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?

YOUR FAULTAnd 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.

THE FUTURE_Where Excuses Go to DieMaybe 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.)

BLAME YOUR STUPID FACEThe 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.

BRAKE FAILURE ON SCHOOL BUS_Where Excuses Go to DieDon’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.






BLAME CANADA_Where Excuses Go to Die

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  1. Christopher Lewis says:

    This entry has me thinking about a song by Todd Snider ,”Right-Wing Conservative Christian, Straight-White-American-Male,” wherein he sings about the United States of Defamation…or the United Schisms of America…or the United States of Antagonism. (I haven’t decided which one’s best.)

    The fan reaction to this song is intriguing. Liberal fans sing along like this is a 21st century anthem. Right-Wing types (and he does have a gaggle of shit-kickin’ zealots) loathe this song. During performances, they sit begrudgingly in their seats much the same way Springsteen fans in Red States do when he plays “We Shall Overcome,” or worse yet “Philadelphia.” While patiently –and sometimes not– wait for “Born to Run.” What both sides don’t seem to hear, or more accurately, don’t want to hear is the most important lyric: Diamonds and dogs, boys and girls/living together in two separate worlds/Following leaders of mountains of shame/looking for someone to blame.

    “Following leaders of mountains of shame…”
    It’s almost too poetically perfect that “blame” and “shame” rhyme so simply.

  2. Matt says:

    To me, blaming you means I’m right! And using the same debates and pre-conceived notions, I can be “right” all the time, every day. It’s a high. The goal then becomes how be “right” so often that I don’t have to come down.

    In fact John, it’s YOUR FAULT I’m writing this. If you hadn’t written this post I’d be enjoying drinks on the beach right now. I’m sure there are other things I could blame, (like myself for choosing to come up with this response) but that would put it back on me. Well, then I’d be wrong about it being YOUR FAULT!

    Back to reality…

    In my experience, There’s lots of people waking up to the idea that they create their own experience. They stop creating by default (blaming other’s for their feelings) and become more mindful that their reactions to life aren’t governed. Many people I speak with arrive at this conclusion at the epicenter of a downward spirals where they learn the pointlessness of blame and put their energy elsewhere. In this way, the world’s blame culture is part of something far larger. It’s a necessary step in waking people up and transforming society for the better…in my opinion.

  3. Jill says:

    I like that you’re making people THINK about this stuff.

  4. Al Lyons says:

    Accountability, responsibility, character and about 100 other areas are more and more falling by the wayside in our society. As someone who has devoted his life to teaching, I BLAME what I see regularly and increasingly as lazy parenting. Sad but true. People take the easy route in bringing up their kids, and society is slowly deteriorating as a result.

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