The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame

I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn’t that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves. For instance, let’s take the issue with the Russians hacking the election. President Obama knew about it but largely sat on the information, while President Trump likely wanted to do the same thing, but leaks made it impossible. So, our focus currently is split, with blame going to one of the two administrations, when it should be focused on fixing the system so that the next election isn’t hacked.

It is kind of like having a barn fire and rather than getting the horses out before they burn, arguing over who forgot to turn the lights off. What is troubling about this is that in the face of some of the most dangerous digital times we’ve ever lived in, our government isn’t focused on making us safe it is focused on using the recurring mistakes to make peers look bad. That is pretty stupid, and the result could be not only avoidable digital disasters, but also avoidable escalation to war. Neither party seems to have a clue that the focus is on the wrong things at the moment. It is almost as if the politicians seem to think that the purpose of government is drama rather than keeping its citizens safe.

The focus on blame isn’t limited to security, though that is where much of the concern does lie, and likely should. It also seems to surround healthcare. We currently have two badly flawed programs tied to two different administrations. Obamacare ignores the excessive cost of healthcare and uses a hidden tax to cover up the massive cost of covering folks who couldn’t afford or didn’t want to pay for insurance before they got sick. Its replacement attempts to reduce this massive tax without focusing at all on the actual excessive cost part. Effectively, both plans simply move around the costs which are unsustainable so different people are taxed to pay them.

Collectively, those of us who have been good about making sure we had insurance coverage are screwed by both programs but the amount of pain varies, based on which constituents vote for which party. Of course, rather than either party focusing on the excessive cost, both parties are focused like a laser on blaming the other for what are both unsustainable healthcare programs. This is the problem with a focus on blame. The actual problem takes a distant second place to articulating with great depth and vehemence the belief that a rival is an idiot. If you were sick and the two parties were your disagreeing doctors, you’d be well advised to buy a burial plot because you clearly wouldn’t survive but you’d know that once you were dead, the blame would fall someplace.