Any 4-year-old can tell you that when things go wrong, the first step is to assign blame. Whatever happened, someone else did it.
Personally, I sit around sometimes and wonder how the Republican Party ceded so much power to one person, and how his words and actions are acknowledged as genuine by so many people, those who would withhold support of anyone in politics, including Republicans, who disagrees with that one person. But back to blame.
The recent events in El Paso and Dayton have become new and additional gateways for blame. A 21-year-old allegedly shoots up a Walmart; a 24-year-old allegedly shoots up a bar. Thus those old timers who watch, quote and believe Fox News are off the hook, but hell, at least there’s someone to blame.
Democrats, Republicans, Mitch McConnell, gays, straights, blacks, whites, Immigrants, aspiring immigrants, those Chinese kids you see at Wegmans, the police, anyone rich enough to have to hire someone to mow his lawn, some gun owners, all gun owners, the educated, the less educated, insert your preconception here: whatever you are can have its advantages, but whatever you are puts you in a category of blame.
The labels are flexible, of course. Not every person of color is entirely non-white, for example. My people came from Eastern Europe and when they made it through Ellis Island they weren’t white, they were Eastern European. Are you of Italian decent? Be assured that your great-grandparents were not white, they were Southern European. Even being white has its, pardon the wisecracks, shades of difference. They are malleable and change over time – when a Polish-American guy marries an Italian-American girl, it is no one’s idea of a “mixed marriage,” but it once was.
You probably have a dozen or more affinities to which you belong, and blame for something can be placed on any of them. Personally, I am white, male, skewing elderly, state college educated, formerly blue collar, married to a real live woman, a fan of baseball and the Three Stooges, know a lot about jazz and little about current movies, and plenty of other things. I have at least something in common with you, yet there’s something on my list that a person can use to accuse, to point to me as an example, to blame.
Want solutions? There are plenty of them, but they do not stand the test of consensus or of political financial donations or of the Constitution and anyway, there aren’t enough buses or boats to send the offenders to jail or back to where they came from.
Let’s finish the blame before we get to solutions. Exhibit A is Candice Keller, a member of the Ohio legislature whose constituency is several miles from Dayton. She pondered the massacre in El Paso on Sunday night and came up with a list of her own in assignation of blame. I quote from her social media post, with allowance to clean up her punctuation:
“…the breakdown of the traditional American family (thank you, transgender, homosexual marriage, and drag queen advocates); fatherlessness, a subject no one discusses or believes is relevant; the ignoring of violent video games; the relaxing of laws against criminals (open borders); the acceptance of recreational marijuana; failed school policies (hello, parents who defend misbehaving students): disrespect to law enforcement (thank you, Obama).”
Yup, that’s her list, and only a partial list, of why the El Paso shootings occurred. Her opinion is her business, of course, and if you believe her, I respect your opinion, but it exasperates me that voters in District 53 of the State of Ohio elected her and gave her a forum such as is hers.
It is instructive to note that within hours of her posting, Ohio Republicans more-or-less unanimously separated themselves from her points of view.
Lists of grievances are easy. Another person with a political death wish could have named the breakdown in trust of any number of other institutions, how things have gone to hell ever since the moon landing or an assortment of other situations. Remember, blame first, and then eventually get around to a solution.
Do you watch cable television? There is blame galore there, custom-tailored to one’s own supply of bile and its direction of your choosing. The most ardent are also the most predictable. I know what Fox News will tell me. I know what MSNBC will tell me. They reinforce my interest in baseball on the MSG Channel.
The massacre in El Paso was evidently racially motivated. The death list in Dayton includes black people, white people and the suspect’s own sister, and I don’t know what caused it. Suffice to say, someone or something was to blame. Ask anyone.
Contact Ed Adamczyk at EdinKenmore@gmail.com.