Man’s propensity for blame, i.e., passing the buck, disowning mistakes and then pointing fingers may have indeed long-existed since the dawn of time, and might have been as old as Adam himself. After all, one only has to only think of his older son Cain’s curt reply, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” in order to lay a valid claim to this.
On a related note, I have been re-reading this great book on federalism by a fil-am guy named David Martinez, and incidentally in one chapter, he had discussed at length (and historically even) about our people’s hidden but widespread “religion of blame”.
(At this, might I also add that I totally believe this trait is naturally deep-seated, DNA material present in all of us, and not merely confined to pinoys.)
So interesting, the book may have been at least sixteen years old, but its message still holds true till today.
Martinez calls it a religion (though I would rather elevate it to culture) because blaming is both accusation and absolution, rolled into one neat package. By thus invoking the ‘victim card’, one is thereby releasing three powerful earthly charms: 1) something is wrong, 2) someone is at fault, and 3) it is not me. In a sense, there is a freeing sensation, and a sort of dopamine-released pleasure that can be had when you just do it. (Nike logo here)
Let us see, when taken in the context of the attitude of some people these days, it had become so much easier to empathize, especially when we’ve gotten the reasons why they resort to blame. In the author’s view, it might as well be our sugar pill, our placebo for these dire times. Imagine, cornered to the wall, with nowhere to turn, and all our senses heightened with fear of the uncertainties and other anxieties, what else is there to do, but lash back? Some of course, might opt for that yoga, meditation, or Yoda thingy, but that’s so movie fantasy-like folkies, and this is real life. For ninety-nine percent of us, we mortals opt to go crazy!
(Note: With alarming spikes in Covid positive cases happening everywhere, sharpened claws have become as common as face shields in these times.)
The complete story goes like this. In one department of health posts, I had jokingly chipped in a small comment about discipline as the more vital component needed in place of the divine intervention prayed for and proposed by another who commented. Almost immediately, a hail of comments (which were nevertheless welcome) had followed, but this time, these replies to me, had that usual pointy ‘finger’ tagging (and tugging) at government: for its inadequate government action plan, inconsistent communications down to village level, and incomprehensive response to the pandemic. All points written verbatim so as not to be misconstrued as whatever.
I retorted in so many words that, whether true or not, let the government answer that. It has yet to pay me to act as an official apologist. My point had simply been, for each and everyone of us to practice discipline so that we can aid in flattening the pandemic curve, with emphasis on ‘each and everyone’. Is there a reason to resort to pointing?
Of course, as I thought to ask, and then re-read A Country of Our Own, I have come to one conclusion: the kitchen is a hot place.