(When People Continue To Set Their Standards So Damn Low)
The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life. John W. Gardner
When I leave my home in the morning to go to work I am both physically and mentally prepared to do the job that awaits me. Some days are harder than others, which means that some days I have to work a great deal harder than I do on others. I accept that and am willing to put forth whatever effort is required to get the job done. I take a certain amount of pride in trying to do the best job I possibly can. Yet there are people with whom I work who seem to take great pride in doing the least amount of work possible to make it through the day. I don’t know if these people are downright lazy, or if the standards by which they judge their behavior are lower than what I set for myself. Nevertheless, from my viewpoint their job performance is sub-standard.
Why do I mention this? I mention it because the purpose of this article is to discuss standards. According to the dictionary a standard is a level of quality or excellence that is accepted as the norm or by which actual attainments are judged. You can set standards for yourself, or they may be set for you. For instance, where I work there are certain tasks that you are expected to be able to perform for each position. Yet daily I see people who make no effort to meet those standards, and worse, those in positions of authority do nothing to enforce them.
What good are standards if they are not enforced? That goes for this country as well, what good is a Constitution when the vast majority of the people in America have no idea what it says, and those whom they elect have no qualms about overstepping the limits it imposes upon them?
But you know, Samuel Adams was right when he said “Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.” People don’t want to think, it takes too much effort. Even some of the people who read my articles don’t want to do their own thinking…they let me do it for them. Automaker Henry Ford once said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” I hate to admit it, but he is probably right.
I have a friend with whom I was stationed in Florida who is a staunch Republican. To him, the Democrats represent all that is wrong with this country. I think he honestly believes that if we could somehow miraculously rid the country of Democrats this nation would become a prosperous utopia. To this person the Republicans can do no wrong, while the Democrats can do no right.
On my way home from work today I had a T-shirt made up which says, “It’s not about right versus left, conservatives versus liberals. It’s about liberty versus tyranny and oppression.” I have tried time and time again to explain that both political parties are equally guilty of causing irreparable damage to our rights, our liberty, and to our nation in general. Yet people continue to think that THEIR particular political party holds the high moral ground. You know, Albert Einstein once said, “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.”
Thomas Jefferson cared so little for political parties that he said, “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
Some people in this country are finally waking up as witnessed by the growth of the Tea Party movement and the impressive showing by Ron Paul in the debates and ensuing straw polls. Yet my ‘friend’ e mailed me a few days back, saying “Ron Paul is a fucking idiot!” Like the Democrats or Republicans have any one better to offer!
Look at how the media still acts like Ron Paul does not exist, focusing all their attention on only the candidates the Establishment endorses. Look at how the Congressional Tea Party members were called financial terrorists. It’s not that I agree 100% with the Tea Party, I don’t. But Henry Clay once said, “The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and encroachments.”
It all comes back to standards. If we don’t think for ourselves, if we allow others to think for us, we allow them to set the standards by which we judge what is acceptable and what is normal. No matter how macho we may think we are, we have become a nation of sniveling cowards who are afraid to rock the boat, to say something that goes against the tide of public opinion, or to stand up for our rights and our liberty.
Until we start thinking for ourselves, to reset our standards to those held by our founding fathers, we will continue to elect corrupt men to the seats of power in our nation’s capital. Until we care more about the character and virtue of the people we vote for than we do about what’s on TV tonight, we will continue to get just what we deserve.
You see, Sam Adams nailed it when he said, “[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” And let me tell you, unless the people start setting their standards just a bit higher, this nation doesn’t stand a chance. You see, as Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” So the choice is yours, start thinking for yourself, or stick with the status quo. But if you ask me, the status quo SUCKS and it’s way past time for a return to the values upon which this country was founded..