Flipping through a magazine the other day, I stopped on this ad: A woman is surrounded by happy looking children, all eating from colorful paper plates. The tag line is what gets me: “I deserve a paper plate that is as strong as I am.”
Really? Do we think we deserve any kind of paper plate at all? How is this a question of merit? Where do you go to earn the Paper Plate Badge? And how do we end up with an attitude of entitlement about disposable serving pieces?
What else do we think we’re entitled to? The answer: lots of things. Clean grocery stores. Smooth roads to drive on. Cheap gas. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
But… wait… I have to PURSUE it?
What’s that little P word doing in there? Who said anything about pursuing happiness? Don’t we just get to have it doled out to us along with social security, strip malls, and zero-down-payment mortgages?
The pursuit of happiness is something I can consider an inalienable right, but not happiness itself. Not material success, a fat paycheck, great health insurance, great car, great spouse, great kids, great vacations… Not a paper plate as strong as I am.
I am “entitled” to life: no one should take my life by force or violence.
I am “entitled” to liberty: no one should keep me from following the dictates of my conscience so long as they do not infringe upon the life and liberty of another.
And I am “entitled” to use my life and liberty to pursue happiness, however I define that elusive goal. [And as long as my pursuit does not infringe upon someone else's rights.]
And really, people, that’s it. We’re not entitled to anything else our Western culture proffers so freely. We may be used to it. We may not want to live without it. But we don’t get it because it’s a right.
We can be thankful and enjoy abundance without being victims, and then, if we lose something, we can let it go without whining.
Here’s to a whine-free America!