posted by Matt W on August 27th, 2014

As I watched the nightly news yesterday, there was a segment about people on airlines using a wedge device to restrict the chair in front of them from reclining. Apparently, a plane was re-routed and two people were actually kicked off the plane for arguing over the use of the device. Wow, I could have never predicted that. The maker of the wedge came on the newscast promoting his device and I found myself finishing every line he uttered with, “…at the expense of others.”

“As a larger person I need more room…” “…at the expense of others.”

“It just allows a person more room as airlines decrease seat sizes…” “…at the expense of others.”

“This is a good way for people to have more freedom…”, “…at the expense of others.”

At first, I thought why would this guy come on the air; that device is obnoxious. But then I thought, wow, the network just made him a lot of money as there are probably a 100,000 people online right this second buying this obnoxious device.

If I remember correctly, it was John Locke who said it was important for people to have “Liberty without license.” As I understand it, he meant that ALL people should have basic human liberties, but not given the license to take away similar liberties from others. If you’re not into getting your life lessons from economists, than how about the bible, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Or it was really probably put best by my kindergarten teacher when she said, “Be courteous to everyone, all the time.” (As I have the right not to incriminate myself in this country, I left the “Matthew W.!” off the end of Miss Henderson’s quote.”)

Well we’re not courteous anymore. Far from it. In fact, I feel like everybody just needs to add the line, “I’m more important than you” to everything they say and do, big or small.

-Texting while driving putting all those around you at risk, “I’m more important then you.”

-Illegally downloading movies and music over the internet, “I’m more important than you.”

-A white police officer pulling over a black person only because of their skin color, “I’m more important than you.”

-Talking loud during a movie, “I’m more important than you.”

-Any High Schooler in… well… any situation, “I’m more important than you.”

-A major corporation moving its headquarters out of the country to save on taxes placing their tax burden on the rest of us, while their employees enjoy the benefits of living in the U.S., “I’m more important than you.”

-Putting a wedge in the airline seat in front of you, stopping a fellow passenger from reclining while reclining in your own seat, “I’m more important than you.”

The list goes on forever. When did we all start thinking we were more important than all those around us?

Well our forefathers once wrote, “Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.” As they seemed to be pretty wise, my guess is they left “License” out for a reason. But if you really think about it, my kindergarten teacher was probably the wisest of all, because quoting her again, everyone would be a lot better off if we just remembered two little words.

“Be nice.”

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