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Personal responsibility a lost art
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    For some reason, I'm getting the feeling that last week's column may have touched a nerve. Or fifty.
    But I just can't put my finger on why. Seriously.
    I nary said a negative word about the Humane Society, even saying that someone who finds a home for a furry little guy is providing a laudable service. As a matter of fact, that group is a fine example of the point I'm trying to make here.
    And I certainly don't condone any kind of animal abuse. Anyone who does that is a complete and utter loser.
    Regardless, I am now perceived as a dog-hating, animal-abuse loving, anarchist who hates teachers, government and Christmas.
    Look out Easter Bunny.
    Anyway, despite the week-long beating I took from all angles, someone did point out one thing I neglected to mention last week.
    Take the responsibility to spay and neuter your pets. It reduces the chance for unwanted strays, reduces the burden on the animal shelter and reduces county costs because it has to euthanize fewer animals. Remember, it's hip to snip.
    Aside from these facts and a far more important reason — it's your responsibility.
    But true personal responsibility is becoming a lost art in this country. People on all levels seem to have forgotten what it's like to take care of themselves, their loved ones and even their community. And this lack of responsibility permeates the entire governmental structure.
    Individuals can't manage by themselves, so they look to government to take care of them.
    Cities can't find ways to take care of their needs, so they look to the state to take care of them.
    States can't find ways to take care of their needs, so they look to the federal government to take care of them.
    The problem with this scenario? By consistently begging up the chain, the governmental power structure continues to become more and more centralized. Then they become bullies.
    Yo Montana. You want our federal highway dollars? Better lower that speed limit.
    Yo Bulloch. You want our state education dollars? Better come to the Golden Dome hat in hand.
    Yo local resident. You want a better park system? Better approve that sales tax initiative.
    Let's take a look at all the things the government provides.
    Roads and bridges, water and sewer, safety from bad people and "evil" corporations, community order, police and fire protection, military protection, medical care, parks and recreational spaces, colleges and public education, teachers and libraries, animal shelters and recycling and on and on and on.
    What the heck is left? Is this what we expect now from our government? To take care of virtually everything?
    Let's be honest. Are they really doing that good of a job?
    Potholes and collapsing bridges. Run down parks and neglected veterans. Even mercury in the water (not here in Statesboro, but in many locales). No Child Left Behind, 60 percent graduation rates and grade inflation. Long lines at the airport, the falling value of the dollar and international instability.
    We allow the government to strip search us at the airport, spy on domestic phone calls, torture prisoners and preemptively attack countries. We expect them to teach our kids, guard our families, protect our jobs, inspect our food and save us from the boogey man. They're doing no good at any of them.
    I thought America became America to throw off the shackles of a repressive government. But it has crept into every corner of our existence, right before our very eyes.
    Benjamin Franklin is attributed with the saying, "Those who sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither." This is the original statement of personal responsibility. Be it your dog, your kid, your job, or your community — it's time to stop looking to the government first for answers.
    They rarely have the right one.
    And that — my animal loving friends — was my point. Still is my point. People voluntarily coming together to solve problems that are close to their hearts will always trump the forced coercion of government intervention.
    Phil Boyum would like to know more about your charitable organization. If you have a group seeking to solve a problem and need attention, please call 912-489-9454.
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