I’m not sure when it happened. I guess it was probably around the time pampering parents started placing pointed fingers at professors for their children’s poor grades and convicts started pleading insanity to excuse their criminal activities. Somehow, somewhere between big government and little man lawyers, our culture turned onto a continuous road to perdition. In the here and now, unrelated people police one another out of sheer fear that they will be held responsible for your poor choices.
A few weeks ago I signed up for a triathlon. On my application, I requested an end swim lane, noting that I am pregnant and needed to use the ladder instead of pulling myself up and climbing out of the pool. I was met with a phone call asking for a doctor’s permission slip. “I signed a waiver. Aren’t I responsible for myself if something happens to me?” “You’re pregnant.”
I am. I confess. I am five and a half months pregnant. I am also a ten year veteran triathlete. I’ve been pregnant four times now. And, yes, I’ll even admit I am a bit of a risk taker. I don’t recommend triathlons to pregnant women who have not practiced a high level of fitness before pregnancy or have risks associated with childbearing. I do have a keen sense about what’s going on with myself physically, though, and I can assure anyone who doubts my dire concern for my unborn child (when did we stop calling unborn children “babies” by the way?) that if any issue before, during, or after this endeavor would arise, I would know well enough to stop and rest – or, if need be, quit altogether.
So, to the, “You’re pregnant.” comment, I simply replied, “I know. I’m pregnant, not dead. I don’t have a disease, but I bet others participating do. Are they being screened, too? Is everyone getting a wellness check requiring a permission slip or is it just me?”
I understand the issue. Really, I do. I’m not trying to be disrespectful or difficult, but when common sense goes out the window, I cannot stay silent. No one wants to get sued by a disgruntled pregnant lady who should have been on the couch instead of exercising for two hours. But the truth is, right or wrong, that’s her prerogative. The outcome is, last time I checked, still her responsibility. Not her doctor’s. Not her friend’s. And certainly not the triathlon police’s.
At what point in this country did it become my neighbor’s job to determine whether or not my dog should be tied outside? My kids are old enough to be left alone? My family can go on vacation for a week and be out of school? My firearm can be taken into the coffee shop? My state’s vintage flag can be flown in my yard? My child needs a vaccine? Since when is it your job to tell me what’s best for me and my family without knowing us and, in turn, make laws, rules, and stipulations forbidding our freedom to choose what we deem best for ourselves?
It’s all absurd if you ask me. Our culture is one where my 11 year old can get an IUD placed without my permission or knowledge but cannot stay home alone for fear of a neighbor calling Children and Youth Services. We have slid down a schizophrenic slope running on fear, tyranny, and selfish self-preservation. We used to have a country grounded in courage, freedom, and preserving the pursuit of happiness at all costs.
After some discussion on the matter, I was allowed to participate in the race. All is well is Loriland again. And I, uneventfully, finished.
Unfortunately, this policing our neighbors norm is the world we live in. It is a world where indecent people abdicate personal responsibility and leaders fear for their livelihood because of a corrupt legal system who encourages and rewards the indecent and irresponsible to be just that. The corruption coupled with the culture of entitlement are virtually ubiquitous.
The solution? You and me. Take responsibility for yourself. Don’t blame others when things go wrong. Raise your kids with only three goals – reading, respect, and responsibility. Like the saying goes, “Good people are everywhere. If you cant’ find one, be one.”