Colorado in 1990. My work history includes 27 years in federal employment and several in private industry. I have three amazing children and three amazing grandchildren. Diversity in people and perceptions create a never ending opportunity for looking at ourselves and our world.

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