It’s not my fault! I wasn’t there. You didn’t see me, you can’t prove anything. These words from the immortal Bart resound loudly these days. Have you ever had the finger pointed at you when something went horribly wrong and you know you didn’t do it? Have you ever pointed the finger at someone else when it was your fault? The Family Circus has three recurring characters that pop in from time to time: Not Me, Ida know and Nobody that always appear when bad things happen around the house. Kids have long use these scapegoats to avoid punishment. Bill Cosby pokes fun at kids by calling the brain damaged since the answer to the question “why” is always “I don’t know.”
Kids never fully grow out of this behavior either. Teens have no problem blaming their teachers for their bad grades, their friends for breaking curfews and as they grow older, they blame their coworkers for missing deadlines and the management for unreasonable expectations. Teachers blame parents, parents blame teachers and students blame them both. There is plenty of blame to go around.
When things in life rarely go according to any plan, it doesn’t seem fair to fail to accomplish our goals. It cannot be because we did anything wrong, can it? It must be someone else’s fault. Someone has to be responsible for the bad things that happen. Now, I will be more than happy to take credit for the good things. When things go right, it was all me, baby. Yes, I am that good. But let one thing go bad, and I was not anywhere near—it was all them. Blame them.
A bus ignites and the fire kills almost everyone on board. A batch of meat is tainted and people get sick. A terrorist hijacks a plane and flies it into a building. Bad things happen. Why do we feel the need to find fault? Can we not just accept the axiom that sometimes bad things just happen? The media thinks its first job in any situation is to find the fault and point the finger. Put the proverbial head on a pike so everyone can point their fingers in ridicule and feel better about themselves.
When some lunatic goes bananas and blasts 13 people on an Army post, and the media’s first question was whose fault was it that this guy was not identified as a potential mass murderer. Was there not something that should have tipped “officials” off that this guy was going to snap? That he was likely to grab a gun and start shooting?
Let the economy fail and everyone blames the president. The current economic crisis was not the fault of the Bush administration, it was the mortgage companies and the credit system but who gets the blame?
There is enough bad in the world to go around. Let’s all just accept the inevitable failings of our own humanity and put blame aside. Our children see no one take responsibility for their errors, so these children will never learn to take responsibility for their own errors. Hence, they blame the teachers, they blame their friends, and they blame their parents, but never take the blame themselves. This builds a sense of entitlement that makes these kids unprepared for the responsibilities of life.
And I guess that is our fault.