Every once in a while, I’m driven to write about something outside sales and business. Today, I’m driven to comment on things that I’ve seen in the news over the past couple of weeks, months. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes tragic events to wake us up, to help us remember who we are as human beings and contributors in building our society.
We are all shocked by yet another school shooting in Parkland, Florida. We wonder, “How many more will it take until we take action to change?” Our elected officials point fingers and make excuses, yet it is the actions of thousands of teenagers and children that will, hopefully, not let us do nothing.
We are shocked by evidence of an attack on the security of our country, yet instead of taking action and protecting our security, our elected officials choose, yet again, to make excuses and point fingers.
We are shocked by evidence of abuse, both physical abuse, sexual, abuses of power/position by people in both political parties, yet we are numbed because this somehow seems to pass for acceptable.
We were promised the swamp would be drained and America would be great again (I’m not sure it never has stopped being great), yet our elected officials won’t work with each other to make us great–whether it’s violence, attacks on our security, our economy, tax reform, immigration and DACA, healthcare reform, the environment……
Our elected officials, regardless of party, are so busy posturing, pointing fingers, assigning blame, they have forgotten that we elected them to do a job and that job isn’t getting done.
The media doesn’t help a lot, they just fan the flames of sensationalism, bad news and scandal sell.
This behavior isn’t limited to our elected officials.
Every day, we see and accept bad behaviors in the work place. Whether it is abuse, exercise of power, ethics, greed, the examples are rampant.
Social media has become a wasteland of bad behaviors–people doing things that would be inconceivable face to face, yet in social media abusive behavior, preening, posturing flourishes. Rather than creating greater sharing and cohesion, too often, it seems to sharpen divides and polarize.
Pummeled on all sides with that which, in the past, has seemed inconceivable we start becoming numb.
I suppose it’s a survival mechanism, we tend to retreat, we tend to disassociate, and unwittingly our lack of outrage enables others to continue to do the unthinkable.
Last night, watching the news, it was the actions of children that woke me up to my own numbness.
There are some that would say this is political and I (we) shouldn’t be political.
I choose to view this differently. This is not an issue of political affiliations, it is an issue of governing, protecting our country and people, and being responsible.
We cannot be people who are responsible or people of character and choose to do nothing.
In our communities and workplaces, we cannot be people who are responsible of people of character and choose to accept that which is abusive, unethical, or wrong.
Silence and inaction becomes complicity. It becomes acceptance.
In some sense, we deserve what we have gotten, because so many of us have let so few set the direction of our nation, our communities, and our companies through numbness and inaction.
If you choose to take action, hold your elected officials accountable. Don’t let them point fingers, assign blame, refuse to protect the security of our people and our country. Find out who your elected officials are at the national, state, and local level at How To Contact Your Elected Officials.
If you choose to take action, don’t accept abusive and unethical behaviors in your company. Hold your management accountable. Choose another place to work, or choose not to do business with those that seek to degrade our standards of behavior in favor of their power and net worth.
Responsibility and Character starts within each of us in how we behave, in the respect we show each other, in our ability to be open to (even if we disagree) to varying positions, and our willingness to resolve differences.
Responsibility and Character starts within each of us in refusing to accept that which is irresponsible and devoid of character.
Afterword: I was struck by @PaulKrugman’s piece in the NYTimes: The Content of The GOP’s Character. While his focus is on the Republicans, we can equally apply what he is discussing to all our elected representatives.