You hear everyone talking about his or her rights. Whether they’re speaking specifically about the Bill of Rights or simply thinking in terms of what the government should do for you and me. Aren’t “we the people” the government and if so then shouldn’t the government be a direct reflection of us and our wants and wishes?  

It surely was never intended that the government pay for our every whim or our daily bread. Beyond whim, I do believe that there are certain common things like roads, military, schools, emergency services, law enforcement and a safe food supply that “we the government” are responsible for.

I don’t believe that it was ever intended that there be free soup and a boxed lunch at every corner.

So if we are the government, then isn’t what we spend on wasteful programs gone too far? Is it not coming out of the fruits of our labor, hides, and money?

We need to come up with a Bill of Responsibilities. Responsibilities that include feeding your family. Being able to keep a roof over your head. Not expecting a hand out and going to work to earn a days pay. Serving your country in the best way you know how. Having a job you are fulfilled by and enjoy. Keeping your yard clean. Being a good neighbor. Regularly speaking to your elected representatives. Being a Good Samaritan … and If you’re a young lad or lass, being a Boy or Girl Scout or at the very least behaving like one.

To me, that is being a good citizen.

All that said, what could we do with the resources we have in our Upstate communities that enrich our lives, our families’ lives and us personally?

I’ll give you a quick example. I produce and direct feature films and commercials and my talent is being able to communicate a complex idea through the multi-medium of motion pictures and movies. Simple enough.

The Upstate community and Western New York have been very fortunate to have Kodak call Rochester home. Kodak wasn’t even a word before it finally took its resting place for the longest time as Rochester’s number one employer and as a result, insulated our region from any difficult economy.

Still, Kodak’s legacy currently represents one of the finest and most complete crew bases for setting up a major motion picture production. Motion Picture Production companies rely on investors which generally bring money from Los Angeles for the really big pictures to investors from the rest of the country and world for the small and medium projects. This is a positive cash flow for “we the people” and our state.

When I worked on the John Mellencamp movie “After Image” in 2000, the film had a budget of $1.4 million dollars. These dollars were spent on wages for people who live in our communities, on hotels, restaurants, grocery and department stores, small specialty shops that supply assets to the production company, ie. special effects, post and animation houses and the like.

Doesn’t it make sense to encourage industries that have a positive social and economic impact on our communities and state?

Respecting each other, remembering you and me equals the government, and encouraging New York residents to stay in the Upstate communities, is the way to foster greater independence in the end. By our communities’ encouragement I stay here in Western New York. By business as usual people, like the Tom Golisano’s and the Mr. and Mrs. Imsickandtiredofthis’, move out to a state that is encouraging them and respecting them.

Let’s “we the people” and “we the government” financially take a little responsibility with ourselves and encourage others to do the same. What can we do, so that the government doesn’t have to mark it up and charge us a little more for it, which we ourselves can do cheaper?

What are our responsibilities? Here’s a hint. If you ask an old WWII Vet they will probably know the answer.

In my next blog I take a look at, “It’s a hand up, not a hand out” and that’s what we should be focusing on.

Angelo Mancuso is a film producer and director of the documentary “American Harvest” and upcoming doc “Operation Enduring Freedom” embedded with an Army unit in Afghanistan. He is the owner of White Hot Films in Rochester, NY.