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Take This Blame and Shove It
Of all the spectator sports we watch or play, is there any less enjoyable, less satisfying than The Blame Game? It may be unique among all such pastimes in that there are no actual “fans,” as such, of the sport. We watch it with the same grim fascination we reserve for multi-car pileups on the Interstate. We just can’t tear our eyes away from the unfolding pageant of horror.

Other than that sick obsession, there is really no reason to watch. The play is always dirty, there are no rules to speak of, and there are no feats of individual skill or daring to admire. None of the players is worth rooting for, and we are all debased by our participation in the awful spectacle.

Worst of all, there is never a clear winner. No thrill of victory, no agony of defeat, no genuine human feeling of any kind. Just endless polling and punditry and egregious flapdoodling to fill our moments of idle dread. And yet, these contests are thought to have real world consequences, especially in the political realm. Although that proposition remains unproven, those of us who follow The Blame Game never doubt for a moment the solemn importance of this bloodsport.

The recent shutdown drama is a case in point. There was some light chatter about the human consequences of interrupting vital government services, but most of the energy was spent on divining who the winners and the losers would be. And was there some point to all of that? No… because no one could agree on what the score was. It was an utterly meaningless exercise.

It is past time that we do something to address this situation. We need an exact time when the clock runs out, — a moment when we can clearly discern who the winners and the losers are. Come to think of it, I don’t care that much about the winners. It’s the losers I want to know about. In other words, when all is said and done, who can I blame?

One thing I don’t want to hear is this lame pronouncement: “There’s plenty of blame to go round.” No, there isn’t. I want the name of the s.o.b. who screwed up and I want him to take all of the heat. I need a specific individual so that I’m not diluting my aggrievement by spreading it around. Who killed the Kennedys? Contrary to what the Rolling Stones might tell you, it was not you and me. Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan did it, and those are the guys I blame. That’s the kind of specificity I want. Names and stats — especially the final score. I want a head for that dunce cap, a neck for that noose.

But how do we make these determinations? Ordinarily, I would suggest a blue-ribbon commission for such a task, sober and considered people to weigh all the evidence. I fear, however, that we would be taking its members away from more important duties. So how about a red-ribbon commission? I’d settle for that. Red-ribbon commissioners probably wouldn’t be doing anything so vital that we couldn’t convene them as celebrity judges on The Blame Game. They’d be like a Supreme Court for blaming. The difference is that there are no money or rights or jail time on the line — just the reputations of the guilty parties.

Episode One of the Shutdown Blame Game has now come to an end. Surely there will be an Episode Two, but I’d rather not wait to start assigning blame. If our red-ribbon commission actually existed, we would have their verdict already. We could place the blame accordingly, get back to our lives, and resume our worry about things that actually matter. Wouldn’t that be nice?
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee