Regression – n. – a return to a former or less-developed state.
American adults are regressing. We are going backwards in behavior and accountability. We now proudly display the behavior we scold and punish our children for. We lie, obfuscate, deflect and conflate on a near-constant basis. Why? To win, of course. We want to win at work, at home, in sports and on Words with Friends. We practice a relative morality. Our principles are on a sliding scale.
Those who are members of our tribe can lie, cheat and steal all they want, but those on the other side – whatever the other side may be, cannot. We don’t want equality or fairness. We want the perceived privilege the other side enjoys. We want the rules to benefit our players and for the officials to always make the call in our favor.
Whataboutism is the flavor of the month. It’s the universal fail-safe for being caught red-handed because no matter what you’ve done, there’s always someone else who’s done worse. Furthermore, we want to know why people aren’t more outraged by the greater wrongdoing of the next person instead of ours. We actually get offended by this.
Admittedly, “adulting” is hard. We have to go to work, pay bills, take care of the kids, follow the rules, obey the laws, rinse, repeat. Our parents didn’t necessarily make being a responsible adult look easy, or even desirable, but their expectations of us were clear. The best path to success meant taking a trip down responsibility street. There were no two ways about it.
Fast forward to 2019 and nice guys are finishing last again. Not only are they finishing last, people are pointing and laughing at them for being nice and respectable. In fact, “respectability” has become a pejorative term. Liars, cheaters, swindlers, bullies, charlatans and veritable snakes in the grass are living their best lives seemingly without consequence.
They’re winning trophies, getting paid more money and seeing their dreams come true. Why should you continue to practice and teach your kids about sportsmanship, civility, fair play, integrity and responsibility? Because self-respect is the most important kind of respect. Can you look at yourself in the mirror after all is said and done? Can you stand for your kids to look at you? Do they even want to?
Just as important is the fact that you and your kids won’t get away with what the high-profile celebrities, athletes, politicians and businesspeople get away with. You will lose your job, your home and your freedom. Your kids will get kicked out of school and off the team. No one will defend you on social media. They’ll click the laughing face emoji and move on.
Your best life is the lie built with those who love and care about you. It’s not about what you can get away with, but who you can make a way for. Shut out the noise and make today better than yesterday for yourself and others. Move forward. Progress.