William Wordsworth said that poetry comes from the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” This perfectly describes the point at which I become compelled to blog. I allow the powerful feelings to build up over hours, perhaps days. The feelings begin to interfere with my ability to think about anything else, and I’m left with no choice but to sit at my laptop and write.
As I snuggle inside, enjoying another southern snow day, I cannot help but react to the news blips I have heard over the past few weeks in not-so-Hotlanta. The snowy debacle of January’s Snowpocolypse was a true testament to the layers of blame that our community piled on our local officials. Atlantans blamed the DOT, the Governor, the Mayor, the weathermen, and even the south for the horrible conditions here a few weeks ago. Each of these individuals and groups were placed on the stand and forced to testify. Not surprisingly, they all had someone to blame.
We live in the sphere of CYA (cover your a*&). Everyone has to CYA in order to avoid the proverbial finger pointing. Alibis and justifications are more important than fresh fruit. We fear decision making as it brings impending censure. When decision makers decide in error, they are crucified by those around them, which causes them to lash out in blame-game desperation. It becomes vicious. Rapidly.
This blame game doesn’t live exclusively in city politics- it plagues our schools, too. Communities blame schools and teachers for low test scores, low grades, and low self esteem. Teaching in the modern world is a daily CYA workout, where hours are spent determining ways to reteach, intervene, help, nurture and placate our youngsters in a way that will offer the least resistance from parents. Everything we do must be justifiable, or there will be blame.
We are going to back ourselves into a corner where no one will be willing to be the decision maker. Who would want the responsibility? Our pool of leaders will eventually dwindle, as no one will want to risk the blame. Only true CYA geniuses will fill these slots; those with the true power to self-vindicate, yet these may not be people that we should trust. We will run out of city leaders, teachers, and school administrators, who have tired of the sport of CYA. Our worthy leaders will seek shelter in safer careers; careers not so badgered by blame.
Folks need to start a grassroots “STOP THE BLAME” campaign.Blame is a bully who has to find a victim. If we don’t hurry, there won’t be blankets broad enough to CYA adequately. Blame is not a food group; we do not need it.