Cultural Entitlement: The Age of “Expectation” By Lt. Anthony Espino

We are experiencing a culture of entitlement in this country. Every time I watch news outlets, I hear the cries of “poor me.” Many people in America are looking for handouts, too lazy to go out and earn their own money. Hey, let’s tax the rich; they don’t need all that money. Sure, let’s punish those who work hard and are driven to succeed in life.

This type of rhetoric is quickly changing the mindset of the American people. Instead of looking for ways to better themselves or looking for ways to help others, they are looking for ways to get the government to help them. Self-reliance has been replaced by reliance.

There are many Americans who depend on the government. They see themselves as victims and carry themselves in a manner that would suggest as much. Illegal immigrants believe they’re entitled to opportunities in America regardless of following the laws to enter the country legally. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for immigration, but it has to be done lawfully. This great country was built by immigrants, but those people came here legally and willing to contribute to society. They worked hard, respected and loved this country.

We have college students believing their tuition should be free. I’m all for that, considering I have a daughter in college and another going next year. Free higher education in the United States may sound like a great idea. For nearly a century after federal land-grant colleges were first established in 1862, many public institutions were free, or nearly so. Now, with more than $1 trillion in U.S. student loan debt and growing, this has put constraints on both young people’s futures and the economy.

An entitlement culture makes life comfortable, removing that feeling of desperation. In my opinion our children, seniors, men and women of the armed forces, law enforcement, emergency personnel, firefighters and churches are the only members of our society who are entitled to anything.

Let’s think about our parents and their parents and so on who have made many sacrifices over the years so that we could have a better country than the one they inherited from their predecessors. Our law enforcement families proudly put on that uniform every day, working hard to keep our cities and towns safe. Our firefighters bravely run into burning buildings and homes risking their lives to save others. Our brave men and women of the Armed Forces are fighting enemies from all over the world, risking their lives to protect our freedoms. Our churches, regardless of your religion, are preaching the good and lifting up our communities. Our emergency personnel treat the injured and sick regardless what time of day it is. Lastly, remember our children who are America’s future.

We have many people talking about health care as being a right. That’s a tough topic to touch on. I would like to see everyone have the ability to be treated for certain diseases and illnesses, but unfortunately the burden would fall on the hard-working taxpayers. What medicines and treatments would be covered? How much would the taxpayers be expected to fund of it? Those are questions for Congress to figure out. In my opinion, I believe those deserving of free health care are the elderly, armed forces, disabled vets and our children.

By providing free housing, free cellphones, free food, free money and free health insurance, how is this incentive to work? How is this fair to those who do work and struggle to pay for all those things themselves? When we’re born, it’s our parents’ responsibility to provide for us. When we are grown it is our responsibility. When did it become the government’s right to make working-class people take care of everybody? Who is going to care of those working-class people?

We need to teach young people to aim high, work hard, and that good things come to those who strive to be successful in life. I don’t want to hear about rights or fairness, because in America we’re allowed too many things, and have taken for granted those things as a result.

America should have a culture of entrepreneurship, not a culture of entitlement. For America to be successful, we need a lot more of one, and a lot less of the other.

Lt. Anthony Espino is a 20-year veteran police officer, assigned to the Patrol and Crime Prevention Unit. His passion is to lecture to community members, teachers, and students to promote awareness and offer tips to prevent crime and victimization.