SideLines: Someone has to take the blame for the mess

I was going to write an angry column blasting our elected officials in Washington. Specifically, I was going to complain about the government shutdown, which could have been prevented, and will affect all of us one way or another.

I was going to write how tired I am of politicians putting party interests before those of the country, how compromise seems to be a dirty word to many of them. This country was formed on compromise. Do you think Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin got everything they wanted when the U.S. Constitution was written?

I was going to point out how politicians always blame someone else when something doesn’t get done. On the eve of the latest shutdown, indignant members of both parties couldn’t try to work out a last-second deal – they were too busy on CNN accusing each other of not negotiating.

I was going to complain about how President Obama proclaims on national TV his desire to work out a deal which, according to House Speaker John Boehner, means doing everything his way. (If I remember correctly, his predecessor was accused of the same thing.)

And I definitely wasn’t going to leave out how both Congress and the President still get paid during this crisis, while many innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with this mess may lose their jobs. There wasn’t enough money to pay for the funerals of four U.S. soldiers killed overseas, yet a private gym for Congressional members remains open.

I was going to add how fed up I am with politicians who promise everything under the sun to get elected, then do very little once they take office. According to the Huffington Post, the current Congress has passed only 15 bills this session, making it one of the least productive ever.

And while I was at it, I was going to complain about how I couldn’t get the Bears on TV last week, and that I’m disappointed with the new fall lineup, which isn’t as good as I was expecting. (Of course, those are totally different topics.)

But I stopped myself.

You see, when you come right down to it, our politicians are really not the ones to blame. They’re doing what professional politicians do. I honestly don’t think they can help themselves, because I don’t think they know any better. It’s the way a dog chases after a car. It’s in their nature. (Have you ever wondered what a dog would do with a car if he actually caught one?)

The truth is, it’s my fault, and the fault of the millions of other Americans who voted for them last November. We put most of the people who created this mess back in office. We knew what they were like and voted for them anyway. How can we be surprised? What did we think was going to happen? Were any of them going to magically change into normal people?

The bottom line is, someone has to be adult enough to take responsibility for all the problems the nation has now. Apparently, that has to be me.

Our elected officials sure won’t.

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