What if our leaders accepted blame? | COMMENTARY

“Our leaders have become myopic – both the president and members of Congress.”

“The BUCK STOPS here” was a sign that sat on President Harry Truman’s desk. The meaning of this pithy phrase was that responsibility for performance was not passed on beyond this point.

Truman’s era was very different from our own. America had just emerged from the end of World War II. Reality had been forced upon the president, the nation and the world by a bloody, destructive and costly world war, which ended with the rise of the atomic bomb by America against Japan.

What we see today are leaders at all levels of government who are more quick to pass the buck and blame others than to be accountable for their own words and actions. Until a person or organization makes him/herself accountable, no growth can take place.

Why is it so difficult for our political leaders to take this approach of admitting blame? The answer to that question is revealed to us as one of Catholicism’s seven deadly sins – pride.

I have a friend who often shows me the tip of his ballpoint pen, saying, “This is what we humans know, and the rest of the space in the universe is what we don’t know.”

Why are we humans so full of pride when we are so abysmally ignorant of so much?

It should be easy and rational to admit that we all are fallible and make mistakes constantly. All of us have wrong ways of thinking and acting that cause us and others pain. We are human. Yet, as a matter of self-preservation, we look for others to blame. We pass the buck.

How would our nation be different if President Trump admitted that he made mistakes when he over-promised during the election? What if he admitted that governing is a great deal harder than he imagined? What if he acted more humbly?

It’s my guess that he might win over many of the voters who favored Hilary Clinton over him. He certainly would begin to calm the fear and the uncertainty that is rippling across the nation and the world.

What would happen if the Republicans admitted they wasted the last seven years being the party of “no,” focusing on blaming President Obama for his healthcare policies instead of compromising with the Democrats on a bipartisan plan? What if they had actually worked to come up with a viable alternative to Obamacare instead of trying to create a new plan in three months, only to fail due to splits within their own ranks?

What would happen if the Democrats got over the fact that they ran a lousy 2016 election campaign and ended up losing power? What if, instead, they decided to admit their blunders? What if they focused on doing what is good for the nation, rather than spending their energy on fighting President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who is obviously extremely qualified for the Supreme Court?

The Democrats, out of pride, had to create some lame reasons to reject Gorsuch to compensate for lack of any valid reason.

Both parties are already thinking of the 2018 elections. The way to guarantee a win is to be accountable and to compete to be the most patriotic president, representative or senator by acting for the common good instead of for selfish, stupid, party interest.

Our leaders have become myopic – both the president and members of Congress. If only they could become humble enough to follow the advice of President Harry Truman by acting out his adage, “The BUCK STOPS here,” then our nation and the world would be much better off.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Armondo Pavone is the Mayor of Renton.
Renton needs a defined timetable for homeless shelter | Guest editorial

By Armondo Pavone and Ruth Pérez, Special to the Renton Reporter The… Continue reading

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

Ardra Arwin.
‘Let’s not go out and play!’

A poem by Renton resident Ardra Arwin, age 8

How using a face mask to cover my Asian face could put me in danger

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted.

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Catch each other during this fall

How we can use the quarantine to reflect on necessary social changes

To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful

By Patrick Grubb, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Governor Jay Inslee has been… Continue reading

Letters to the editor for the week of March 13

Reader worries about the county’s reach Dear editor, The article regarding King… Continue reading

As the deadline nears, state lawmakers face a few challenges

There are four major decisions lawmakers are tackling before the end of this legislative session.