Wednesday, June 21, 2006

On "playing the blame game"

After New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, both Karl Rove's operatives and the Office of Homeland Security did a splendid job of blaming Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco for all manner of things she did not do. They also attacked her for doing things that were right (such as refusing to let Bush take over the state), and they accused her of not performing tasks she had performed (such as immediately calling for federal troops). New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin also attacked Blanco. This is not to say that Blanco did everything right, just that she was blamed for a great number of things that had nothing to do with her performance as the state's leader. The media ate this stuff up without chewing and spread Rove's lies, as usual. As a result, Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Bobby bumper stickers began appearing in south Louisiana.

Bashing Blanco and Nagin became a national sport on talk shows, message boards, blogs, and in letters to the editor. Then memos of what actually happened were released, and the despicable Brown began spilling the beans and whining. It turned out that Blanco did request everything that she should have, that Bush knew about the crisis early on, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers knew they were designing levees destined to fail.

The incompetence and gross immorality of these failings is colossal in nature, but when it came time to accuse the Corps of Engineers, Bush, Chertoff, etc., we were told "Don't play the blame game." "Stop playing the blame game." It was okay to accuse Blanco, Nagin, and the citizens of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast of being incompetent, lazy and ignorant, but to point the finger where most of the finger belongs is "playing the blame game" and is not allowed.

I have found that when people--conservatives, to be exact--are caught in deception and irresponsibility, any attack on them is part of a "blame game" that is "not constructive." I experience the same thing in my psychotherapy practice, on a more personal scale. If your mother beat you or your father molested you, "move on" and don't "blame" them.

I experience it as an animal rights activist, as a feminist, and as an LGBT rights activist. "Culture" and "tradition" are used to justify cruelty and bigotry every day.

I experience it in interpersonal communication. "I didn't mean anything by it." "I was just saying..."

Here is a novel idea: What if the group that is constantly hitting us on the head with the concept of "taking responsibility" took responsibility for destroying New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast?


That will never happen. If they play by anyone else's rules, they know they will lose.

If they hold themselves to the same standards they hold others, they will lose.

If they honestly face their own shortcomings, they will lose.

All they have is their gross incompetence and mutual graft to protect themselves. Were they to abandon their 'politics of blame', they would have nothing left to divert the slack-jawed, mouth-breathing Faux "News" followers from their own shenanigans.

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