I have come to the conclusion that a large subset of the American population suffer from a bloated sense of entitlement. Such an unrealistic symptom is often attributed to the poor, the uneducated, the minority classes, or to the otherwise socio-economically disenfranchised; however, on this point, I beg to differ.  More often I have seen an exaggerated sense of entitlement in the young, the well-educated, in the “upper-crust”of society.  All things considered, I suppose a sense of entitlement crosses demographic boundaries.  
 
Wikipedia describes those who suffer from this affliction as persons who “arrogate to themselves the right to demand lifelong reimbursement from fate.”  Really? Here are my thoughts on the matter: Young adults are not entitled to a college education paid for by  their parent, taxpayers, or the federal government; children are not entitled to any modicum of privacy, at school or at home; those who’ve been blessed to have received a higher education are not entitled to certain wages or privileges in the workplace; American companies are not entitled to be frequented by American consumers; servicemen and women are not entitled to a job when they return home;
workers are not entitled to a living wage; Americans are not entitled to Internet access, a cellphone, or to cable television.  
 
Now, let me differentiate between being deserving and being entitled, because the two are not the same.  I strongly feel combat veterans are deserving of preferential hiring.  I, myself, am a veteran.  But any soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who feels entitled to preferential treatment is disabled in ways they may not even comprehend.   Many such deserving and hardworking individuals do not get what they deserve in life.  That’s how life is sometimes.  
 
But a sense of entitlement breeds apathy, resentment, sloth, ineptitude and, worst of all, arrogance.  It is a hunger that America cannot afford to feed anymore because it is devouring the creative juices and innovative thinking of an entire generation.  It is a cancer that threatens to consume itself and its host along with it.  
 
I often think about my grandmother who was a young girl during the Great Depression.  The Great Depression was a time when nothing was wasted.  Folks were remarkably self-reliant, and proud of it.  Only in an emergency did they rely on family, friends and neighbors to help them get by.  How many of you actually know your neighbors?  Is this what we have become as a society?  Is this the legacy we want to leave our children, and our grandchildren?  Not me!  
 
So, what’s the cure?  Work!  
  
Work hard.  Work harder than you ever thought possible and, afterward, revel in what you have created.  Then, get up the next day and do it all over again.  Humble yourself.  Serve. Don’t be a generation of consumers. Create!  Innovate.  Inspire. Collaborate.  Take the road less-traveled.  Suffer a few sleepless nights in pursuit of your dreams.  Because until we become hungry again as a nation, any sense of entitlement will only deepen the divide between us.   
 


 


Comments

Angie W
03/08/2012 4:32am

Bravo! This was a truly inspiring post.

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