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Spin Doctors

Whatever happened to accountability? We seem to be far more intent on making excuses than fixing problems. When we do something wrong, there seems to be more a stampede on making our wrongdoing seem more palatable. Politicians hire people to do this very thing; they’re called spin doctors.

We are our own spin doctors for the most part. When we do something that’s selfish, we tell ourselves that everyone’s doing it. When we do something that is cruel to someone, we find a way to blame the person we were cruel to – they had it coming. When we do something that crosses the line, we weren’t properly informed where that line was.

We all do it. It’s called self-justification. We do it to feel better about our bad choices. We do it to take away the guilt and the responsibility for our own actions (or inactions as the case may be).It is a way to not so much forgive ourselves as to give ourselves an out. It wasn’t me, it was the situation. I’m a good person, I am.

The thing is, we’ve become experts at it. Accountability has become an endangered species; we refuse to face our own music, let alone that of society. When we aren’t accountable, we aren’t motivated to make changes, correct our course. Therefore as a society we continue to get worse and worse, becoming more and more self-involved, less and less concerned about the good of society.

What has happened is that we now no longer even think we’re doing anything wrong because we are finding ways to justify our behavior, sometimes under the slenderest of excuses. We are rapidly losing the ability to self-correct.

There is also the flip side of the coin – we also like to feel like we’re abject failures at everything. We try to be our own harshest critics – I’m no good, I’m a colossal failure, I’m a jerk – but what that really does is excuse us from our behaviors. I’m no good so you can’t really expect any better from me.  It becomes an epic cop-out.

We need to face our own faults without worshipping them. We need to stop making excuses for ourselves. It’s okay to screw up – as long as we learn something from it. That’s what growing up is all about  – learning from our mistakes. When we make the same ones over and over again, it’s a pattern of behavior. When we allow ourselves to excuse our mistakes without accepting the consequences of our actions, that pattern isn’t likely to be broken anytime soon.

And that’s what it really is all about, consequences. We kind of slough them off, disregard them. They aren’t important or any factor at all really when we aren’t accountable for what we do or fail to do. We have to start looking at ourselves in the mirror again with honest eyes rather than looking for ways to weasel out of our issues.

Being a spin doctor is a fine intellectual exercise but at the end of the day we need to lose the concept both politically and personally. We need to teach each other accountability – hold ourselves accountable and our leaders as well, and let neither ourselves or our leaders weasel out of our misdeeds. Until we do, we can count on having leaders who don’t give a crap about doing what we’re paying them to do – because they can get away with anything. We can also count on having a society in which people care more about themselves than one another and that kind of environment isn’t one that is particularly conducive to a good life, let alone an American dream.


3 Responses

  1. Yes, we as a society have gotten quite selfish. We have gotten away from being our brothers or sisters keepers. I feel if we can return to wanting for each other as we would want for ourselves , we can truly be guilt free if a situation that arose goes a fray. I just believe we have gotten away from sound counsel and wisdom. Thanks for the blog on accountability and the lack there.of

  2. Unfortunately, we seem to be developing into a society that is deluding itself into believing that it’s possible to create a world without consequences. I don’t think that we’ve “gotten away from being our brothers or sisters keepers;” in fact, it might actually be more of the reverse. We’ve developed a wide array of “safety nets” to help the less fortunate and people in need. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but we may be letting too many people depend on them too much and thereby destroying their chance to improve themselves and work for a better life.

  3. Accountability stems from responsibility as your cartoon describes. We see such great examples of this as the political race heats up and the idea is how do I spin this to make myself look good.Well thought out , Carlos, so we can’t look at our leaders to give us good examples. We’ll have to start with ourselves.

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