The car owner knows he must change the oil in his Civic from time to time, or his neglect will damage the engine. The drill sergeant understands he must prepare his rookies for combat, or they may fail to perform on the field of battle. The intensive-care nurse must keep a watchful eye on the patients assigned to her, or one of them may die.
All adults worthy of that name bear responsibilities. Good parents see to their children’s education and give them a framework for truth and morality. The best home-builders give their customers an honest day’s work and excellence in their craft. The attorney charged with helping men and women accused of driving under the influence does his best to see that his clients receive just treatment from a court of law.
And when these folks fail, the consequences can be dire, and in most cases, they must answer for their failures. Real adults take responsibility for their actions.
Unless they are living within the confines of the D.C. Beltway.
When the policies of the leaders in our federal government go bad, bringing destruction and ruin to citizens, few of those in charge take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. For the most part, they simply remain silent and move on to the next project.
Remember the disastrous withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, that calamitous week when we left behind thousands of friendlies and billions of dollars of military equipment to the Taliban? No one in the government took responsibility for this cut-and-run failure. No generals, no politicians, and no bureaucrats resigned their posts or even apologized for their mistakes.
Ditto for the lockdowns, masks, and missteps of the COVID pandemic. Many observers now report that the damage done to Americans by governmental policies dwarfed those inflicted by the virus, yet where are the official pleas for forgiveness for these mistakes? Where are the politicians and bureaucrats saying, “We really messed up. We’re sorry, and it won’t happen again?”
Almost two years ago, Hunter Biden’s laptop with its corrupt international deals and pornography surfaced in the news. At that time, our politicians and many in our media denounced those revelations as Russian disinformation, and so helped elect Joe Biden as our president. Now these same sources are telling us that the president’s son laptop is real and indicative of deep corruption.
Once again, no apologies, either for their ignorance or for what seems an intentional cover-up.
And now our elites in the Capitol are saber-rattling about the Russia-Ukraine War. Has anyone in an official capacity stepped forward and admitted that this war was in part caused by American diplomatic blunders over the last decade or more, blunders that continue to this day? And are we really prepared to go to war over Ukraine, a conflict that may bring nuclear weapons to the battlefield?
Sometimes it really seems as if we’ve gone mad.
Remember President Harry Truman, the guy who was responsible for dropping the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who fired General Douglas MacArthur for insubordination during the Korean War and caused a firestorm of protest? On Truman’s desk was a sign reading, “The buck stops here.” That idea in our Capitol now seems as quaint as jalopies and petticoats.
But here’s the good news: Americans are increasingly aware of the arrogance and posturing of so many of their leaders, and of their refusal to accept responsibility for the horrendous damage they’ve done to our nation.
In the February edition of Chronicles Magazine, H. A. Scott Trask has written a fine article on philosopher George Santayana, a man whose ideas remain pertinent to today’s politics. Trask ends his brief biography with these words regarding some of Santayana’s observations:
There comes a time in the life of peoples when ‘the accumulated illusion suddenly collapses, and then for the first time we rub our eyes, and notice and express literally what we see and think,’ he [Santayana] wrote. What is that but the great reveal of the last six years in America, triggered by the Trump presidency? And what does it mean other than that a kind of spell has been broken, and the governing class stands revealed as incompetent fools who have grown rich betraying their country. Their time is passing…
We must all hope that Trask is correct, that our governing class is now revealed in all its corruption and foolishness, and that “their time is passing.” For many of us, that time can’t come soon enough.