My parents keep telling me that it is incumbent upon my generation and the generation after me to fix all of the various economic and political problems that their generation and the generation before theirs have created over the past 50 years. Every time they bring that up, I have to admit to giggling uncontrollably and pointing out just how ludicrous that hope is.
Why? Because I know what my generation and the next are like:
Duane Brooks Jr. defrauded a government – I am not entirely sure if the money for his rent came from the county, state, or federal coffers, but the point is that he took money given to him by one of those entities for the express purpose of paying his rent, and turned around and used it for something else. Fine – that is one thing, and not really my concern given how blatant his actions were.
What really caught my attention in that video was how incapable he was of tracking a logical conversation. He did not comprehend where the money came from. He did not comprehend that it was given to him for a specific purpose. He did not comprehend that his use of it for something else was wrong. And his sole explanation for why he did the things he did was, "I’m me. It’s just how I roll."
Oh. My. God. Here we are, with a prime example of a product of the American educational system (a product we, the taxpayers, are apparently paying somewhere around $22,000 a year to create), and the … individual (I can hardly call him a "man", can I?) cannot even comprehend the nature of a "contract"? Judge Judy is exactly correct – this is what we are creating, and this is why I have absolutely no faith for the future of my country.
A variation of a relatively unsourced (but generally attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler) quote once went,
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.
…but since we all know America is not a democracy, that does not hold entirely true for our current situation. Instead, you have to find the middle ground between that and this famous quote that may or may not be from Alexis de Toqueville:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
Remember, Duane up there votes – he is 21, and was eligible to cast a ballot in the last national elections, and possibly even the one before that. And who do you think he voted for – someone who promised to give people like Duane more money "for free", or someone who promised to work towards balancing our budget by cutting back on programs?
… And how much more of a stupid question could I ask?
Judge Judy, much though I despise her show, is right – we have created whole generations of people like Duane, and we are going to suffer miserably for it in the coming decades.
(And do not even get me started on the idiocy of his sugar momma being who-knows-how-many months behind on her rent, but wanting to take him to court for being behind on his…)