Enabling the Entitled

My adult driving record appears to be a sterling example of an upstanding citizen.  It doesn’t reflect the dozen or so times of being pulled over for: struggling to drive the recommended speed; periodic taillight outages; occasionally sliding through a stop sign, etc.  Over the years, there have been an assorted group of law enforcement officers pulling me over to chit-chat for a while, yet something occurs between exiting their vehicle, with pen and pad in hand and leaving our friendly one-on-ones without writing me up for a well-deserved ticket.  One kindly officer even tried to offer me a number of excuses for my taillight being out:

“This isn’t your car?” The officer asked.

“No, it’s my car.”  I responded.

“You didn’t know the light was out.”  The officer stated.

“No, I knew it was out.”  I said.

“It just went out.”  The officer offered.

“No, it’s been out for quite some time.” I said.

When another call came through on his radio, the look of both relief and exasperation was really quite touching.

Another officer pulled me over for sliding through a 3-way stop close to my home.  There was such a dogged look of determination on this fellow’s face as he marched up to my car.

“Ma’am, you did not completely stop back there.”  The officer said, clearly preparing to write up my infraction.

“Thank-you for bring it to my attention, officer.  It’s very easy to get sloppy in my driving habits, especially this close to home.”  I sincerely responded.

Suddenly stricken with inner-conflict, this man’s face contorted and changed color, until ultimately deciding against writing me up.

So, why do some people pay consequences for their actions and others are allowed to drive away?  There are just some people granted entitlement.

Others earn entitlement, but carry it with humility.  My father was such a man.  People put him on a pedestal for surviving 25 missions as a WWII, B-17 pilot.  He was a man of faith, who gave God the credit for his survival.

The decidedly largest and most vocal entitlement candidates are those dubbing themselves such because of: fame, inherited wealth, acquired wealth, education, expertise or maybe just because their ancestors came over on the Mayflower.  These poor souls get extremely agitated and at times angry when not properly revered.

Within this group of artificially entitled are those believing sexual favors are part of the package.  Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura spoke about this during an interview years ago.  He felt, as a Navy SEAL himself, that women should sexually service SEALS, after all, these courageous men put their lives at risk for our country, which entitles them to, well sex on demand.  Poetic patriotism.  It would never occur to this group that the sexual attention would be seen as undesirable, unwanted or nonconsensual.  Any woman should be flattered by being selected for this special attention.

The gauntlet recently fell on this distorted viewpoint and we’ve watched powerful, seemingly entitled men such as Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, R&B music star R. Kelly and Mr. Jell-O Pudding Pop, Bill Cosby pay serious consequences for taking unwanted sexual favors.  But just when it seems some headway has been made on treating women with respect, the National Football League (NFL) enters the picture with the mute button stuck on a rather curious delayed enforcement of its code of conduct policy.

Gifted quarterback Deshaun Watson has been in the news as his trade to the Cleveland Browns   from the Houston Texans, sparked anger, admiration, confusion and for some women, searing pain followed by a sense of utter hopelessness.  Over twenty women have accused Watson of various sexual misconduct acts during his many massage therapy sessions.  He won’t be facing criminal charges, but civil suits are still pending.  The Browns organization feel that they properly vetted him before signing him to a record breaking $230 million guaranteed contract.  Watson stated that although he can’t discuss the case, he has never assaulted or disrespected women, it isn’t who he is and counseling is unnecessary, because he hasn’t done anything wrong, has no regrets and is going to work towards clearing his name.  The Browns clearly stated a number of times that their focus is on “Deshaun the person” and they believe in him.  His brand will be to get involved in helping the community.

Yet, there is a moral responsibility for those willing to enable the entitled.  For example, the first time I was pulled over at age 18 by a Wisconsin State Trooper on my way back to a graveyard shift job in Minnesota, a twelve-pack of beer was clearly visible on the passenger seat with a few  empties on the floor.  He looked me in the eyes, smiled and waved me on, saying:

“Take it easy to the border.”

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