They say that the national sport of the Philippines is basketball. I disagree, I believe that the Philippines’ favorite sport (and one it’s actually good at) is the blame game. Its had plenty of practice over the years and it has certainly improved its craft today.
Of course, to be fair, the Philippines is not the only country who plays the blame game; other countries do it too. Germany used the blame game to turn its own people against an ethnic minority: the Jews and it almost succeeded in exterminating them. The blame game is actually pretty easy to play because it relies on human nature.
You see, whenever anything bad happens, people will always look for something or someone responsible. From a more secular perspective, one can even say that religion probably evolved from the blame game. When something happened, such as when a lightning bolt strikes a man’s home and sets it on fire, people wanted to attribute it to something or someone. That was probably when people began to think of forces they couldn’t explain or understand as gods. Whatever the case, the bottom line is that people secretly look for others to blame when something bad happens. For some reason, it’s easier to cope with problems when you know that someone or at least a sentient force is responsible for the bad things that happened to you rather than treating it as a random coincidence or freak of nature.
Okay, back to the blame game and its effects on people. The blame game is effective in controlling the people and preventing them from realizing the truth. As long as you give people a visible target for their frustrations, they will likely ignore everything else. That’s why, if you will notice, many of our officials resort to pointing fingers at one another when crap hits the proverbial fan.
A cruise ship has sunk, taking a few hundred victims? Play the blame game. Point at the people maintaining the ship who will point to the crew who will point to the people who built the ship who will point to the disobedient passengers who will point to the people maintaining the ship.
A typhoon hits a major city, killing thousands? Play the blame game. Point at the people supposed to be watching the weather who will then point to the people supposed to be prepping the citizens for safety and evacuation who will then point to the rescuers who are moving to slow who will then point to uncooperative citizens who will say that they weren’t warned in time.
Has money disappeared from the treasury and now everyone is broke? Play the blame game. Point at the people supposed to be managing the money and they will point at the people giving them the money and they will point at the people who are supposed to be guarding the money and they will point at the people counting the money.
While the blame game can be both fun and interesting to play, it ultimately yields to nothing. You can never really achieve anything by pinning responsibility on someone when that said someone could care less about responsibility. And even if someone is found guilty, what can you do when the worst has already been done?
A blatant example of the blame game can be found in President Aquino’s latest antics when he named all the people he blames for his troubles in the presence of His Holiness Pope Francis. While not really surprising as President Aquino had been blaming the GMA administration, the Marcos regime and the priests who would not side with him for some time, it must have taken a certain amount of absurdity to have thrown a tantrum before an international dignitary. Bad enough that he should act like a child in front of a world leader, he seems to also have forgotten that the Pope came to help the victims of poverty and Typhoon Yolanda, not listen to the woes of an inept man-child.
One can even say that at least Adolf Hitler understood the concept subtlety when he played the blame game. Hitler was more like: “See those rich Jews? Their money rightfully belongs to you! How can you be so poor when there are people who are as rich as them? Surely, they must be stealing your hard-earned income!” On the other hand, Aquino’s rant was more along the lines of a child saying: “See! Look at them! It’s their fault why things turned out this way! It’s them all along! It’s because of that midget Gloria and that tyrant Marcos! It’s because all these other priests wouldn’t help me!”
To be fair, we all play the blame game from time to time. You may not admit to it but when your gadget breaks or your car runs out of gas, the first thing you probably think about is who used it last. There’s really nothing wrong with wanting to know who’s responsible for something as that just proves that you have a sense of justice.
However, we should learn to play the game in more appropriate moments when there is less at stake. In crucial moments when lives are at stake, it is better to use your time to do something about the problem rather than waste your energy in finding the person who started it all. When your barbecue catches fire, you don’t waste time looking for the people who burned them, you put the fire out first and then you look for the guy who turned your barbecue extra crispy.
Playing the blame game only wastes precious time that could be spent on more essential activities. The hand you’re using to point at someone else can often be better used to lend someone who has fallen a helping hand.
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