On the way to work this morning, I was lucky enough to have a great conversation with a very good friend of mine and we touched on a number of topics that ranged from the chances for our high school’s basketball team to healthcare to GM’s desire to be bailed out. Amazingly enough, there was 1 common thread in all of our discussions and that was personal accountability.
I am sure that everyone has heard of the phrase “mea culpa” which is Latin for “it’s my fault”. I thought it would be more fitting today as I read about the issues with our financial services companies, retail businesses, and auto manufacturers that we make it a bit more impactful and add maxima which changes the meaning to “my most grievous fault”. I firmly believe that until we (the collective we) begin to take personal responsibility for our lives, we will continue to experience the problems we are experiencing. It is our nature to make bad decisions occassionally but we cannot accept that it is also our nature to avoid being accountable for those decisions as well.
In the headlines each day we are seeing the outward manifestation of the underlying problem that is more pervasive in our culture than it has been at any time in our contry’s history…lack of personal pride. Our country has experienced problems in the past but we had such a strong sense of national pride (that was the product of individual pride exhibited in our homes, at our workplace, and in our communities) that we felt collectively responsible for making it right. It seems now that there is a sense of learned helplessness that has taken over and we are turning outward in search of help instead of picking ourselves up off of the ground and getting back in the fight.
I understand that this problem is significant and also believe there needs to be assistance from our government to fix it, but we cannot abdicate our personal accountability on a national level. As the famous Pogo cartoon strip read, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”