Measuring your responsiblity…REALLY???

measuring our responsiblity

by Kenneth Justice

~Part of growing up is learning to be responsible, right? Isn’t that what we tell children;

You need to take on more responsibility so your father and I want you to get a part time job…after all you are 36 years old now” 😉

Being responsible comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Whether we are talking about being responsible in our vocation, with our children, toward our significant other or fill-in-the-blank. Its interesting though that responsibility often is connected to our relationships with others;

—) Being responsible in our vocation affects our co-workers

—) Being responsible in a relationship affects our significant other

—) Being responsible as a parent  affects our children

When we fail in our responsibilities in those types of areas we can end up causing tremendous havoc in the lives of those around us….but how far are we supposed to take our responsibilities in connection with the larger world?

This past week I wrote about the ongoing problem of child slavery in  the Ivory Coast. It has been an issue that I’ve been following for nearly 20 years. Readers mentioned other major problems around the world such as the Somalian Refugees, poverty in third world countries and similar instances of massive injustice….

Whenever I think about these major problems I often wonder; what is my responsibility to these fellow humans?

I mean lets be serious, I by myself can’t solve the problems of child slavery, malnutrition, AIDS, and other such social ills that plague various parts of the world. Hell, if through the efforts of my entire life I was able to solve even one of these social problems it would be pretty amazing.

So what then is our responsibility to the people around the globe who are spending every day of their life bound in the chains of their torment?

—) Should we merely shrug off the issue of child slavery in the Ivory Coast and say, “Its too far away and there’s nothing we can do about it”?

—) Should we toss aside the AIDS epidemic in Africa and say, “Its too big a problem and there’s nothing we can do about it”?

—) Should we ignore the massive level of malnutrition in countries such as India where there appears to be no immediate hope of solving the problem?

What is our responsibility to our humans around the globe? I’ve asked this question to myself more than a million times throughout my life. I am a self-admitted NEWS junkie and since I’m not very interested in celebrity NEWS, I often find myself reading BBC Africa, The Guardian Europe, The Times of India and other global NEWS sites……

If we don’t have any responsibility to people around the globe…than perhaps I should stop reading global NEWS. Perhaps I am merely wasting too much of my emotional energy learning about the issues that are affecting people on the other side of the world. Perhaps my interest is futile because there is nothing I can do to change anything…..

I’ve often said that dialogue is important. Whether we realize it or not the conversations we have via blogging, the Internet, at coffee shops and other social venues….all contribute to the global conversation that occurs around the world. The more people who talk about an issue; the more the issue becomes a topic that government leaders have to take notice of and then…hopefully take action.

For many years the average person had little to no say with regard to the topics that should be discussed in the larger public discourse. If you didn’t work at a newspaper or television station then your only chance of being heard on a larger scale was to write a letter to the editor or letter to your local politician…and it was hit-or-miss if your letter would even be read.

The Internet has changed the playing field. Blogging, social media sites, and other forms of Internet media have allowed the average person the ability to contribute to the larger public discourse.

Of course, as with other avenues of our life, in the blogging world comes responsibility; bloggers should take serious their responsibility in writing and fact-check what they write. Bloggers should stay away from libel, slander, and any other forms of maliciousness.

The Internet has changed the playing field. It has finally given you and I a voice in the larger public discourse. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we are going to be able to change the world over night. It doesn’t mean that a simple article we write about AIDS in Africa will solve the epidemic by Friday. But it does mean that we can at least begin talking about the problem on a larger scale.

Last week President Obama took a swipe against bloggers, as though bloggers should be treated as second-class citizens compared to Newspaper Journalists or Television Journalists. Sadly, I must disagree with the President’s views of the blogging world because;

—) when I clicked on the NBC Nightly News last night I was greeted by a deluge of Kim Kardashian Images

—) when I clicked on Huffington Post this morning the top story was an article about how bad Brittney Spears voice sounds

—) when I clicked on my two local newspapers this morning the top stories on both sites all had to do with local sports

I’m sorry…..but if President Obama wants to bash the blogging the world then he needs to wake up and see what the (sic) “real” NEWS is reporting on these days…..

Perhaps as President of the United States we should tack on a new responsibility to the job; read a few blogs each morning Mr. President….maybe you’ll actually hear what the people are really talking about.

for now its time for another coffee,









Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

29 replies

  1. The only true responsibility is to respond to who you really are.

    To respond to the real inner call and to pursue it. PRAGMATICALLY!

    • Pragmatism can be both negative or positive….depends on the context 🙂

    • Well, I usually keep things short, hoping that what´s purposely left unsaid,
      is somehow inherent in the written word.

      “Who you really are”, entails that you have a broad inkling as to what Love is.

      Love and do what you please, said St. Augustine.

      Thereof respond pragmatically to what you love 😉

  2. Hi Kenneth – firstly, let me thank you for what is, as ever, an extemely thought provoking post.
    People in the ‘first’ world who think they have a responsiblity to people in the ‘third’ world always worry me a bit.
    Back in the 19th Century, missionaries from the UK, the USA and Europe decended on Africa and Asia to enlighten/help the people. Those missionaries thought they had a responsiblity to do so. It was both patronising and ill-informed to do what they often did, even though they did it with the best will in the world. Even with our advantages of global media information it is not always appropriate to rush in where angels fear to tread.
    My view about responsibility is: ‘Think global, act local’. Do what you have to do in your own neck of the woods, and if and when everyone does the same, then you can start moving outwards….if others want you to do so, and not before.

  3. We can only do as much, but just one tiny step makes a good difference already. Nice one!

  4. Quite a meaty post today. Admittedly, I get overwhelmed when trying to solve world problems. I was doing a bit of research on slavery after reading your last article and was stunned to see how many countries still have slavery issues. I think the best course is to support those activities that you feel compelled to support. If everyone did this, a good many of the problems have a chance of improving…or at least a good many people will feel better about themselves because they honestly tried to make this a better world.

    Though I have been bitter and disappointed with our current leadership, I had to admit that the US, despite all its outpoints is still way ahead of the world in terms of human rights. It made me appreciate our own rise above slavery and for those who think the white man owes us a living…look around the world at other countries…You’re already in Paradise.

    Agreed that what constitutes as news in the US is disgusting. Its lack of relevant information is what led me to blogging in the first place. Reading about the daily trash of the rich and famous was literally making me sick to my stomach. Blogging was the remedy…I found out there were still intelligent people…with minds who were not afraid to share their opinions.

    While the REAL news continues to dull our thought process, and I remember a time when talking about a star’s voice being bad would never have even made it on the news, Bloggers and such all around the world are waking us up. Reminding us that it is we…out here…as individuals who will create the change.

    We have suddenly become very DANGEROUS! We are no longer the pliable puppets who are more interested in fame and fortune than the world around them. We are the ones who actually read behind the lines and tell the world what is really going on. For example, I hadn’t heard about the Prez dissing the bloggers and found the references pretty quickly. In addition to tracking down the comment, I found out a little bit more about the President pushing the Farm Bill…which when broken down is quite a bit more than that.

    No matter which viewpoint you hold to be true…I salute you…You bloggers of the world! This is a reminder to please blog responsibly and all you readers out there…be your own fact checker. If what you’ve read doesn’t have sources yo can immediately verify…do your own fact checking.

    • Lots of good points u make……I’m generally cautious when it comes to entering the fray of politics and I don’t like to flippantly criticize presidents no matter what political party they adhere to….but I feel that president Obama was too casual in the attack he made against bloggers last week….he should re-clarify his statements or at least make an addendum to his statements

  5. There was a program on tv last night about the sexual slavery problem in CHICAGO. If you want to work in that area you might want to start where you live. Our city has so many problems that you don’t need to go out of town or out of the country to help others. Good luck.

    • I didn’t see the show you’re referring to but i did watch a documentary a while back on sex slave that are brought to America and forced into prostitution. There was a bust this past year that involved some sex-ring that extended from Florida to Detroit…….it’s all very troubling

    • It is. But apparently we have a Sex Slave problem in our city. Makes me sick. We need to begin where we live. I can assure you no one from any other country is going to come here to help us, so we have to fix our own problems before we can address those of other countries, especially when they are the same problems. At least that’s the way it seems to me. As I said…I think the program was on PBS but I’m not positive.

  6. I like your post a very well written follow up. And as much as we like to take responsibilities for others and willing to solve them. we are locked in a problem ourselves what needs our direct attention.
    There is a saying about love yourself before you can love another. Isn’t it more like be i health before you can help another. Responsibility starts at your own doorstep and spreads. And soon as a city knows it they spread to a state till a country is ready and able to take responsibly to help others. We can only show and tell how it should be. But what do we have to show for. Indifference and egocentric people.
    But we do what we can to help people take responsibility.

  7. I don’t particularly share your view of bloggers in general. I read a handful I’ve gleaned, and they’re pretty good, but so is the handful of news outlets I read.

    • Well I read between 40 to 50 NEWS sites daily (ny times, WSJ, Washington post, huff post, 10 different bbc news, the guardian, just to name a few) and the overwhelming trend of NEWS today is moving towards triviality…..

      Blogging was not originally a NEWS oriented medium was it? Wasn’t it originally just a sort of public journaling?

      But since triviality based news is becoming so main stream and such a central component of the major news sites…bloggers have begun picking up the slack.

      Bloggers like Andrew Sullivan are doing a hell of job in reporting and discussing the things that matter most ….and Sullivan recently celebrated his 10 year anniversary and is a regular commentator on CNN and other major News sites


    • When I started out blogging about 10 years ago, yes, it WAS indeed public journaling. In fact, the name of the site I started at is still called “LiveJournal”. I vaguely remember some years of news commentary, but don’t remember when they started becoming more of a news source unto themselves.

  8. I think you make a lot of good points here. Just as there are bloggers of different types, the same could be said about journalists, newspapers and news programmes. There are certain newspapers here in the UK that I just wouldn’t look at if I wanted in depth coverage of the sort of international issues that you mentioned. Even within the so-called quality newspapers, there are often columnists who provide an opinionated slant on current issues that is no better (and sometimes a lot worse) that what well informed bloggers write.

  9. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Sources I happen to trust (but can’t remember by name right now) trust suggest that the objectivity of 20th-century journalism was an aberration, and that the history of journalism overall leans much more to the “yellow” and the muckraking than perhaps we would like to admit. News coverage (by radio) of the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial was said to be covered like a sports game.

    In other words… it’s been this way for a long time, and when it was not this way, it was only recently, for a relatively short period of time.

    No, what bothers me more is that since the rise and spread of the Internet, writers have gotten a bit sloppy in some places. I really do think I find more typos and grammatical errors in the newspapers now. Magazines overall I think are still holding to good grammar, syntax, and so on, but I have seen some newspaper examples that are pretty bad, even some that are obvious lazy copy and paste jobs from an online source (they forgot to strip out the URL links).

    • “Sources I happen to trust (but can’t remember by name right now) trust suggest that the objectivity of 20th-century journalism was an aberration, and that the history of journalism overall leans much more to the “yellow” and the muckraking than perhaps we would like to admit. News coverage (by radio) of the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial was said to be covered like a sports game”

      sort of like ‘history is written by the winners’

      the people who write the paper; write history the way ‘they’ see it….

      I guess one positive element of blogging is that readers can voice their opinion in the comment section if they believe an article is factually incorrect or too biased.

  10. My cousin felt a very real responsibility for the issue of child sex trade issues. I don’t know if she saw it on the news or if she read a blog but she just got all up and upset about it and (let me just premise this by saying that she is the wife of an associate pastor of a small church and therefore POOR!) threw a fundraiser. She recruited local businesses for donations, had a silent auction, got food donated, provided entertainment and invited an influential speaker who works in the field of helping sex workers find homes and get out of their horrible situation. There is plenty to do here in the USA! There are so many kids that need good homes. Here in my own valley there is a sad lack of foster care homes. It may be impossible for me to do more than talk about the Ivory Coast but I can donate my time, my money, my resources here in the good old USA. If the Ivory Coast is your gauntlet, maybe there is more to do. What foundations are working to deal with the issue? What private organizations can we help with our money or time or publication to bring attention to the issue or lobby for action?

  11. Wow! For me, this post is so timely. I’m in a class at school in which we read, watch, and talk about Palestine and the occupied territories. Daily, we are asked what we can do. I don’t know… Peace in the Middle East is a pipe dream, isn’t it? And then I think, why are we so intent on fixing every one else’s problems when we have enough here back home. I work with people who have developmental disabilities and their parents are overburdened and staff are overburdened and there might be things we can change about that with our local political officials. It’s something that can maybe improved but then I go back to thinking about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and I conclude that their problems are to heavy and too hard and I’m one person that isn’t about to “fix” a situation I have no place in. Should we leave it to others? Is it our job, as citizens of this world, to be aware of and express to others? By gosh, I am so intrigued by this post! Wish you all the best in your own endeavors to make a change for what is important to you. “Never doubt that a small group of citizens can change the world – indeed, it’s the only thing that has” – Margaret Mead

    • The Palestinian-Israeli conflict often leaves me shaking my head in sadness….there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight….and nobody has any idea as to what to even do.

  12. I believe you get far more real stuff from the blogs that you ever get from the corporate news entities that cowtow to the established elite . . .

    As to our personal responsibility:

    When I left the Christian religion I dropped all the dogma and only took one thing with me . . .

    I am responsible to leave everybody I come in contact with throughout my day with a blessing. Even if it’s a just a smile or a nod or opening a door for that old lady. . . simple stuff.

    And in the evening to save one blessing for myself. Instead of torturing my soul over my many sins, I may just take a hefty shot of Old Crow and go to bed all warm and fuzzy . . .

%d bloggers like this: