Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

If there is a word, idea or concept in the English language that I would ban or censor, it is “Entitled.” This word leads to more grief, greed, envy and anger than any other.

Politicians love this word.

“You are ENTITLED to _______________ .”

This time of year, the insurance salespeople, especially those selling Medicare policies, tell us we are entitled to benefits we are not receiving now. Joe Namath’s script is particularly focused on this if you have seen the commercials on TV.

Another source pushing this word at us is the law profession. Ever since they lifted the ban on advertising in the early 1990s, their main theme has been we are a victim, and we are entitled to compensation.

The last time I checked, here in the United States, the only things we are entitled to is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are exactly three things that certain elements of the government seem determined to actually deny us (especially if you happen to be a fetus). Liberty is especially in danger.

In fact, many citizens seem to be willing to give up liberty if they can get other things to which they think they are entitled. And, of course, these are just “things” that decay, become obsolete and so forth.

In reality, you are entitled to nothing, except, perhaps a mother’s love, but even that is dependent upon the mother (see previous comment about fetuses).

I think the word “entitled” stirs up so much ill will and bad feelings among people, societies and nations that we should ban it and the concepts it stands for. It is a word that came into widespread use in the 20th century.

Likely when the word first came into widespread use, the intentions were good. Back in the day, I talked to many people who were young adults at the time of the Great Depression, my father and mother and some of their siblings being part of this crowd. These people were too proud to ask for help, even if they needed it.

For example, one of my aunts was single and worked in a garment factory. She lived on the family homestead and took care of my grandmother. It was a grand job she had. When she retired in the 1980s, the fantastic pension the ILGW Union had negotiated for them paid her $45 per month. I say that just to give you perspective.

In the early 1970s, my grandmother’s refrigerator went on the blink. Dad offered to buy them a new one. My aunt was indignant. She and Granny did not need any handouts. She was embarrassed that Dad, her own brother, offered to buy a refrigerator for them. Hence, one might be able to deduce that there was a time when people had to be told they were entitled to a helping hand.

But no more. Everyone now has their hand out and throws a fit if they don’t get whatever it is they want – they are “entitled” to it.

This has now all been taken to a new extreme. Just this week, Sens. Booker, Warren and Gillibrand have introduced a draft bill called “Justice for Black Farmers Act of 2020” which, if enacted will, by the use of eminent domain, allow the USDA (taxpayers) to buy land from willing sellers at fair market value for use in the program and give it to black farmers.

Among other provisions, this bill establishes within the Department of Agriculture an independent board, to be known as the “Department of Civil Rights Oversight Board” to administer this program.

What is this, punishment for rural farmers who voted for Trump?

Entitlement indeed.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.