Limit of Advance…

Reading Time: 5 minutes

There is a virus on the streets, but it isn’t Coronavirus. The virus on the streets is called Lack Of Accountability. L.O.A. In the army infantrymen use the term LOA to describe a Limit Of Advance. Where a team of infantrymen stop moving forward and establish a security line. Our lack of accountability in society is the limit of our advance. It prevents us from moving forward. It’s the illness disrupting our progress.

I was in third grade. At the time Pogs, also known as Milk Caps, was all the rage. In the toy aisle at Wal-Mart I carefully peeled back the packaging holding two beautiful slammers, the metal discs used to flip over the milk caps. I quickly slipped them in my pocket. Once home my mother found them and asked where I’d gotten them. Knowing I hadn’t paid for them, and after my confession, my mother drove me back to Wal-Mart, which was quite a distance away, and walked me up to the manager. We had a conversation that little Roman never forgot. 

My mother didn’t want to drive all the way back to the store. She did that to teach me an important lesson. Sure, that stealing is wrong, but more importantly to teach me that accountability is paramount. Accountability to self and accountability to others. Accountability is the cornerstone of integrity. Accountability. Owning up to one’s own actions and making yourself accountable for those actions. Let’s be more specific. Making yourself accountable for the consequences and repercussions of and for your actions.

Look at the etymology of the word. The mathematical derivation and the moral action derivative are really explaining the same thing. On an accountant’s ledger every expense must be reconciled. It’s the crux of good bookkeeping. The same must be true of our actions as humans. Our decisions and actions must always be reconciled with the resultants of those decisions and actions. When the people try to buck the system or escape their consequences our entire system is thrown into disorder. 

I learned at a young age that it is incumbent upon me to hold myself accountable. Fast forward to my time in the army. I’m a young officer. I discovered that several young NCOs had stolen televisions. I had a choice. Make exceptions or do the difficult thing in holding those soldiers accountable for their actions regardless of my positive personal feelings toward them. So I learned another lesson, we not only have to hold ourselves accountable; we have to hold those within our organizations accountable. 

Several years after that I end up sitting time in jail, several times actually, as a consequence of poor decisions I had made. I showed up to every court date, I turned myself in when it was called for. I paid my dues like a man and moved on with my life. That’s accountability. After all those years, the lessons I had learned over my life had worked to effect a mindset. I didn’t agree with every decision made in the process but a form of justice, regardless of how perfect it was, had been exacted. I understood that it was important for me to undergo my punitive afflictions because it was necessary in a greater sense to keep the social machine functioning correctly.

We sit at an interesting place today. Justice comes down to accountability. Every accountability has an epicenter, a ground zero if you will. Any wrongdoing in any organization at any place in our society will always have fewer aftershocks if the leaders of that organization properly hold all members of that organization accountable. Why? Because holding the people accountable that you are closest to, in your own organizational world, whom you ostensibly care and would typically be inclined to make exceptions for, is hard. 

But when you make those hard decisions and judge your own fairly but exactingly against agreed upon social measures and not organizational measures, people respect you, the social contract remains intact, and society keeps functioning. People know bias. We sense bias intuitively, and for organizations in this country to act as though we don’t is both insulting and foolish. And when, as we have seen occur in this country time and again, organizations fail to hold their own accountable for their actions, there are symptomatic effects. Society bleeds. There is chaos and damage—the social body which must work in conjunction begins to wound itself. 

This is neither an endorsement nor criticism of rioters, looters, organizations, protestors, marchers, freedom speakers, police officers or standard civilians. Instead, this is an observation of the social contract—one which has always and will likely always remain in place. When accountability is lost credibility is lost, and that will always mark the limit of our social advance.

Roman Newell

Graphic Composition:
by: Darlene Carroll

Graphic work can not be accomplished without the incredible resources made available to this Author and his team. THANK YOU to the following artists for the gift of their artistry and generosity in sharing their beautiful artwork, photography, and fonts.

Background Imagery:
o. Anne-marie Ridderhof — Pixabay
o. Artturi Mäntysaari — Pixabay
o. Efes — Pixabay
o. Anna Aspnes

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