Original URL: http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/index.php?page=opinion&story_id=080403b4_pimentel

PIMENTEL: Placing blame is a fun game as long as you don't play fair
The Arizona Republic
August 4, 2003


I can't reach my toes. It's those advertisers' fault. They made me eat all that junk food. Can't get that attractive person to notice you? It's his or her fault. Nothing at all wrong with you or your line. Depending on your sexual orientation, he or she must be gay or heterosexual.

Hack, hack. Cough, cough. !F!$H$@ Marlboro Man.

Television is boring. All that reality TV. There's no good writing on the tube anymore. TV moguls are obviously doing all this against viewers' wishes.

Greenhouse gases are building up. Of course, this is all a case of faulty science, natural occurrence, the Kyoto agreement, flatulent cows, but not - repeat, not - our conspicuous consumption of fossil fuels. After all, the Hummer is fuel-efficient. It burns fuel quickly. That's efficient, right?

The economy stinks. But it's not because of tax cuts, a ballooning budget deficit, spending nearly $5 billion per month on Iraq and Afghanistan, a much-too-influential Wall Street or lack of confidence caused by corporate misdeeds. It's the consumer's fault.

Shame on us for not spending more and beyond our means because we're worried about paying the bills we already have and wondering if our jobs are safe. We're just plain selfish. Shame on us for not racing to the store and buying a foreign-made product that produces no jobs here, unless we're counting that minimum-wage clerk who just ran it over the scanner.

Not getting ahead fast enough? Didn't get into the school you wanted? Two words: affirmative action. You know, those minorities are to blame. They couldn't possibly be as qualified or more deserving than you are.

Guerrilla war in Iraq is happening because of Saddam loyalists, of course. Frustration over lack of basic services and foreign occupying powers couldn't possibly be factors.

Lying about WMDs? It's the CIA. George Tenet. Those British spy guys who won't share their "secret" information about African uranium even with the allies they went to war with. Those pesky Iraqis for destroying or hiding their weapons. But not George Bush. Someone made him say all this stuff and the buck stops somewhere way over there.

Marriage is under attack! Blame the Supreme Court, gays and polygamists. Hey, you! Quit pointing that finger at all those divorced straight people.

The California economy is so, so bad. Its state budget is even worse. Gov. Gray Davis is obviously the culprit. Uh, wait a minute. If the guy in charge in California is responsible for the economy and the budget there, is the guy in charge nationally responsible for ... ? No need to go there, obviously.

Your state budget a bit lean? It couldn't be the conservative writ of tax cuts, trying to force cuts that never occurred in government spending because the needs didn't go away and a booming population just created more. And that couldn't possibly be why your kids are getting a rotten education.

And, finally ...

Too many Mexicans hereabouts? No hablas? Illegal is illegal is illegal.

Excuse me, can you please refill my water glass and trim those hedges? And, oh, by the way, can I see your ID? Wait a minute. This matricula, given to you by the Mexican consulate and now being accepted as identification by banks over the howls of anti-immigrants and Congress, says you're a, gasp, Mexican national.

Shocking. Just shocking.

I know! Let's mimic Arizona and gather signatures for a ballot initiative that will be a model for anti-immigrants everywhere. Let's make it virtually impossible for those "illegals" to get public benefits that are already virtually impossible for them to get. And let's not let them vote either. Oh, that's right. They can't.

Let's include in this initiative provisions that will make undocumented immigrants even more reluctant to report crimes to local law enforcement for fear of being deported. Yup, that helps.

I'm often accused of playing the blame game. More to the point, the misplaced-blame game. Well, I must be in the right place because this sport is catching on everywhere.

Your state a mess? The United States ailing?

It's those !F!$H$@ immigrants, of course.

O. Ricardo Pimentel is an Arizona Republic columnist and a former Tucson Citizen editor. E-mail: ricardo.pimentel@arizonarepublic.com