It's not my fault
by Matt Worley
There is a familiar refrain that comes when the question is asked: "Who did this?" At work, the answer is usually, "Not me." "Someone else did that part." "I don't even know what you're talking about." And while people do own up to their mistakes more often than not, it's much easier to point at someone else instead of pointing at themselves.
When Enron, WorldCom and other companies collapsed under massive debt, the answer was, "I'm taking the fifth." Sure, we could look at the books that haven't been shredded and guess what went on, but since no one wants to say anything, we can't do anything about what happened. There are new laws on the books that are supposed to punish evil CEOs, but if no one can testify against them (and they, rightly so, won't turn themselves into martyrs for a defunct company), then how do we get accountability?
I don't know what the baseball players want to strike for, and I'm not even sure they know what they want to strike for. But it seems like a good idea to them, I guess. Maybe they're tired of playing this year and want a really long winter break. And maybe some of them made some bad investments and want more money to make them feel better. Not that the owners are the best people in the world, but they aren't locking the players out. The players are threatening to strike. So will someone tell me what this is really about?
The base salary for a MLB player is more than Hank Aaron ever made in an entire year while he was playing. And he was the most prolific home run hitter of all time. I like baseball and have missed, for the most part, seeing games live since Albuquerque's Triple A team got sold and moved to Portland. Next year we get a new team, new stadium, new chance. And I'll be there, cheering on guys who really want to be big leaguers. Possibly only because MLB players have the strongest union in the world. Who knows?
This isn't about the fans. And it's not about the regular people who work at stadiums eight months out of the year (are the players trying to get the beer guy a few more quarters per hour as he lugs Coors Light up and down steps?). And if it really is about the ballplayers making a little bit more money than they do now, all I can say is, "Enough is enough, okay? Play fucking ball!"
A few weeks ago, the Bush Administration vetoed a little over 30 million in UN fees that would have gone to Family Planning in developing countries. Because for many Republicans "Family Planning" means "Abortion Counseling," Bush was lobbied (i.e. paid off) heavily to stop this money from going to the right places. This money affects close to 270,000 people who might need these services, and probably will have to resort to other methods of "family planning" to get through their life. It'll mean bad abortions, no birth control, and many other problems that most people in the U.S. don't have to worry about. A friend tells me that this is tantamount to terrorism against these developing countries. My answer is that we elected an idiot into the presidency, so how can we expect anything less?
The battle drums are getting louder, and they are beating directly on Saddam's Iraqi bunker. Bush talks about clear mandates and terrorist threats and other things he really doesn't understand because when he was supposed to be learning these words back in college, he didn't realize you had to learn stuff in college (I guess since he is actually President, he might have been right). And now he has a lot of the goose-stepping congress marching right behind him. But they seem to be forgetting something. Like the fact that last time we fought Iraq, Iraq had actually done something wrong. They invaded another country. Last time we had an international coalition to help (and pay for) support our invasion.
Now, more than 10 years later, we're looking for someone else to beat up in the name of stopping the scourge of terrorism (something that has been going on ever since men started fighting other men for territory and power). Whose fault is it if the Middle East becomes one big black smoking hole of a place? Whose fault is it if invading Iraq means that all of the other Arab countries put together their own coalition and actually attack us back? Are we defending anyone? Don't they have a right to defend themselves? Don't you think what we do to countries with much less power, arms and people has some affect on how other countries look at the U.S.? Do you really think blowing up Saddam will make things better?
The answers to all these questions are two sided. They involve politics and money and a lot of arrogance. But the most common thing will be, "It wasn't me, it was them." "They started it and we are just trying to fix things." "It's not about who is responsible." "Let's not play the blame game." Well, I am all for learning from your mistakes. But the only way to do that is to admit mistakes were made.
And I don't hear anyone owning up to anything, I just see a lot pointing fingers and nodding heads.
It's time to pull our heads out of our asses.