Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Skipping Record

Not to be outdone by the right-wing media, who want to place all the blame for the oil spill response on Obama, the left-wing media is gearing up to blame it all on Jindal.

That means history isn't just repeating the same old song at this point, the record is actively skipping - bringing us back to the same obnoxious verse of the same old song.

Because we can't just investigate our bipartisan national dysfunction, and accept that both Democratic and Republican political leaders could all be doing so much more; we can't just get in-depth about why more National Guardsmen haven't been mobilized, or who thinks sand-berms are a good idea, or why the A Whale may not be called into service to help clean up the mess. We're not interested in reasons, or finding the choke point that is killing us.

I understand that the media, trying to fill a 24 hour news cycle while doing as little real investigation as possible, will focus on compartmentalizing the blame and the politics of any crisis or catastrophe. That's our national telenovela, and we just keep tuning in.

But the political blame game didn't help the Katrina/Federal Flood recovery. All it did was give either side a scapegoat and a reason not to self-evaluate. And a reason not to be effective. I still know "conservatives" who think the whole Katrina/Federal Flood problem was on Blaco and Nagin. I still know "liberals" who think the whole thing was Bush's fault.

Pointing out that a lot of folks in "this part of the world" blamed all three for their many and individual specific failings doesn't even make a dent in those well-entrenched worldviews. Individual and specific failings don't matter if you have an emotional investment for or against a political narrative.

Because, why should I work harder when they are going to screw off and take credit? Our nation's political & media class just isn't interested in solving problems anymore. They aren't interested in action. They are interested in argument. And we enable them to behave that way.

Like little kids who have to clean up a mess, they forego the 5 minutes that it would take us working together to spend 15 minutes arguing with their parents, stomping around, blaming the siblings and carrying on when they're not getting their way.

And we, the American People, are their enabling parents, our collective learned helplessness allows the children to run the household. Our interest is videotaping the specatcle and uploading it to YouTube.

The politics of blame will get exactly zero droplets of oil off our shore and out of our sea. It will cap exactly zero blown wellheads. But it will attract pageviews, radio listeners, television audiences and advertising dollars.

What? Are you not entertained?


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