Whining Nation

written April 24, 1998

I believe I live in a nation of whiners. No new idea there. For ages, we have whined. In fact, that is one of our basic rights, the freedom of expression, including whines. We have a long history of whining, dating back to the earliest days of our history. Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and George Washington are among the most prominent whiners of that age. These were whiners that got things done, though. Their whining had a profound impact on history, an impact that most of us (except perhaps Native Americans and Iraqis) thing was positive.

Overall, the whining of today is much less positive. The impact is still tremendous, but the results are tragic. We have become a nation that denies responsibility and avoids commitment. We have become victims of each other. Now, there is a proliferation of obvious signs that tell us already known information, such as: "Warning - coffee may be hot," or "Do not attempt to ride this bicycle without reading and understanding the instruction manual first." What kind of moron needs to be told that?

Obviously, someone did. Large companies are forced to protect themselves with these labels out of fear for the dreaded law-suit. Suing is another right we have in this country. It is a legalized means for bringing up grievances against other individuals or organizations, even our own government and leaders (just ask Paula Jones). It has its legitimate uses and can be a positive thing. When used in excess or in extreme cases, a law-suit can border on the ridiculous.

In recent years, we have heard of burglars suing for tripping and getting hurt in the home they were robbing. We have heard of children suing parents. We have heard amazing stories that, when taken outside the context of the current political climate, would cause laughter and mirth. Yet we can only shake our heads at the onslaught of cases clogging up our legal system, then turn around and sue at the first provocation.

I was recently involved in an accident concerning my car and a bicyclist. Both of us were ticketed and I was willing to let the matter drop. This SOB has decided to sue me. *Sigh* What is a nice guy like me to do? I shall not give details because the case is not even close to being decided, but what I cannot understand is why he will not just take responsibility for any actions he might have done wrong and I would do the same for anything I might have done wrong? Seems easy enough to me. But I live in a dream world where people actually care for each other. He (the unnamed bicyclist) is greedy and wishes his greed to be satisfied, satiated. I can do little but fight back if I want to stand up for my rights.

See my car here.

Is greed the source of this negative whining to which I have made reference? I believe so. Negative whining is a desire for attention or gratification or whatever (anything seen as being beneficial to the whiner) without making any kind of personal effort (aside from the whining) to achieve the desired affect. It is a touch of laziness, greed and lack of concern for the welfare of others. Such an ugly thing.

I could go on, but then I might indulge in character bashing, which is just as bad. I don't care to become a hypocrite today.

© Matthew Rutherford 1998

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