Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Accountability and Responsibility

Are we a "culture of non-accountability", a term I heard on NPR today? It seems that way: someone else is often to blame, we "can't help it" because of addiction or abuse or hard times. This concept of "Not me" is evident so strongly in the political realm of the forthcoming election. "Nobody" takes  even a slight share of responsibility for the mess the US is in. It's always someone else's fault.

In microcosm, the same thing is true in much smaller organizations than a nation, I've found. e.g. Boards of Directors of big companies (HP), Boards of Directors of small not for profit organizations, groups of neighbors, some families. We can't be responsible for others because we don't have control, but we can be responsible toward them; e.g. treat them with respect, ask if they'd like help, be supportive when possible. But we can take responsibility for ourselves and our actions, whether they're wrong or right. "I made a mistake. I'm sorry."

My thinking on this was catalyzed by David Brooks article, Sept. 24th. "The heart of any moral system is the connection between action and consequences." And later, "What the country is really looking for is a restoration of responsibility." I'm not against any party, any group, or any individual. I'm for all getting more accountable for our actions and their consequences.

What do you think, intelligent women?
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