When I hear responsibility, my mind immediately reverts back to a childhood lecture. “Take some responsibility” was one of my mother’s favorite things to yell out when she was frustrated with me. There were some others too-Don’t give me that look; Be nice to your brother; & Stop using my Estee Lauder foundation! -to name a few.
I think that most Americans are actually really good at accepting responsibility with the exception being celebrities and public figures. One notable exception is President Obama who in his recent State of the Union took responsibility for some of his policy initiatives not passing. I only hoped that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner (phonetically pronounced “Boner”) would have done the same and taken responsibility for falling asleep in his tanning bed. It could just be his natural tan, I know Ohio gets a lot of sun this time of year.
And of course the most current example of a public figure’s lack of personal responsibility is John Edwards, the former Senator from North Carolina and U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate. I, like most of us, have been completely dumbfounded by John Edward’s refusal to take responsibility for his actions. I have to admit that even before the news of the affair broke, I always had mixed feelings about John Edwards. I always liked his middle-class, son-of-a-millworker rhetoric, but I always had the feeling that this guy might be trying to sell the last Corolla on the lot. I’m not claiming that I had any idea that he would cheat on his terminally ill wife, as I’d hoped that all ended with Newt Gingrich. But something about him seemed too perfect. He had a Howdy Doody optimism, a smooth, polished, articulate speaking voice and hair that never moved.
Not surprisingly the hair is what me made suspicious, especially when it was revealed that he spent $400 per haircut. Now, as a gay man in a major metropolitan area, I understand spending a sizeable chuck on haircut. To be honest, I don’t even mind him spending $400 on a haircut. The absurdity was him spending $400 on that haircut! If you are going to drop that kind of money, you shouldn’t come out looking my driver’s education teacher. It’s like he walked into a salon and told his stylist that he wanted his hair to look like a cross between John Denver and Janet Reno.
In terms of avoiding responsibility, right after John Edwards was first accused of an affair, his prompt response was-NOT RESPONSIBLE. He then admits to the affair, because he really had no choice, then it’s revealed that he could be the father of his mistress’ baby. John’s immediate response, despite him knowing better,-NOT RESPONSIBLE. He is eventually forced to admit that the baby is his. On a side note, I can’t imagine the fights he’s going to get in with his daughters when she’s a teenager. It’s hard to tell a teenager “no” but it’s even harder when every time they ask you for something, they preface it with, “Since you denied you were my father to the national media, can I borrow the car?”
I am happy to know that in order to deal with all this personal turmoil, Mr. Edwards has retreated to Haiti to help build houses. Finally, something responsible! Now, if he could put aside his narcissism long enough to skip a few haircuts, I’m sure the people of Haiti could benefit from such a generous donation.
Photo Credit: alexdecarvalho