Entitlement is one of those things that can sneak up on people. I try very hard to make sure it doesn’t sneak up on me, but I suspect I have been compromised on more than one occasion. There are many different situations where Entitlement creeps into our lives, but the one I would like to touch on in this post is on the edge between Entitlement and prejudice.
Many years ago when my wife and I first moved to Ottawa, we attended an all candidates debate at a local venue. The three candidates running for local office were an Engineer, a lawyer and the incumbent, a local community leader. Each candidate was given a few moments to introduce themselves before the floor was opened to questions.
The Engineer and Lawyer gave some background about their educations, careers and platforms. The community leader opened with “My family has been in these here parts for over 150 years.” and the crowd cheered. I stood in the back confused thinking “Relevance?”
The first question posed to the candidates was a strange one that I though should result in an easy but similar answer. The question was “If you are elected, do you consider your position a full time job?”
The Engineer responded yes, the Lawyer responded that she would put her law practice on hold and represent the people full time in the local and regional government. The Incumbent responded “Hell no, I have a farm to run. Ain’t nothin like being on the other end of a rope with a 1200 pound cow.”
The crowd cheered and I was left standing with my mouth open. The first two candidates would work for me full time and the last was going to run his farm. I understand that the people want to be represented by like minded individuals, but this guy had no real plan to represent anyone.
The real issue that I wanted to highlight from the story is that some people feel that because they were born somewhere or that their family has a long history, they are Entitled to have a higher status in society. That is simply not true.
Each one of us is the product of our own actions and should be judged on those actions alone. Every time we start something new we have to earn the respect of our piers and although some things like experience and education may give us a head start, it is how we use those tools that effects the end result.