My jog ended on a Rumsey Park soccer field. As I walked past the large green and gray sign insisting “No Dogs on the Field,” I was greeted by four leash-less dachshunds and their female companions.
Now, as a dog lover, I was not particularly annoyed, but rather interested in understanding how these ladies went about their decision to ignore the rules.
You see, I am gravely concerned about our society’s changing values and the following exchange brings the broader problem into specific focus.
My sprint brought me close to one of the ladies, so I asked her “I guess the big sign by the gate doesn’t apply to you?”
“We live right over there,” she said, pointing toward her home.
“So, living close to the park gives you special privileges?” I replied.
“Well,” she said. “We sit and watch the police dogs on the field. What should I do?”
“Break the rules like everyone else.” I said, and sprinted away.
When did we become a society that relies on mob-rules to define our values? Can the tacit or overt blessing of authority justify any action, be it trivial or torture? Can we hold our leaders accountable to standards we fail to embrace?
And there is the answer.
And it is us.
We are all blessed with the freedom to choose to do the right thing, or to get away with what we can justify.
As times get tough, we are tempted by fear toward self-interest and shortcuts, but it is now when our individual better values must prevail. To paraphrase Gandhi, we must become the model of the world as it should be.
Be the example.
Michael A. Rose