The Blame Game Has No Winners

I remember that I was just a kid and I had just gotten my license.

The very first time I made the turn to go into our garage, I missed the mark and took out a huge chunk of the wall.

My Dad hadn't come home yet, so I frantically tried to patch the wall. I thought I did a pretty good job. He'd be none the wiser, I figured.

I was wrong.

He apparently recognized the damaged as soon as he came home, but he didn't say a word at the time. In fact, he didn't say anything for days.

He asked me how my driving was going.

"Fine," I said.

Was I comfortable behind the wheel?

"Yes," I added.

More days passed. Then, coming home some weeks later, I discovered the garage wall that I had plowed into had been re-done... much better. My Dad had fixed it... much better.

Somehow I knew he knew, but I couldn't face him.

It was then that we had our talk. It was not as much a "talk," actually, as him launching me into orbit.

I remember him saying it wasn't so much my plowing into the garage that bothered him, but the fact I never owned up to it; that I never took responsibility.

"Grounded," would have been too kind a description for my punishment.

But I think of my long-gone Dad now and the ease with which politicians of all stripes fail to take responsibility for their votes and their actions. Those who voted for war in Iraq based on the same intelligence, but now say they didn't know. And those in corporate America who shift blame for shoddy bookkeeping and argue they didn't know.

My dad would ground them all. And he'd be right.

Better the guy who blows it and admits he goofed, than the guy who covers his tracks and insists he never did.

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