Τρίτη, 31 Ιανουαρίου 2012

Taking Responsibility

I have this sister - very much younger than me, extremely talented - especially in writing, very determined and self-disciplined - I could go on but why? We all have people like that in our lives that we love dearly but are a little jealous of. She's convinced that she and I are the Bronte sisters incarnate and she wants me to jumpstart the process of showing this to the world with writing a blog. She also believes I might have something to say that needs to be heard. And as I love her dearly and I really DO need to get out of this rut I'm in, I've decided to try it. So here goes world - An American in Athens.
I guess the thing that irritates me most about Greeks (and most everyone in the world) is that no one takes responsibility for anything. It's so much easier to blame someone else. Greeks have been blaming America for all their troubles since I first came here in 1977. They blamed America for not helping them after WWII which infuriated me because I know how much help we sent. But no one wanted to acknowledge that all that help was taken by a few 'enterprising' Greeks who sold it on the black market and made their fortunes.
There are some things that America has done which Greece is not responsible for, like their wars in Yugloslavia and Iraq. But the influence of violent American movies and all our American products? Greece was not required to or forced to bring these things to Greece. That's just one example of Greeks buying into the American mindset while at the same time deploring the influence of these things on the youth in Greece.
One thing impressed me about Obama last summer with all the idiocy going on with Republicans and Democrats and the budget. He said that ultimately, as the President, he was responsible - the buck stopped at his desk in the Oval Office. Whether events have borne this out or not, just the fact of his saying it publicly is something we don't see - ever.
This economic crisis, which is becoming world-wide? Yes, Goldman-Sachs is responsible for A LOT of it. But Greeks (and people everywhere) are responsible too. Just because loans are available doesn't mean you have to take one out. And just because TVs and cars are within our grasp now doesn't mean everyone has to have 3 TVs and an SUV (to drive around Athens?). Overspending, consumerism and no long-range planning has brought Greece to its knees. Strikes and the destruction of rioting has killed whatever chance Greece had to recover. And these things people - individuals - could be responsible for. Just because you CAN cheat someone doesn't mean you have to. When are we going to say - The Buck Stops Here?!