The Family Circus cartoon often shows the children standing in front of Mom and saying “Not me” when she questions them about a broken vase or toy. While we may think it is cute in the comics, it can be frustrating to parents in real life. When adults have this attitude , it definitely is problematic.
Not only do people wish to push the blame away from them to protect their integrity or good name, but also to avoid responsibility. It shows up in big issues.
years ago when the former
We live in a time of great financial stress on all levels of government. Very few are willing to talk about increasing taxes because the momentum is in the other direction, irresponsible as that is. Gov. Jennifer Granholm suggested a tax on services. “Not my services,” was heard from almost all sectors of the service economy.
Local school boards are trying to resolve a tremendous budget shortfall by the only means they have available: cutting services. “Not the janitors”, some say; “not my child’s teacher”, others say; “not my sport”, still others say. Due to the now infamous Proposal A that shifted property taxes to the state for distribution, local school boards no longer have the option of raising taxes for operation.
The epitome of the “not me” attitude is fighting a war with borrowed money instead of taxing people for it. That is bad enough, but the reality is the taxes were actually reduced and disproportionately reduced on those who could best afford to pay the taxes that would finance this war many of them so strongly supported. Again, “don’t raise my taxes”, they said.
One would think that building schools and churches are exempt from this attitude, but they are not. When schools and churches are proposed for a certain location., neighbors have complained that they don’t want the land used for the large parking space that would be required for a church, or the increased traffic for either one, so once again we hear “not in my neighborhood.”
People move to the country to get out into the open spaces. Then they complain about the smell from the neighboring pig farm and want the farmer to move! Or they complain about a developer who comes along and subdivides the surrounding land. They complain they are losing their country culture and becoming a subdivision – exacly what they moved into the country to get away from. And so have all the others who moved in around them. “No development in my neighborhood”, they say.
The United States Constitution says in its preamble that one of its purposes is to “promote the general welfare”. Another phrase for this is “the common good”. While there is no precise definition for this phrase, it does mean that citizens need to have a view on issues that looks at how an issue affects the general population, not just their own interests. It is not equivalent to “majority rule. Rather, the common good always takes into consideration the impact on minorities and those left out of the mainstream.
In the case
not something bad, but rather the way we provide common services, like
education, roads, police and fire protection.
Building a home in the country invites development and common needs.
Let’s think of issues with the common good in mind. It will make a difference.