During these days of political and social conflicts we seem to be in the habit of putting blame for our failures and the failures of others on everyone except ourselves. It is so easy to blame someone else because it absolves us of any responsibility. Yet political and social issues remain unresolved and in many cases are becoming increasingly worst. We are a nation with no direction. There is no long term blueprint for a more productive future. We are a culture with few guiding principles. Our freedom has lead us to millions of individual voices with little will for compromise and consensus. It is always the other guy’s fault for this chaotic state and our failures.
In many cases we have absolutely no influence on the outcome of social and political issues but in those cases where we could have made even a miniscule difference such as at the ballot box we sanctimonious wash our hands of any involvement with excuses of not making a difference. In those few instances where we could have made even a slight difference we give excuses for why we could not or did not take appropriate actions and blame everything on the other guy. Essentially we absolve ourselves of any responsibility for our actions or inactions. But in fact many miniscule influences can cumulatively make a huge difference such as at elections.
We close our eyes, ears, and minds to any possibility that there may be other valid points of views and selectively focus hearing about things that agree with our positions which we already know. Its a closed loop system of information and misinformation which when repeated often enough reinforces our convictions of its truth. After all ignorance is bliss.
Such attitudes have lead us to be a nations of extreme polarization on political, economic, social, and moral issues. People base their friendships and relationships on whether others are morally or politically like ourselves. There are fewer and fewer moderates in this age of blame, lack of ownership, and polarization. You are either for me or against me. It’s all or nothing. We close our minds to learning about other options.
We blame Congress’ failure to legislate upon corrupt and incompetent legislators or party allegiances. We blame crime on criminals. We blame poverty upon lazy poor people who don’t want to get a job. We blame a failing economy upon too high or too low taxes and too much or too little government. We blame our failures at work on bad management. We blame our failures at relationships and marriage upon our partners. We blame traffic jams on incompetent local and regional governments for not make better roads and on lousy drivers getting on the road at the same time we do. We blame being late for an appointment on heavy traffic. We are a nation of blame and excuses because we do not want to take responsibility for our contributions to failures.
Why can’t we just admit to our faults and take more responsibility for these situations? Because Failure is a dirty word. No one wants to admit to Failure or making a mistake. It is taboo, a sign of weakness and incompetence, an indication that one is flawed and damaged goods. No one places their failures in their resume or willingly admits to them openly. Yet in truth for every success there are many failures. So failure is a normal part of life whether we admit is or not. It’s learning from our mistakes that is important, but one must first acknowledge to making mistakes or nothing is gained. An infant doesn’t assign blame for failure but instead figures another approach to solving the problem. That is why they learn so amazingly fast. If only we could learn from our babies instead of spending so much time saying NO.
Admitting to our failures and putting our failures and the failures of our broken political and social systems squarely in our own laps is a big step forward towards becoming successful because in empowers us to admit our mistakes without shame and learn from them without making excuses or assigning blame. If I were to interview a person for a job I would ask them what were some of their biggest failures or mistakes and what did they learn from them. This reveals the true workings of their minds to deal with failures and become wiser because of what they have learned. Everyone fails and makes mistakes. It is those who do not admit to failure that you should be wary of. They will try to cover up their failures and blame others rather than take ownership and learn from their failures.
Congress’ ineptitude is our fault for not getting more involved and electing congressional representatives who will get things done. Crime exists either because of poverty or because we make it profitable for the criminal. Get involve to solve poverty and both crime and poverty will subside. Allow the vast majority of citizens to make a living wage and the vast majority of people will spend more and stimulate economic growth. Start blaming your failures at work on yourself and take responsibility to work more productively. Work harder at improving your relationships and your marriage will improve. Take public transportation to reduce traffic congestion. Leave for appointments much earlier to avoid being late. There are many things within our control to improve our quality of life rather than just blaming others for our mistakes or misfortunes. After all it is in your best interests as well as that of this nation to improve.