Monday Rant: It’s All About Me | It Takes a Community

userpic=soapboxWhile reading my RSS feeds while eating my salad, one of the OCTA Headlines caught my eye. This article (actually, an opinion letter) was going on against the proposed toll lanes for I-405 in Orange County, and said:

The proposed I-405 toll lanes will only improve the drive times for those who pay to use them. The rest of us will see little improvement in traffic congestion or travel time for our massive investment. Tolls may make OCTA rich at taxpayer expense.
This was yet another example of something I’m seeing more and more, and as I chewed my salad, I fumed and thought: The “Me” generation has come back to bite us in the butt.
  • People are upset at toll lanes because they will “only improve the drive times for those who pay to use them” (translation: they won’t benefit me because I won’t pay). But these same folks refuse to let taxes increase to pay for more infrastructure.
  • People are upset at health insurance minimums and plan changes that will make them pay more because they will benefit someone else, not them (without understanding how insurance works, and that they can’t predict their medical needs in the future).
  • People are upset when some other state gets more, or some other community gets more, and it doesn’t go to them.

We used to view our Nation as a community, helping each other build a better life. Living in California, I had no problem helping the southern states because a stronger nation benefited, and I knew they would be there when I needed them. Sharing the risks reduced the exposure for all. This is the idea behind FEMA: I’ll pay for the hurricanes in the South, they pay for the Earthquakes out here.

We used to view our State as a community: the hinterlands would help the cities, and the cities would provide support to the hinterlands. We were all in this together.

Today, where has that attitude gone? People are only out for what they can get. Religious institutions are viewed as a balance sheet: do I get out in services more than I pay in. Same thing with government: we’re mad at taxes if we don’t get that much value in return. We forget that the view is a National view: over the average all benefit, but some will win, and some will lose, and the winners and losers will change over time. We also work, through our financial contributions, to make our National society strong: healthier, smarter, successful. Again: this is on the average.

But people don’t see that. They don’t see the average. It’s all me, me, me.