I come from a generation that is looking for a leader.
We, the Millennials — a generation that is roughly defined as those born between the late 1980s and early 2000s — have been raised through a time of political turmoil. Consequently, my generation understands that it takes personal responsibility to preserve a free society in a tumultuous world.
As we step into adulthood, we realize that preserving freedom is no easy task in a pluralistic society that isn’t entirely sure how it defines “freedom” anyway. Are we free to relegate our personal responsibilities to a wavering and transient government; or are we free to adhere to an enduring God-given standard of right and wrong, if we so choose?
George Bernard Shaw said, “liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” We cannot be free without being responsible. Each of us has a personal responsibility to manage our freedom wisely. We are responsible for our own actions, and we are responsible to raise the next generation to manage their freedom wisely as well. If we let the government take our responsibility into its own hands, then my generation and the generations to come will not have the freedom of personal responsibility.
My generation is the next to decide how freedom will be defined for our own children, and we need a leader to lay a firm foundation for us to build on.
However, we cannot build on the precedent our current leadership is setting. The recent Health & Human Services mandate requiring the provision of contraceptives by religious employers – nevermind, insurance companies – places our personal responsibility into the hands of government regulation. Further, it intervenes in the free market by telling private enterprise that it must provide nonessential services without charge. These businesses will likely have no other choice but to pass the expenses of the provision onto consumers – namely, religious employers.
The initial revision of the mandate gave religious employers an extra year to “adapt to this new rule.” Unfortunately, American citizens have been “adapting” to a culture of moral compromise for far too long. Now, the government is expecting us to adapt to its overreach once again.
Our leader recently said, “Let’s be the generation that tackles our health care crisis.” Though our nation is facing crises of economy, energy, and national security, our government is focusing on solutions that treat only the symptoms of a deeper problem.
America is suffering from a crisis of character. It is a crisis birthed by irresponsibility on behalf of American citizens and the government we elect. If individual citizens took regular responsibility for their beliefs, actions, and the consequences they invoke, then perhaps the government wouldn’t feel the need to impose a restriction on the bounds of our freedom.
Millennials, let’s be the generation that tackles our crisis of character. Because we have been blessed with the gift of freedom, we cannot be forced into compromising our personal convictions. Instead, we must know what we believe and why we believe it. Then we must be led — we must lead — ourselves and our fellow citizens to take responsibility for our own actions. Otherwise, the government will continue to impose collective idealism that hinders our ability to practice our moral and religious convictions as we choose.
Perhaps the solution our nation needs is not found in big-government legislation, but in Americans who take personal responsibility of our every day beliefs and actions.
Could it be that we are the leaders we have been looking for?