Should we call “Blame” and “Fault” special interest groups?
We say, “Change happens” with some resolve. It’s an existential observation, no doubt emanating from the same place that allows us to accept tornado “seasons.” But when did we become a country that assigns blame to the winds of change?
And we have become such a country – my guess is out of fear. With so much of American life shifting historically; with so many institutions, customs, ethnic characteristics, “norms,” and belief-systems being updated (or at least challenged); and with so many fading voices, the reactionary distrust, anger, and gloom is almost palpable in many parts of our “United” States.
People everywhere are looking for someone or something to blame. I’m counting the minutes ‘til some lawyer accuses the Oklahoma sky of negligence.
Maybe it’s a generational perception, but America is changing faster than ever, too. That’s gotta scare the crap out of folks who really preferred things “the way they were.” But even the rest of us face a challenge here. Have our coping skills ever been tested to the degree they are today? And from what I’ve seen, we’re not meeting that challenge very well.
We’ve got tantrums – and countless TV shows about tantrums. We’ve got workplace meltdowns and employee target practice. We’ve got compulsive spending, clenched jaws, school shootings, road rage, and emotional eating. (Incidentally, the Germans call that, “Kummerspeck,” which literally translates to “grief bacon.” Tasty, tasty grief bacon…But I digress.)
The number of ways we Americans find to blame others and the degree to which we exhibit such an unwillingness to face mistakes, changes, and challenges suggests this country is in a blame free-fall. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise me when even social progress gets viewed by some as betrayal. Still, my world isn’t ending just because the Boy Scouts are trying modernize: why assign treachery to evolution?
I get that change is often a hassle, so gripes can be reasonable if we move past ‘em fairly quickly. But some people’s reactions demonstrate a lack of character more clearly than the degree of change affecting them. We’ve never lacked the capacity to make an enemy out of someone we don’t agree with; I just don’t remember it being so easy to keep them that way. That’s why I think Blame and Fault might as well receive special interest group designations.
Don’t misunderstand: I’m not suggesting we shrug and say, “Shit happens,” when the brakes on a school bus fail. That’s negligence, and identifying fault is a necessary part of future prevention. But it isn’t a single person’s fault that our gun laws need amending, and we can’t blame two women who hope to be married (or, for that matter, someone who believes life starts at conception). Yet because those individuals are the ones we see in the media day in and day out, we make them our enemies. And we then make enemies of those who march with them, whatever their drum beat may be. We find fault and assign blame. Human dignity, common sense, and the winds of change get co-opted, and we turn on each other.
Or not. It’s up to you and me to lead by example, to opt the fuck out of blaming others for things we can’t control or own or remedy right now-now-now! Let’s say no to being suckers. Say no to “living in accordance with a script created by political minders.”
The Culture of Blame is death. Adapting is surviving. Social cohesion’s a no-brainer.