Responsibility

Texas Lieutenant Governor Patrick volunteering to die for the economy got me thinking about the issue of responsibility. Politicians on the Right have long claimed ownership of the issue of personal responsibility while always managing to duck when the time came to take any. This goes back at least to Ronald Reagan (plausible deniability) through George W Bush (mistakes were made). Contrast that with Truman (the buck stops here). They are by now so confident of their ownership of this issue in the public eye that they have dropped any subtlety in making their outrageous claims. We now have a president who constantly makes contradictory statements enabling him to claim he was always right while never admitting to any mistake with no discernible accountability. Going back to Lt. Governor Patrick, he was defending the re-opening of the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic while offering to risk his life for “our” children and grandchildren, knowing full well that he risks nothing personally in his line of work. What he was actually volunteering was the well-being of Texans whose jobs cannot be done without risking exposure to the virus. This is not much different from the president limiting availability of tests for the virus for the public at large while having unlimited access for himself and his friends in the administration. I am reminded of the term “chicken-hawk” used by the late Senator Lautenberg to describe politicians, usually from the Right, who are eager to rush into war knowing they or their children won’t actually be doing the fighting. This works even better if the finger can be pointed at your opponents without questions from the press or public – notice how Barack Obama has replaced Bill Clinton as the go-to guy for blame no matter the issue? One has to admire the audacity with which this trick has been refined over the decades and used with such success. True, no one likes to take responsibility for their actions; but Republicans have perfected the art of appearing to take responsibility while, in reality, foisting it on everyone else. Middle-of-the-roaders have a responsibility to do what we can to put an end to this hypocrisy. It will not be enough to end Donald Trump’s lease on the White House. The Biden presidency cannot be saddled with a McConnell senate and Democrats must keep the House majority. The only way to do this is to rise above minor disagreements within our ranks and vote like everything depends on it. Because it does.