The Politically Incorrect Mom


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Accountability is not a bad word

I often comment on how appalled I am at the general disrespect for authority and the disregard for common courtesy and professionalism that has made its way into our society. Public officials and celebrities, it seems, have taken to using their positions to disrespect anyone and anything they disagree with, without so much as a slap on the wrist for their blatantly inappropriate behavior.

I’ve ranted on occasion about what treason really is and why we as a nation should take a more serious look at what is being said and done in the public eye as opposed to accepting things in the name of free speech and patriotic dissent. I, for one, am sick and tired of the acceptance of these behaviors, but it wasn’t until very recently that I realized just how far down these behaviors have trickled and become a part of our “business as usual”.

I work in healthcare management and having grown up in an economically depressed area, I learned very early that when jobs are not a dime a dozen, you don’t have the option of telling your boss where to go if you don’t like a decision he or she makes. As a responsible adult, sometimes we must bite our tongue when the “spirit moves us” to exhibit dissent on the job. In short, you don’t have to like your boss, but you do, on occasion, have to fake it. If you plan to get anywhere in life, you have to learn to recognize when it’s o.k. to disagree with the powers that be and when it’s better to keep your mouth shut.

Now, don’t assume that we’re talking about ethical dilemmas here. I certainly wouldn’t encourage anyone to cross an ethical line just because they’re not at the top of the food chain at work. Personal convictions play a big part in when it’s time to speak up and when it’s time to shut up. What I’m talking about is those moments when your boss makes a decision that you believe is a poor choice. There are a number of ways to be heard, but shouting down the boss at a meeting isn’t a good place to start. Likewise, lambasting the President about current events in the middle of a funeral is a fairly poor choice. Not only do you look like an idiot, but it shows how far we’ve sunk as a society in what we will accept as appropriate behavior. The very fact that someone would consider using that moment as a platform to fan the flames of dissent in this country blows my mind. There was a day when common sense would have dictated that to be the wrong place – the wrong time.

Is this a moral issue? An ethical issue? Is there a difference between the two? And where/when did this start? I’m sure I don’t know the answers, but I do think it’s worth noting that if you challenge Cindy Sheehan on why she is hell-bent on creating such an uproar, she would tell you that her ultimate goal is “peace”. The same goes for Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Harry Reid and the rest. They want peace and they’re willing to stomp on anyone, violate anything, lie, deceive, create discourse, unrest and foster treason-like ideals to get it. At the end of the day, does the end really justify the means? Of course not. It’s like trying to get a baby to stop wailing by wailing yourself. It fosters an environment of inappropriate behavior that will be mimicked by every bozo who thinks they know it all. Why? Because what is missing from this equation is accountability.

A couple of days ago, I had an encounter with an employee that reminded me of just how wide-spread this attitude really is. Most of the people I’ve managed over the years would agree that I’ll always allow someone to disagree with a decision I’ve made without taking it personally. I like to think I am always open to constructive criticism and on more than one occasion, I have found that someone else may have a better way of approaching an issue than I did. On the flip side of that, I think most of my subordinates would also tell you that there is a right and a wrong way to approach me. In this most recent encounter, the employee made a poor choice in her approach.

This gal, who is very good at what she does within our facility, disagreed with a policy I wrote in an effort to create a more cohesive work environment. The problem (for her) was that adhering to this policy meant that she had to submit herself, in certain circumstances, to a co-worker whom she dislikes. Since this was not a legitimate reason to discard the policy, I couldn’t agree with or accommodate her opposition.

Now, if I were in this situation, I would consider my options. The first would be to accept this change and go about my business, do my job to the best of my ability and choose to be a team player, because after all, this policy was written to help the team as a whole – I am just one small part of a bigger picture. The second choice, of course, would be to find employment where I could do what I want – when I want – without having to answer to someone I don’t care for. As a reasonably intelligent adult, it makes perfect sense to me that when we work for someone other than ourselves, we sometimes have to comply with policy and procedure we don’t like. It’s a part of life. This isn’t a new concept. However, the attitude at large, which is fostered by celebrities and people in positions of authority all over this country, dictates that a person who disagrees with someone else has the right to make a complete ass of themselves and call it freedom of speech. After all, if you’re right…you’re right! Right?


Unfortunately for this employee, she chose option number three; throw a temper tantrum and storm out of the facility. What is truly unfortunate, at least for her, is that in my world, accountability plays a big part in this equation and when Monday morning rolls around, it will not be business as usual in the office.

After spending the weekend thinking about what comes next for this employee, I am reminded that the only way to get a handle on the people who cultivate this attitude is to hold them accountable for their actions. I’ve encountered a few people throughout my career who have had to have their feet held to the fire on issues such as attitude and appropriate behavior at work and most people would agree that this is necessary if we want to maintain order. Why then have we allowed the people who literally shape this nation and the atmosphere we live in to act like spoiled children without holding them accountable for their actions?

We live in a nation that sets the stage for the rest of the world. If we want to continue to move forward as the greatest nation on earth, we have some accountability issues to deal with. I would argue that the blogosphere, having become a force to be reckoned with, needs to step up to the plate and demand accountability every time one of these schmucks steps out of line and becomes an embarrassment to the rest of the country. Not by writing about it – by writing TO it. We need to start holding some of these officials and celebrities feet to the fire when they cross the line and act out in an inappropriate, unprofessional and disrespectful manner. There needs to be some senator’s offices that are inundated with letters demanding an apology for things that are being fed to the media. The mailboxes of the editors of every major newspaper in the country should be overflowing with demands for retractions and/or apologies when someone uses an inappropriate venue (like a funeral!) to voice their disrespect. Some of these celebrities need to feel it where it truly hurts (in the wallet) when they become an embarrassment to the citizens of this nation. I haven’t bought another Dixie Chicks CD since Natalie Maine revealed that she is a traitor and even though most of the people I’ve heard from have been appalled by her actions, it doesn’t look like they’ve suffered at all for their inappropriate behavior.

Before you accuse me of wanting to take away our right to free speech, let me just say that I believe we have the right to voice any opinion we have. What I do not believe is that we have the right to do it in any way we want, nor do I believe we have the right to do it at any time we want. Along with the freedoms we have – there are responsibilities that should go along with exercising our freedoms. We also have the right to bear arms. We do not have the right to unload a round of bullets in the middle of town, just because we have the right to own the gun. It’s reasonable to expect people to be responsible with their freedom of speech in the same way we expect them to be responsible with their freedom to own a gun and that responsibility increases dramatically as a person’s public position increases. Not unlike being on the job, where there are a lot of opinions you might voice at home or in the company of friends that you wouldn’t say at work because it wouldn’t be appropriate.

It all boils down to human decency, respect and common courtesy. These things are in very short supply and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t put accountability back into the equation. I’ve come to realize that I don’t have a right to complain about matters such as these if I don’t have a plan of action that is at least an attempt to make things better. So, you should notice from time to time that I’ll post the name and address of someone who has stepped over the line of what we, as citizens of the greatest nation on earth, should not accept as behavior befitting someone who represents us. I hope you’ll join me in speaking less ABOUT this issue and start speaking TO it by demanding they hold themselves to the same standards the rest of us have to hold ourselves to in order to keep our jobs.


  • At 10:24 AM, February 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ironically, I used to be a business manager in you home area. I worked between Hershey and Lebanon.

    Accountability is something I feel very strongly about. It permiates every level of our society. If a person is accountable for their actions, and has been for some time (I'd say over a year or more where they focus on living their lives this way) then, they tend to be succesful and normally, gracious people.

    I am not a parent, and choose not to be, but will say: The vast majority of parents and then their children do not consider being accountable for their actions. I think you have pointed to the central issue that contributes to the declining of our way of life.

    The only thing people fear at this point is direct reprisal for their actions. ie - I do something wrong that results in a major responce (A drive too fast and wreck my car). Think about that, it was difficult to type. I keep wanting to qualify every little situation that could have been. If they were driving fast and were caught by the police, the consequences are different depending on speed; most people fear death, not a fine.

    Ugh. Sorry this isn't as coherent as I would like. Perhaps I'll post something more detailed in my blog. Shouldn't be using your space, hence I'll remain annon for now.

    Summary? I agree. Accountability is the root of a structured society. It is lacking in many people today. If I had to listen to one more person who failed a drug test (Lab certified to be 99.9% accurate with the level of the toxins present...) say that "The test must be wrong, I've never touched [heroin, prescription drugs, coke, pot, whatever]"... Admit what you did, seek counseling and I don't need to fire you. Be ACCOUNTABLE for your actions and take responsibility (another big issue for me) for your actions, and you might just keep your job/life/family. Ugh. Sorry to rant. Need sleep.

    Thanks or listening and I hope this makes some sense. Need to learn to type off line and edit first...


Post a Comment

<< Home


Web Counter
Hit Counter
Since August 1, 2005

And one last teeny tiny detail...
This web site and all contents are the property of The Politically Incorrect Mom.
Use of contents without permission is strictly forbidden.
Please contact The Empress of this page for permissions.
Copyright 2005