All Things Considered Opinion

Ethics & Taking Responsibility: Things of the Past?


From a favorite source of mine, Merriam-Webster, the definition of ethics as:

* rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad.

* an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior.

* a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong.

* a belief that something is very important.


They define responsibility as:

* the state of being the person who caused something to happen

* a duty or task that you are required or expected to do

* something that you should do because it is morally right, legally required, etc.


One of the things that seem to go hand in hand with getting older is lack of patience and a lower tolerance level of people who will say or do anything to anyone in order to get ahead, make themselves (seem to) look good.

The workplace can be loaded with people who feel entitled.  When they show up, it is to do as little as possible.  When they don’t show up it can be a burden on others, but it doesn’t seem to bother them.  Yet if someone else does the same thing, you would think a major crime had been committed.  What happened  to work ethics?

A person tells blatant lies about others whether it is in person or through social media.  They defraud others.  They show up in places and act out in unprofessional  ways.    They stalk people.  Many of the persons involved go to authorities and they’re all but blow off as if it were a minor issue or no big deal.  Once the person makes a threat to a whole community, all of a sudden the people who should have stepped up and taken action in the first place are now listening to what has been told to them all along.  Amazing how a handful of people are made to feel insignificant when they reach out to those who are supposed to serve and protect, yet when it escalates to a point it should never have reached, those  same people who should have  helped in the  first  place want to jump into action and look like heroes.  What happened to taking responsibility?

Friday night, September 9th, 2016, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton states (as reported by the New York Times):

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” she said to applause and laughter. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

“By Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Clinton had acknowledged her stumble. “Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea,” she said in a statement. “I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong.”

“She then used the opportunity to double down on her criticism of her opponent. “It’s deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia,” she said, “and given a national platform to hateful views and voices, including by retweeting fringe bigots with a few dozen followers and spreading their message to 11 million people.”

Monday, September 12th, 2015, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump states (according to

“After months of hiding from the press, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true thoughts. That was her true thoughts,” he said. “She revealed herself to be a person who looks down on the proud citizens of our country as subjects for her rule. She views it as her rule. ”

“Trump argued that a person should not run for president if he or she has “contempt in your heart for the American voter.”

“Hillary Clinton still hasn’t apologized to those she slanders,” Trump said. “In fact, she hasn’t backed down at all. She’s doubled down on her campaign conspiracy and contempt. If Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, I don’t see how she can credibly campaign any further.”

“Trump said Clinton’s comments were the “most explicit attack on the American voter” from a major party presidential nominee.”

Of course, the supporters of each respective candidate will stand tall and firm by their woman or man, whether or not  you believe what they have said or will say.  Unfortunately, the worse may be yet to come.

I long for the days where ethics and/or taking full responsibility for what you’ve said  or done actually meant something.  It would be great to see everyone bring  them back.  It won’t make one look week or uncaring.  Just  human.

I leave you with the words of Albert Schweitzer:  “Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. This is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.”

Rev. Joel S. Slotnick is an ordained Interfaith minister and full time digital court reporter. He can be found on Facebook and followed on Twitter.


Photo politico