An English word that I find particularly intriguing is the word blame. We’ve all heard and used it, from the time that we were very young. In every case that I can imagine, blame is something we don’t want, something that is to be avoided. If you don’t wear the right jacket and it gets cold, don’t blame me. If you spend your money on foolishness, you’re the one to blame.

What’s most interesting to me is the fact that I am somehow enhanced when I can transfer the blame to someone or something else. If I am late for an appointment, I am not to blame – it’s because of the traffic, the weather – anything other than the fact that I was irresponsible in terms of being somewhere at the right time. If we are working together and you fail to complete your part of the project, the blame can be transferred to you and I am no longer at fault (to blame).

If this doesn’t strike you as amusing or enlightening, check out the data we are receiving from those who populate the media. Who’s to blame for Covid-19? Saying that it’s the Chinese is ridiculous to me. They have suffered as much as we have and why would they perpetuate and distribute something so toxic? Are the people not wearing masks to blame? That’s pretty simplistic to me. We can probably agree that if you don’t wear a mask, you are likely to increase the chances of others contracting the virus if you in fact have it. But does it help to make you to blame?

Likewise, those who are responsible for fighting the disease and protecting each other may be inclined to blame others for one condition or another. When we see millions of Americans who are desperately in need of the vaccination, does it help to blame the federal government, the pharmaceutical companies, the transportation entities, or the local hospitals and clinics?

My reaction is generally to suggest that we stop assigning blame and begin assuming responsibility. It works well in the classroom. Instead of worrying about who dropped the pencils or pen or paste, let’s just clean it up. Knowing who did it doesn’t solve anything. And so it goes in the rest of the world. Instead of getting stretched out with establishing blame, just fix it. Get the vaccination to the people whose lives can be saved. Wear masks if only to protect yourself and your loved ones, without assigning blame. From here, the blame factor should remain with empty-headed politicians who would rather point fingers than take constructive actions. Shalom.

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