Jamie Freeze Baird
Pointing fingers...it's the American way
By Jamie Freeze Baird
February 14, 2010

Ronald Reagan once said, "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." Let's face it. American politics has degenerated into a profession of prostituting values and integrity for money and fame; then, when politicians are caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they point the finger and shift the blame. As a native North Carolinian, I know all about politicians who have "prostituted" themselves for money and fame. Look at former N.C. House Speaker Jim Black. He's serving federal prison time for bribery, obstruction of justice, and campaign finance violations. Or look at the most recent scandal to rock North Carolina: John Edwards. It takes a special kind of man to father a child with his mistress (then deny it) while his cancer-stricken wife is left to raise his other children. And of course, let's not forget other politicians from the right side of the aisle like Mark Sanford or John Ensign. Neither party nor ideology has a monopoly on morality, personal responsibility, or accountability at this point.

Of course, American citizens will imitate their leaders. When their leaders are caught with their pants down (or in other compromising situations) and then try to weasel their way out through lies and blame-shifting, the people will do the same. Americans already have a hard time with personal responsibility. It's never our fault. Blame the government, blame the schools, blame mom and dad, blame the media, blame Hollywood, blame God, but never look in the mirror and blame yourself. That's un-American.

In a recent New York Times and CBS poll, 31 percent of Americans still blame Bush for the current state of the economy. Interestingly enough, 7 percent blamed Obama, 23 percent blamed Wall Street, 13 percent blamed Congress, and 10 percent blamed everyone. Far be it from us to look at ourselves and blame ourselves for getting risky loans, buying houses we couldn't afford, making large purchases on credit, and not budgeting wisely. Granted, there were people hurt by the economy who did everything right. I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about Joe Schmoe who only made $40,000 a year yet bought a $600,000 home, two new cars, and a boat all on credit and high interest loans. Somehow, I don't see how Bush, Obama, Congress, or Wall Street is to blame for that.

American consumerism is out of control. Living within our means is an anathema to many Americans. We need to understand that we should not rely on the government or Wall Street to look out for us. The government was never supposed to be our parent; rather the government exists only to protect us from each other. If the government strays beyond that boundary by deciding to protect us from ourselves, then it has gone too far. Americans are used to having a government safety net to catch them when they fall. This had bred a lackadaisical attitude that has excluded personal responsibility and accountability from the vocabulary of Americans. It is easier to blame someone else. Much easier than looking at our own actions. However, I believe it is time to restore the American principle that each individual is accountable for his own actions.

We need to start creating a culture of accountability by electing officials that have a keen sense of personal responsibility and integrity. We also need to start living our lives in an accountable manner. If this means reducing your credit and living within your means, then do so. If this means hanging onto your car instead of purchasing the newest model, then do so. If we do not curb our fiscal irresponsibility (as individuals and a nation), then we are doomed. The government is broken and may not be able to catch us when we fall. We need to return to the mentality our grandparents had of "pulling yourself up by your bootstrap." When we get over the pointing of fingers and blame shifting, only then can this country be great again.

© Jamie Freeze Baird


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Jamie Freeze Baird

Jamie Baird received battlefield experience in the war of ideology while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, she served as Vice President of the College Republicans and was the lone conservative opinion columnist for The Carolinian, UNCG's student newspaper. After surviving college without becoming a liberal, she graduated in 2009. Jamie received her Master of Arts in Government, with certification in Law and Public Policy from Regent University in 2011, where she was also active in the College Republicans. You can contact Jamie at jamiebaird12@gmail.com with questions, comments, rants, and snide remarks.


Receive future articles by Jamie Freeze Baird: Click here

More by this author