You don’t have to actually decide to go ahead and do it – frequently, we didn’t do anything wrong.
Just consider it, that’s all. Hear me out and I’ll tell you exactly why.
First, a bit of smartassery from one of my old college roommates, Jason Imar. He used to have a good old time demanding to know if you’d considered homosexuality.
The normal reaction from our fellow nineteen year-old peers was to freak out. “No! Hell, no! That’s disgusting!”
And you know, sit there and think about it, and practically everything our bodies do is disgusting. Eating, crapping, sweating, farting, and yes, sex – any kind of sex. Think about what’s actually happening, and that ought to gross you out a little bit.
“Well, damn,” Jason would muse. “If you haven’t considered it, then you don’t even know if you’re gay or straight.”
Just watch the frat guy heads spin around. “I know I’m not gay exactly because I’d never consider it!”
“Doesn’t make any sense,” Jason would tell them, then he’d point to a woman across the room. “How about her? Would you like to sleep with her?”
They’d look and think about it for a second, and then Jason would say, “See how you’re considering it? You could be refusing to consider homosexuality exactly because you’re afraid you might be gay. That’s why you should consider it.”
Then they’d try the old frat guy checkmate – always starts with the same two words. “Oh, so you’ve considered it.”
“Sure. Nothing wrong with considering it. Watch.” He’d put his finger on his chin and kind of gaze upward, thinking theatrically. Then after a few seconds, “No, doesn’t sound like I’d be into it.”
“I’d never consider it.”
“That makes me straighter than you.”
Considering something. Thinking about it. We do it all the time before electing not to do something. Before rejecting something as false.
Consideration is the harbinger of wisdom. Consideration is what your brain is for.
So it’s very rare that the act of considering something is a bad thing.
Sometimes I consider getting out of my car and smashing someone’s windows with a tire iron, and then yanking them into the street and explaining common traffic courtesy to them. When I do this, upon consideration, I am able to come up with decent reasons to refrain from it, every time.
Usually, it’s some kind of law that stops me, other times it’s more like the odds of getting away with breaking those laws are too slim. Sometimes, it’s because I find some inner peace or something – don’t laugh, I have inner peace out the yin yang, I just keep it bundled up in my pocket so it doesn’t distract me.
So anyway, when I hear the Fox News crowd wringing their hands about people who like to Blame America First, I’ve got the same question Jason used to have for the frat guys.
Have we considered blaming America first? And if not, then how do we know that we aren’t to blame?
There’s really nothing radical about it. That’s how I handle things within my own family. When something goes wrong, the first person I look to for blame is myself.
Was there something I did which caused this? Is there something I should do in the future to keep it from happening again? To me, as a husband, a father, and a grown man, that is what responsibility is all about.
I’m pretty hard on myself, too. The way I see it, not everything is my fault, but everything involving my family, is my responsibility. In order to be responsible, I have to know when I’ve done something wrong. And as a human being, trust me – I get a lot of stuff wrong.
A guy taught me that, not my father, just a guy. He died of cancer the week after he taught me that, and inside of one year, I was a father and a husband, and I never forgot what he said. Quit running from the responsibility. Quit mewling like a spoiled brat. Turn around and face the past, and look with your eyes open upon all that you’ve done, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Own it. It’s yours. That’s being a man – as I choose to see it. An adult, I suppose, though we were very definitely speaking man-to-man, about the notions of fatherhood and marriage and old-fashioned honor.
Open your eyes and decide, in what ways am I to blame for this, and what can I do to make it right?
Odds are, if you can’t think of anything, then you are deluding yourself. We are men, not gods. Screwing things up is what we do.
Yes, and we are a nation of men, a nation of adults. The notion that we are never to blame is dangerous, and delusional, and irresponsible. We are not perfect.
We should consider blaming America first for those very reasons. Because we can’t improve ourselves if we refuse to look in the mirror. We’re never going to get back in shape if we insist that our beer gut isn’t there in the first place.
Considering something doesn’t make it true. Considering something is how you determine if it’s true. What in the world is wrong with that?