It’s so easy to say, “I didn’t break the law, he did!” or “I am not racist, those guys are!” or “I wasn’t unkind, they were!” It’s finger pointing at its finest.
It’s easy to avoid responsibility for things we didn’t explicitly do ourselves. However, we didn’t do anything to stop them either. We didn’t create an environment where those misdeeds were infrequent or impossible.
I see people on the right side of the political spectrum say that poor people should just work harder — and then also cut funding to poor people’s schools. I see people on the left side of the spectrum say President Trump is a racist — and then also move to the suburbs to go to “better schools” (a.k.a. whiter schools).
The President of the United States represents all of us whether we like what he does or not. When he signs a bill into law, we all sign that bill. When he nominates a Supreme Court Justice, we all nominate that justice. When he is racist, we are all racist. When he is unkind, we are all unkind. He represents us for better or for worse.
It’s easy to say, “Not my President.”
In a company, it’s easy to say, “Not my department.” There are tons of problems a company faces and most people are totally willing to point their fingers at the other departments and dole blame out to everyone but themselves.
I have a personal value that I try to live by. It’s not doing the easy thing. It’s actually doing the hard thing. It’s harder to take responsibility for a bad situation. It’s harder to admit that I am complicit in the problem. It’s harder to admit that I stood by while bad things were happening.
If you think these children being separated from their parents at the border and left in a horrible prison to rot for weeks is not OK, I have a question for you: What have you done about it? Have you given money to help them? Have you driven down to Texas with supplies? Have you voted? Have you marched in a protest?
We have a bunch of jokers planning to storm Area 51, but no one is planning to storm these detention centers and free abused children. We complain. We point fingers. We are disgusted. But what are we doing to stop it, to improve it?
Whether it’s helping another department in your company, helping a neighbor in need, helping provide social justice, or just voting, we all have a responsibility to the group. If we stand by, we have to live with whatever we get. It might sound weird to equate social justice and helping another department in a company. However, I think it’s the same root behavior. Stop pointing fingers and get involved.
More people skipped voting that voted for Trump/Clinton combined. We are apathetic and lazy. We point fingers.
We are all of us. We are our best and we are our worst. That is democracy and civilization, for better or for worse. Does thinking this way change anything for you? Does it make you feel any more empathy? I wonder sometimes what words would change the world. I know they are out there.