Blame is an easy thing to apportion. It seems that in life someone is to blame for everything. The war in Iraq is GW and Tony’s fault, even though Congress and Parliament voted to go to war. Road congestion is the government’s fault even though it is us who drive our kids less than a mile to school each day because 15 minutes is too long to walk. Parents are to blame because their teenagers are aggressive and anti-social, even though the parent’s parents never taught them how to do that job and leave them to get on with it without any support.
Government is important. Our laws and social policy set the tone of our society. But society is us. We have some measure of personal responsibility. I like the ‘We, the people’ bit of American political life because it places the responsibility firmly where it should lie, with all of us. ‘We r ra people’ is a slogan which is integral to Scottish life. It encapsulates the same sentiment as ‘we, the people’. This land is ours and as such we are responsible for how it is. The government doesn’t have a poor diet. The government doesn’t suffer from a lack of excercise. The government doesn’t smoke and drink too much.
That means that it is not enough, in fact I would go as far as to say it is unacceptable, for us to tolerate a culture of blame. When one of us fails we all fail. Perhaps our first though should be ‘how can I make this better’ rather than ‘who’s fault is it’. When we start to take that kind of responsibility for our communities, and only then, life for all will improve.