Adults. Why are they so dramatic about everything? They’re ruining all the things that matter to me — my parents won’t let me play with those kids from down the street; my teachers won’t let me have any fun when I want to. I guess I’ll just deal with it, what can you do? — The thoughts of a child.

Those girls are the worst. If only girls weren’t so obsessed with themselves and those stupid, athletic dudes, then they’d see me for who I am. But what can you do? Not my fault even the coolest girls suck, and that’s exactly why I’m single. — The thoughts of an angsty teenage boy.

I’m a full-grown adult now; I don’t need some old-ass person bossing me around and telling me what to do. They’re off running the country into the ground, and all I’m going to inherit is a pile of ashes. Great. But what can you do? When the country burns it’s going to be their fault — I’m just one person, and I’ll deal with all that when the time comes. — The thoughts of a young adult.

Kids. My father always sneered at the folly of children, but this time there’s real merit to it. This time is different, and they’re ruining everything. The country is going into the hands of kids who eat tide-pods and dye their hair purple, how the hell are they supposed to keep the greatness of America afloat? Kids were different in my day. But what can you do? When the country falls apart from their weakness, they’ll only have themselves to blame. — The thoughts of an elderly American.

All of these people have figured out how to shift the blame away from themselves and entirely onto someone else.

The first step in a culture of resignation is pointing the finger elsewhere. The second step is using that as an excuse to say, “What can you do?” and then do nothing because you believe the battle to have already been lost.

It seems these days we are constantly searching for a way out of responsibility.

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“These days.” It’s nothing new, and this mentality has permeated every culture in their own ways — we are just seeing today’s brand of it. So perhaps instead of “culture,” “human nature” may be more appropriate. Reading literature throughout the ages will make one acutely aware that this problem transcends our brief sliver in time, but it would be disingenuous to say that this problem needs to be fought today just as it always has been.

Either way, the deferment of responsibility is alive and well right now, and sometimes we even take it a few steps further. We often say that not only are these problems someone else’s fault but that those someones have ruined everything.

Democrats/Republicans ruined America; we’re too far gone now. Millennials are hopeless, and soon they’re going to be running things — the country is doomed. The fundamentals of our system are broken, there is nothing we can do. 

How many times have you heard an argument somewhere along these lines? How many times have you made these arguments yourself? I’m just as guilty as the next guy, and I catch myself all the time — making arguments that a) insinuate that nothing in a situation happens to be my fault, and b) any further efforts from myself would just be in vain. It’s an excuse to be lazy and to justify my current path without altering it in the slightest.

It’s important to figure out who is responsible for what, and at the end of the day some people are at fault and must be held accountable. But the first and last question should always be: “Did I do everything in my power to stop it?” I often ask myself that question, and if I’m answering honestly, there is almost always something more that I could have done. Usually, it’s quite a bit. So I have to bite my tongue when flinging out judgment toward others, and that includes on the internet from the safety of my keyboard.

Talk is cheap. It’s easy to point out the inaction, failures or outright wrongdoing of others — it’s less easy to turn that accusatory finger toward yourself and wonder if you could have done more.

There will be people in the future who will struggle and fight and claw their way to building a better world for us all. That group will not be comprised of those who found ways to justify their own inaction.

Images courtesy of Pixabay.