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Responsibility

Society and Morals

This is another in a series of posts addressing problems with our society today. I think many folks are concerned with the way things are and are going, what with huge deficits and debt, joblessness, civil unrest like the Madison teachout, race-involved mini-riots and politics in general, but don't really understand what's going on and what to do about it.

The recent recall elections, blaming selected legislators for necessary budget resolution actions that pinched the unions, were labeled the most negative on record, with 95% of ads sliming the opponent, 99% of Democrat ads and 89% Republican, so both contributed. Add to that joblessness and economic malaise and you have a witches' brew of problems with no apparent solutions.

I think part of the problem is the "blame game," where others are blamed for our own shortcomings. The Obama administration still blames the Bush tax cuts "for the rich" for a major part of our deficit problems. This in spite of the fact that Bush's rich-folks tax cuts--to those making over $250,000--amounted to only 15% of the total reduction, $81.5 billion, according to CNN Money. The remainder of the $544.3 billion in tax cuts went to the middle class, which Obama retained.

A little closer to home, a recent article in our daily newspaper described the tragic death of a 22-year old man  who was having a pool party at his parents' home with one other young man and three young women. To liven things up, he and his friends concocted a party punch consisting of 190-proof alcohol (95% CP) mixed with Red Bull and Gatorade. This is apparently a popular mixture in some circles. The son became smashed, experienced rapid heartbeat, probably aggravated by the Red Bull, jumped in the pool swimming frantically in an apparent effort to "work it off," passed out and drowned. His parents were home at the time and were well aware of what was going on.

The mother is now spearheading a campaign to outlaw the sale of 190-proof booze in Wisconsin, blaming it in major part for her son's tragic death. (By the way, this stuff has been around forever as a punch additive. It used to be called 191-proof rum, which was a joke.) I don't mean to minimize this terrible tragedy, but shifting the responsibility to the alcohol is a cop-out. The parents condoned this crazy booze bash, were well aware of their son's drunken state and did not in any way supervise what was going on in their backyard. Also, the participants in this insanity were all over 21 (presumably) and responsible for their own actions. People who do crazy things, especially where alcohol is involved, often are victims of--or the cause of--tragic consequences. Blaming a bottle of booze simply shifts the responsibility to an inanimate object and solves nothing.

Until we begin to take responsibility for our actions, accepting the blame for our mistakes and mending our ways, we will continue to deteriorate morally as a society. Blacks blaming Whitey for their problems leads only to more problems instead of a solution. Democrats blaming Republicans, and vice versa, for the country's ills again is futile and unproductive and obviates any possibility of resolution. Blaming greedy corporations and CEO's for our economic ills shifts the focus away from government policies that were and are largely to blame for our present economic crisis.

The blame game guarantees a continuation and exacerbation of our problems. Until we--and that's a collective "we"--learn to quit throwing bricks and start accepting responsibility, and start communicating, the downward spiral of our society will continue.

Harry Truman had it right: "The Buck Stops Here!"

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