Guy Pacot: Lost in America
It seems that no matter where you reside in the political spectrum, you have an idea in regard to the issue of meeting the needs of those less fortunate around us. If you occupy the left end of the spectrum, you believe it’s the responsibility of the government via the “collective” to take care of these individuals. If you occupy the right end of the spectrum you believe it’s the responsibility of the individual to take of these people via their charitable contributions and work that most often is done through places of worship, nonprofits, and the like.
Some have said that we’ve lost our common decency, others that we’ve lost our sense of pride in a job well done via the labor of our hands. We have truly lost something as Americans, but it’s neither of the above-mentioned items. We’ve lost our sense of responsibility to make a difference personally in the lives of those around us.
I’m in my 50s now, and those of you my age or older either remember vividly first-hand how things were in the 1930s-1950s, or you were told by your parents or grandparents moving stories of individuals and communities rallying around the needy in their midst.
Collectivism, while stressing the individual and their needs obscures or blurs the need for personal responsibility or interaction with the needy around us since it teaches to depend on the “state.” I have many Russian and Ukrainian friends who will tell you first-hand if they didn’t look out for themselves, no one would. They had very little under their form of collectivism and because the “state” was strained to the max they actually received very little of what they needed.
Those at the right end of the spectrum who believe in the power of the individual more often than not give very generously to charities. Some do give of their time, but most because it’s easy write a check and leave it at that. They look to their churches, their nonprofit causes, their relief organizations and the like to take care of the needy. All ends of the political spectrum spend a great deal of time pursuing all the diversions that life has to offer.
What has happened in America is not that we’ve lost our common decency or pride in personal hard work. We have lost our sense of family, our sense of community, and our sense of personal responsibility in regard to our fellow man. For the most part, we have become so consumed with pursuing our own comfort, pleasures, and security that we have lost or abandoned the notion of who we are historically as Americans. We have become occupied with ourselves and no matter where we are in the political spectrum we’ve lost our sense of duty personally and believe it’s the responsibility of someone else to take care of the less fortunate.
It’s time to become less self-absorbed and start looking outward. We have devolved into who we are as Americans because we have lost sight of our own personal calling to take care of our fellow man. Stop looking inward first selfishly as well as looking to someone else to take care of others; start looking outward first selflessly in regard to the needs of others as well as looking inwardly personally to meet those same needs. If it’s easy to write a check, sacrifice some of your time too; you can never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness. If it’s easy to give of your time, sacrifice some of your resources as well; it doesn’t take much to meet some very simple needs.
It’s time to look back and remember who we are as Americans and revive the legacies that truly made this nation unique. Let’s not miss the blessing and personal satisfaction of serving others first and making a difference in the world around us.
Guy Pacot lives in Frisco.
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