When I was a younger person in around 1984 I went to see the movie “The Karate Kid” (mostly because I had a crush on Ralph Macchio but that is another story). There was a scene in the movie where Noriyuki “Pat” Morita’s character “Mr. Miyagi” is talking to Ralph Macchio’s character aiming to give “Daniel” a bit of wisdom.
Mr. Miyagi said “walk on right side of the road…safe…walk on left side of road … safe … walk in the middle … and sooner or later (he makes a squishing noise) crush like grape!” At the time I just laughed, thinking how the movie moment played more for high comedy than it followed along with the serious tone set for the scene.
Flash forward approximately 30 years later and somehow when thinking of this political race that all too funny quote hardly seems funny at all. In fact, it resonates as true.
I mean, behind every satire worthy quote like “Romney showed substantial favorability gains among moderates, independents and saw his largest jump among female voters” (yes I know, stop laughing, yes this is an actual quote) or “Obama risks just looking mean spirited and nasty” (again with the laughter), there is a serious tone.
In other words, America has come to the middle; with all of the shades of grey that has blurred the lines of right and wrong no one feels safe having a solid statement anymore. One moment Obama says “I don’t agree with gay marriage”…then…wellll, I have changed my mind. Another may say “I don’t want a Mormon president”…then…welllll, everyone deserves a chance. One moment gas prices should go down…and then the next…wellll, not so much (ok I just threw that in, but gas is to high)!
The question is, how high is the price we have paid for trying to be all inclusive? The word inclusive as it is defined by Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary means: “something that does not leave any part or group out.” But how can you do that if your trying to run a country with so many people who have a strong sense of entitlement?
The gay community feels like they should get things because they are gay or else they will call you names (like homo-phobic) and/or take away their funding or support. Catholic people feel like they should be left to decide what they do with the people they employ. Young people feel like they should have “the right” to have sex with as many people as they want as long as they have protection. What Really?
The question now becomes at what point do we draw the line? If the government is to act as “parent” (used in this definition, meaning: “the material or source from which something is derived”) to the country how can you do that if you are trying to “please” the children?
Any parent knows children are going to demand things and the more you give in the more spoiled they become; as time goes on the demands get larger and more frequent. A great parent gives guidance acting as a moral compass. They do not allow the children to run the household, for they are not qualified.
In the end, the price we pay for people pleasing is the loss of respect and thus a weaker government.
To apply Mr. Miyagi’s theory here…It is easy to respect someone even if you do not agree with their point of view but not if they are just telling you what they think you want to hear. A great leader (as apposed to just a good one) can address the need for guidance to regulate the sense of entitlement rather than just giving in, and temporarily satisfying the temper tantrums.
I leave you with this quote from my dear grandmother, she said, “If you find your self saying there is no right or wrong to life’s major problems…watch out, you have just developed a sense of entitlement. Not only will you not be apart of the solution but even worst…you have become the problem.”