The Blame Game is on, again

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From Where I Sit ... By Avis Anderson
Sunday, July 31, 2022
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It is time once again to play “The Blame Game”. Politicians are notorious for spending long hours telling anyone who listens that their opponents are, of course, the reason the “world is going to hell in a handbasket”. No one but the opposition is to blame for everything that is wrong in this country. I get so tired of that rhetoric, as if the problems in society are not ones of longstanding. No one ever tries to remedy the situation or build on a foundation of understanding, but rather they keep adding fuel to the twin fires of dissension and misunderstanding. Retaining positions of power and control is the “end game,” and as I have become more aware, acquiring wealth through that power. Power is also a means of controlling the other person to be the person I want them to be; of forcing them to live as I see fit. A recent opinion piece in the local paper was a rant on the opposition and as expected, the fact that everything that is wrong today harkens back to that opposition party. Both parties bear blame for the mistakes that have been made. No one remembers the words about “promoting the general welfare.”

The “blame game”, however, is not limited just to politics. Very few people ever step forward and take responsibility, saying, “Perhaps it is my fault. I made the mistake.” Shifting personal blame is a way of maintaining my facade of perfection. Admitting to a lack of perfection proves I am not infallible but also it actually relieves me of the pressure of future perfection. We are all great at pointing the finger in a direction away from ourselves. It really is not that difficult to admit to the problem and move on to the remedy.

To move “the blame game” to another level: Father Richard Rohr, spiritual leader, notes: “Can we take responsibility for the fact that we push people to polarized positions when we do not stand in the compassionate middle? Opposition gives us a sense of standing for something, a false sense of independence, power and control. Compassion and humility don’t give us a sense of control or psychic comfort... Compassion and dialogue are essentially vulnerable positions. . .” Another author notes: “Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear. . . In these moments, we can choose to remember that the goal of listening is not to feel empathy for our opponents, or validate their ideas, or even change their mind in the moment. Our goal is to understand them. . .”

Politicians are not going to change their direction. It is in the nature of the beast to want to be the one in charge, always thinking they can do better than the next person. “Blame games” are played at exalted levels where the participants never have to come in contact with those for whom “the game” means nothing.

Avis R. Anderson is a retired member of the Glendive community.

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