Avoiding Reponsibility

Many years ago, I was a very successful retail manager. My last retail management job featured me taking a small electronics store in a high-end shopping mall and turning it from a money loser to making a substantial profit within a year. I did such a great job that the owner of the store offered me a great deal to buy it, as long as I agreed to run the store as I paid off the sale. For a variery of reasons, I refused, but the owner was still appreciative enough that he wrote me a check for $20,000 when I left. (Just as an aside, he offered someone else the same deal to buy the store and it was out of business within less than two years, which makes me feel a lot better about the “opportunity” I turned down.)

I don’t tell that story to brag on myself. I offer it up to demonstrate that I understand how business works and I understand how to deal with people. At times, I managed upwards of 200 people, and I know what makes them tick. And one thing that I never, ever, had a stomach for was the “blame game.” Finding out why something happened is far more useful than finding something to blame it on. There is actually little to nothing to gain by pinning blame on someone for something bad that happens. If someone spills something on an aisle, the first person who sees it cleans it up; what would be the point of trying to figure out who spilled it? If someone put the wrong price on a product (back in the days when we did silly things like that0, the goal should be to correct the problem immediately, not to pin it on someone. In fact, the only reason to find out who was ultimately responsible would be to prevent the same thing from happening again later. There is nothing else to be gained. Ever. By the same token, if you are responsible for something bad happening, there is absolutely nothing to be gained by blaming everyone else for what you caused. If you spilled something on an aisle and a customer slipped on it and sued the company for $50,000, there is no reason for me to blame you, but you also should not be looking for someone else to take the blame, either.

I hated working in retail. I was good at it, but I truly hated it. I liked about 90% of the customers who walked in the door, but dammit that other 10% were bad enough to make me hate the entire business. However, the aftermath of this election has pushed me into flashback mode. I am flashing back to my retail career. Who’s fault is it that we are facing the specter of Donald Trump as president in just under a month? Is it the Russians? Is it the media? Is it voter suppression efforts, especially the “CrossCheck” program? Is it the “deplorables”? Is it the professional left? How about the Democratic Party and that damned Hillary Clinton? After all, she didn’t actually appear in several swing states that she barely lost, amirite? What about the people who didn’t even bother to show up?

Of course, we all know the answer, if we’re being honest. It’s all of the above. But really, who gives a shit who’s responsible? We have to make sure this kind of thing never happens again; that’s really all that matters. In fact, we should have been making sure this never happens again for the last 40 years, so this is nothing new. And if you are among those liberals who believes that placing the blame on the Russians, “the Democrats” or even Hillary relieves you of responsibility for what is likely to be an excruciating 2-4 years, you need to get a grip. It doesn’t. Not even a little. As was the case in 2000, if we had appealed to everyone to vote for every Democrat, no matter what, no one would have been able to steal it. If we encourage people to show up and vote for Democrats at every level and we flood the  system with voters, no one could possibly steal another election. How many more elections where a majority of voters doesn’t show up do we have to have before you get that people not showing up is the biggest problem we have?

As a retail manager, the spillage example above used to make me crazy. Of course, the person who spilled it and didn’t tell anyone pissed me off; that goes without saying. However, you know who pissed me off more? It was those idiots who saw the spill and wasted trying to figure out who spilled it instead of getting a mop and cleaning it up. It’s like the professional left this year. There are many who think the fact that the Russians interfered with the election somehow relieves them of responsibility for spending most of the last two years tarnishing the reputation of Hillary Clinton and propagating the notion that, somehow, Democrats were as bad as Republicans, which is nothing short of insane.

It doesn’t.

Yes, ultimately the Russians swung this election. And yes, the journalistic profession essentially sold us out and reported on Trump as if he was a “normal” candidate. The entire press is so enamored with a horse race, they rarely told the truth. They went ballistic over the non-story of Hillary’s email server and they ignored the (quite literally) hundreds, or even thousands, of examples of Trump conflicts of interest and outright corruption. They bought the story that Clinton would win no matter what, and they spent as much time as they could trying to “level the playing field.” So, yes, they are largely responsible for the outcome of this election. However, you can’t discount the influence of the professional left and so-called “progressives,” who spent the better part of two years trashing the hell out of Hillary Clinton. You may think you can just blow that off and you may be able to talk yourself into believing that you had no effect on the election, but really; if turnout had been 60%, she would have had upwards of 350 electoral votes and I wouldn’t even have to promise that the words “President” and “Trump” will never appear together on this blog unless I’m quoting someone else.

If you think you had to verbally assault Hillary Clinton in order to support Bernie Sanders, you’re a fucking child, not a “political junkie.” If you think the Clinton Administration was anything but good for most people, then you have no sense of history and no sense of politics. I know, I know; Bill Clinton “passed the crime bill” and that makes him an asshole in your book. What you fail to acknowledge was that the crime bill was an absolute necessity in 1993. Police departments were ignoring poor and minority neighborhoods and crime in those neighborhoods was off the charts. Also, if you’d look more closely, “the crime bill” wasn’t the problem; it was the draconian sentencing provisions put in place by Republicans that essentially forced judges to sentence people who smoked or sold pot to ten years in maximum security. Also, it’s 2016; even many Republicans are on board for reform that would put fewer people in prison.

Oh, yeah, and another thing; no, Bill Clinton was NOT “responsible” for the mortgage meltdown, in ny way, shape or form. Of course, many of the “progressives” trashing Hillary Clinton also think “the repeal of Glass-Steagall” was a key to the Great Recession when it was not. Yes, that’s right! You progressives who believe that bleating “repeal of Glass-Steagall” as if you have Tourette’s Syndrome makes you look smart are wrong again. That doesn’t mean the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act didn’t lead to the mortgage meltdown, but it wasn’t the “repeal of Glass-Steagall” part that did it. Besides, the bill Clinton signed passed the Senate by 90-9, so his signing the bill was irrelevant to the bill’s passage.

What I’m trying to say is that the complete destruction of Hillary Clinton’s previously vaunted reputation had a lot to do with the lack of enthuiasm for her that was experienced by many voters and the left was about as culpable for that as the far right. That is especially true when you consider that most voters are somewhere in the middle of the pack and they consider the far right to be batshit crazy. When our side, which are considered relatively sane by most people, engages in the kind of anti-Hillary rhetoric as they did, and when they even suggest that Democrats of all stripes are as bad as the Republicans, you deserve as much blame as anyone for this travesty. Not only that, but until you acknowledge that reality, we can never fix this problem.

The problem is that Republicans win too many elections. Everyone who helps in that deserves a measure of responsibility. And if you EVER say anything bad about ANY Democrats during a given campaign, like the one we just endured or the one we will face in 2018, you are helping Republicans perpetuate their dominance and you are just as responsible as any Russian out there.

Our goal for the next two years is to sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up and listen to the people we supposedly care the most about when they tell us the Democratic Party is the only thing that can save us. And then, ALL liberals have to be on the same page. Even if you’re not enamored with al Democrats, you have to get a clue that the worst of them is still 100 times better than any Republican.

Stop looking for who to blame for a while and work with the vast majority of progressives, to get rid of the GOP once and for all. No more blame game; it’s time to win elections. That is far more important than “being right.”