Let’s get back to fundamentals

To the editor:

I watched Steubenville’s Monday night townhall gathering with piqued interest. The panelists, in their own way, contributed impassioned insight into what is becoming a cultural epidemic – drug abuse.

Toward the end, I noticed the audience becoming increasingly frustrated with the responses to the pleas about what can be done to get a handle on this public scourge.

Inherent in the audience’s reaction is the assumption that it is the responsibility of the authorities represented to solve our problems, regardless of what they are. And in that assumption lies an even bigger problem – our national abdication of personal responsibility.

Culturally, we have psychologically and somewhat spiritually shifted responsibility for our own well-being to government agencies and services. In a sense, we have bought into (drunk the Kool-aid) of the liberal (progressive?) mind-set that believes compassion means it is the government’s responsibility to take care of us.

Since the 1960s, we have had one cultural revolution after another – the sexual revolution, the women’s liberation revolution, the college campus anti-war uprisings, the migrant farm worker revolution and the devolution of working class America by free traders. A lot of what culturally moored us as a nation for the first 200 years has been stood on its head by well-intentioned groups of people and thought, but the cumulative result is a nation unhinged and in cultural free-fall.

Our politicians talk about jobs, jobs, jobs, but what they should be emphasizing is work, work, work. It was revealing when one of the questioners challenged the panelists to come up with a solution to give the kids something to do, as opposed to hanging out at the mall. Hello – it is not the government’s responsibility to implement programs for kids so that they are too busy to get into trouble. It is the responsibility of the parents.

And yet it comes full circle. It is difficult to blame the parents when they may be hauled into court for disciplining their child (I’m not talking about child abuse), but establishing parental authority by force if necessary. When that young mother in Baltimore publicly slapped her 14-year-old on his head when she discovered him participating in a riot and told him to get home, she showed a nation how a responsible single parent established discipline ad authority over her child because she was motivated by a motherly instinct of preservation based on love.

Too many of our children today have the mistaken belief they are untouchable at home and school.

Steubenville City Manager Jim Mavromatis was right – we need to bring discipline back into our schools and, even more importantly, the home.

We need to teach our children the value of work, as opposed to the hanging-out mentality, by making them work, which is the lynchpin to responsibility. Until we get back to these two basic fundamentals for human achievement, we will continue to free-fall in a world of fallen ideas.

Blaise Hogan