July 03, 2002

Terrorism? Oops, My Bad!

Did you ever fail in school? It wasn't your fault; your teacher must have sucked.

Did you ever crash your car while talking on a cell phone? Blame Nokia for that incessant static.

Fired from your job? Blame that lousy creep of an employer who had a personal grudge against you from day one.

Ever get arrested? Blame the cop who has been jumping at the chance to bust you ever since he saw "Lethal Weapon 2."

Got severely burned from smoking at a frat party because you were so drunk you lit the wrong end of the cigarette? Blame Joe Camel for getting you hooked at 14, and Corona for making a drink you like so much.

Ever witnessed a natural disaster, which brought to light all of the worst traits of our present xenophobic, arrogant political climate? Blame Bill and Monica, of course! Blame FDR too while you're at it; his New Deal program lifted us out of the Great Depression to such an extent that we were able to construct the Twin Towers in the first place.

Yes, the blame game is one we learn at close to zero years old and never forget. Quite simply, it's much easier to pin all of our troubles on scapegoats than it is to probe our own prejudices. Besides, it's down-home, dirty All-American funĀ®!

So, why is it that blaming is suddenly uncool when it comes to Sept. 11? So many people get mad at anyone who has the same skin color as the terrorists, yet these people seem more than willing to give American leaders a free pass in the incident.

The optimist in me says it's because we, as a nation, truly wish to unite and are beginning to fess up to our flaws. Then my inner cynic runs over the optimist with his teeny motorcycle and reminds me that this is 21st-century America, and some in high places have things to hide. The fact that most blaming, like the examples above, is stupid does not give those who deserve blame the right to a "get out of jail free" card.

Yes indeed, this flip in national attitude is so suspicious, I'm thinking of calling in the Hardy Boys to investigate. Or maybe Nancy Drew--she's cuter and works on her own. Or should I simply look at a newspaper? Let's see...here it is, page 36-B, "Evidence Points to Forewarning of 9/11."

I fully intend to soak up my share of the blame for Sept. 11; that should be easy, considering I had absolutely nothing to do with it. On the other hand, I won't hold my breath waiting for those who actually are responsible to do the same.

Guilty people will continue to pass blame, no matter what society tells them to do. Conservatives and their columnists blaming Clinton and Condit for the moral downfall of this country when, in fact, they were the ones digging deep and broadcasting it to our children daily is the first example I recall. Easy targets breed easy answers without all of that hassling soul-searching.

Eight years of Clinton-bashing has tired the American public to the point that, when actual scandal erupts with our current administration, the media barely touches it. Of course, this was the Clinton-haters' plan all along, and it has worked wonders. It certainly has given the Bush administration more leeway than it deserves. I blame the "vast right-wing conspiracy" for that one.

There are times when blame actually is a valuable tool, particularly when the allegation is backed up with tangible proof of wrongdoing. Ignoring this fact is, well, ignorant. Consequently, when those who are more than willing to blame the opposition for trivial things suddenly call for an end to all finger-pointing, our national red-alert sirens should start wailing.

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