Last night, I was watching the FoxNews channel and they were discussing the Hispanic community’s support of Hilliary Clinton. Several so-called leaders of the Hispanic Community, including California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, mentioned how much the Clintons have done for the Hispanic Community (though she was amazingly vague on the details of exactly what they have done). All of these people interviewed during this segment said that the Hispanic Community would remember how much the Clintons have done for them and come out to vote for Hillary.
This entire exchange bothered me because it highlights a troubling trend in American politics: The voter attitude of ‘What have you done for ME?’ or ‘What will you do for ME?’ if you want MY vote. And of course, it’s not just the voters to blame, the pandering politicians are equally at fault.
This selfish attitude especially hit home to me on the day we celebrate the life of civil rights equality advocate Martin Luther King. Dr, King did not seek for preferential treatment; he sought simply for Black Americans to be treated equally to White Americans:
The people on this FoxNews segment made it clear that having their interest group be treated equally and given the same opportunity as every other American was not sufficient. They wanted hand outs in exchange for their votes. This is a manifestation of the “Entitlement Mentality” (feeling entitled to government hand outs) conservatives have been concerned about for years.1
Polar opposite to the entitlement mentality is a famous quote from President John F. Kennedy:”Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
I agree with that sentiment, but there is little or no chance of hearing a similar sentiment from a presidential candidate today. It’s interesting to note though, that even JFK waited until after he had been elected to express this concept as the aforementioned quote was from his inaugural address.
1. I found this good definition of entitlement mentality on Connor’s Conundrums blog:
“Due to continually creeping socialism and the ever-expanding welfare state, American citizens are now being raised with an entitlement mentality. Rather than being instilled with a desire to work hard and follow the law of the harvest, children are ingrained with the errant notion that they will be able to depend on government for their social well-being.”