Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Jewel of Denial

What is it with these people who consistently find someone else to blame for their problems, claim they’re not responsible for something, or deny that there’s a problem in the first place?

Watching clips of Rupert Murdoch testify about the hacking scandal in front of Parliament yesterday, it was like he had no clue as to what had happened in his own company, and he refused to take any of the blame, even though the definition of leadership is that you, dear Leader, are the one person who is responsible for what’s done under your authority. That’s why you get the big bucks. If the goal of Mr. Murdoch’s testimony was to shield him from liability, it was an epic fail, and all it did was make him look pathetic.

But Mr. Murdoch is only one example. Everywhere you look you see people dodging and weaving to get away from the shit rolling towards them. Speaker of the House John Boehner practically ran away from the budget/debt ceiling talks, throwing that live grenade to his minion, Eric Cantor, who promptly walked out of the talks just to make the point that he wasn’t really interested in doing something; it’s much more fun to be on the outside screaming than inside actually doing anything. In a fit of irony that rises to Onion-like parody, the Republicans are blaming President Obama for the Bush administration’s deficit and the recession that started in 2008.

Mr. Cantor is a comparative grown-up when you look at the number of his fellow Republicans who are denying that there’s any reason at all to worry about the debt ceiling and the very real possibility that a default could be devastating for the financial — and real — world.

It’s not like this is a new phenomenon; it’s human nature to find a way to dodge a bullet and deny culpability for your actions, and we’ve seen it in our leaders of both parties, including presidents I respect and admire. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of pathological denial of reality as a part of a political strategy taken to such lengths before, and it has led us down a dangerous path. These people shouldn’t be in charge of a lemonade stand, let alone running a country.