It Is Your Fault

1198076131In Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams tells Matt Damon that the abuse he suffered as a kid was “not [his] fault.” As the realization that he can stop punishing himself crosses his face, Damon sobs. The moment is the emotional crux of the movie, and it still makes us tear up like Tom Finneran.

However, it’s a lesson that our politicians seem to have learned a little too well. In today’s Herald, Jessica Van Sack analyzes Mayor Tom Menino’s inability to accept blame.
“Searching Google for the phrase “Menino blames” turns up scores of hits,” Haslem wrote.
We thought she might have been exaggerating. Nope.

When traffic gridlock shut down the city during last week’s snowstorm, Menino blamed Gov. Deval Patrick and local businesses for letting state and private sector employees out early – even though he cut city workers loose at the same time.

“He must believe nothing is ever his fault,” said Matt Margolis, a Republican political observer who co-founded with his brother. “He’s so insulated from criticism.”

But mayor, some of it is your fault, right? You let city employees out at the same time as the state. Kids in your school district got stuck at school because buses couldn’t get through. Surely you have to accept at least a little responsibility?

Menino’s spokeswoman, Dot Joyce, insisted the mayor merely speaks the truth and “this is not a blame game.”

“It’s his job to fight for the city of Boston and its residents,” Joyce said. “And when other agencies and other people aren’t doing the right thing for the city he will absolutely hold them accountable.”

What’s more, Joyce said, assigning blame often forces change.

“Someone has to raise it to a level of concern before action is taken, and the mayor has done that time and time again,” she said.

Well, so much for that. But at least we have the shining example of Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri to look to for hope.

Oh, wait.

Governor Carcieri fired the executive director of Rhode Island’s Emergency Management Agency yesterday, after heated public criticism of the state’s response to the snowstorm that crippled the state and left commuters and schoolchildren stranded for hours.

You know, guys, Matt Damon’s character still has to accept the consequences of his behavior in Good Will Hunting. That’s why he has to drive to California to get Minnie Driver back. While you may not be totally responsible, it never hurts to admit that you can do better.