For a couple weeks I have been writing about truth-telling, the directness required to do so, and the vulnerability to examine one’s own motives in doing so. Accountability is a critical feature in truth-telling, and truth-telling is at the core of accountability. For a week my posts also examined an odd sort of victim playing that is incongruent with accountability.
Accountability requires that we understand situations as they are, consider where we have power and control, form a plan for successful resolution, and take action. In this, we do not hold anyone accountable, we become accountable ourselves. When we fail at accountability, we deny problems exists, blame others or ourselves for the situation, or hope, pray, and wait for the problem to be fixed by someone else.
We cannot begin the process of accountability without telling the truth.
Take, for example, the embarrassment of Donald Trump being the front-runner thus far in the race to be named the Republican Party’s presidential candidate. The following responses reflect our national lack of accountability for this situation.
- “He can’t be serious.”
- He is serious. The altered reality in which Mr. Trump lives has allowed him to think and do preposterous things. He is not unlike others whose wealth insulates him from consequences.
- His altered reality is fueled every day by the xenophobia that he has catalyzed in our nation. It is ugly and unspeakable and much more prevalent that we’d like to pretend.
- “The Republicans won’t that happen.”
- Time will tell, but considering Senator McCain’s former running mate, I do not agree. They also put forward Rick Snyder and Scott Walker.
- Who exactly are the Republicans to whom we refer? There are fewer Republicans than Democrats, but they appear to vote more.
- “He will tank in the primaries.”
- Donald Trump may lose the party nod at some point during primaries in the next few months.
- It remains worrisome that his popularity among probable voters is increasing as the Iowa caucuses approach.
- “No one can be so stupid as to elect someone just because of their celebrity.”
- This would not be the first media star voted in as a Republican president.
- Our fascination with celebrity in the US is peculiar, reminiscent of forms of anti-democratic governments.
- Bravo is a television network devoted to celebrity without talent. From housewives to restaurant “wars,” millions watch people embarrass themselves for their moment of celebrity.
- “At least he will be tough on ISIS.”
- He is already being banned from visiting our allied countries.
- No one would describe Mr. Trump as diplomatic or culturally competent.
- “He can’t be worse than Obama.”
- By many measures, Mr. Obama has been a very good President.
- While he has disappointed many progressives who helped him be elected, Mr. Obama has made solid gains in many important social and economic issues.
- To compare Mr. Trump to Mr. Obama illustrates the degree of disregard Americans have grown to have for our elected leadership. It also suggests racism so thinly veiled that it would be arrested as pornographic 50 years ago.
- “It is about time we considered a political outsider.”
- The very wealthy have promoted a sense of estrangement from our government for some time. They do this while simultaneously undermining the success of government programs.
- They are creating enormous loopholes that allow corporations to remove profits to off-shore bank accounts, to create multinational corporations that are mere shells for major US investors, and to squeeze funds from government workers to privatize (read profit from) government services.
- These same “outsiders” are taking tax dollars to support their own profits, then complaining about taxes. Their solution to taxation is privatization which profits them, all the while crying “victim.”
- And, among my most favorite, “The media is making him more popular than he is.”
- It is actually heartening to see that the media are not completely asleep or indifferent to this national problem.
- Blaming the media is akin to blaming the messenger. Mr. Trump is using media, but they are not inventing him.
Most of us in the US are dozing at the wheel in our national and local politics. We might complain over coffee or a drink, but we do little to get out and talk about issues. Without getting clearer about the situation as it is, we are bound to relinquish accountability for our future and we will wonder who got us to where we are.