He started it!

He started it

Ah, the classic way to dodge responsibility for your own bad behavior – point the finger at someone else who has done the same thing as if that somehow absolves you of guilt.

Happens in the political sphere ALL THE TIME. Conservatives disrupting town hall meetings preventing any real discussions from happening? It’s OK, the left did the same thing during the attempts to privatize social security! Joe Wilson says those famous two words during a Presidential address and the *first* thing I heard was “Did the Dems ever do anything like that?” as if finding an example of their bad manners would excuse his. Oh and the left does it too. So many times on the blogs I’ve seen “But THEY started it!” or “They do it too, and worse than us!” and so on and so on. Tit for tat and no one ever actually acknowledges that whatever the behavior is is just flat out wrong and unacceptable no matter WHO does it. And therefore no one ever stops.

If you are still defiantly thinking it’s a perfectly acceptable way to get out of trouble,how about in this scenario?

At a youth football game, a coach is screaming at his kids. Loudly. Loud enough that everyone on the other side can hear it. Dropping f-bombs and other foul language and statements at his own players, at the opponents, at the refs, you name it, he’s yelling at ’em. You are a volunteer parents holding the down markers for the game which are held on the same side as this offensive coach. For reasons you don’t understand, the referee is not flagging this coach. Yes, they can hear him because one of them even says to you as he walks by “Man, I’ve about had enough of this” but nothing happens. Finally, after 3 quarters of this nonsense and with him standing right next to you as he yells you cannot help it and say something like “I really think you should control your language around these kids. Not to mention that everyone in the stands can hear you.” His response? “Well, that side does it too!” You respond with “First of all, no, I haven’t heard anything close to your language from the other side at all and, even if I did, what bearing does that have on your behavior?” Which of course elicits an even more vitriolic response from the coach and now there is attention being paid to the sideline and who gets flagged and thrown out? Yep – you – the volunteer parent who was trying to get the guy to behave! But you, rather than playing the “He started it!” card and arguing with the refs who you KNOW heard this stuff, calmly represent your side with some dignity and leave without incident so the real point of everything – the kid’s game – can continue in relative peace.

So what happened there? The coach was clearly in the wrong correct? Even IF the other side was “doing it too”. All that would have meant is that both sides were wrong. The point was, the behavior needed to stop. You would probably have no argument with that if you had to hear your kids being yelled at like that, right?

Since when did we stop insisting that people actually grow OUT of their childhood bad habits? Since when did we, as a nation, start letting people get away with the “He started it!” crap?

When is bad behavior just BAD no matter who does it? What example are we setting for our kids? Do you let your kids get away with this? I doubt it! I mean, if you would have gotten in trouble for that kind of out of control, rude, uncivilized nonsense as a kid, then for heavens sake don’t even *think* about doing it as an adult! Or are we really just letting the loud, insecure bullies take over?

I don’t care who used Hitler as a comparison to which President first or that both sides have done it – it’s just plain WRONG – stop it!

I don’t care that both sides have shouted down debate in town hall meetings – it stifles healthy exchanges of ideas that could help everyone and it’s just RUDE – stop it!

I don’t care who started cussing out their team first – it’s also just plain WRONG – stop it!

I don’t care who started it – I want to be able to say like I did to that parent who walked away at the right time – “Thank you for being the adult” and stopping it.

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