As soon as we are old enough to get into trouble, we quickly master this skill.
There is a lot of anger across America, anger that has been there for a while but being brought more sharply to the front by the divisive presidential campaign.
Each side says they are here for the American people and want to solve your problems (while at the same time demonizing the opposing candidate).
I have an answer for that anger and many of your problems: It’s not the government’s fault.
It would be so easy if we could lay all the blame for our difficulties in the collective lap of Washington politicians, but so little that ails us is really their fault.
For example, it’s not government’s fault you are angry because of a crappy boss or a co-worker gets promoted due to favoritism or doesn’t work as hard but doesn’t get noticed or that you aren’t paid enough.
Sure, you can say that last one is partially government, after all, the minimum wage could be raised. At least, that’s what the Democratic candidate wants to do.
But, the reason you don’t get paid more is because the company you work for either can’t (in the case of many small businesses) or doesn’t want to (in the case of larger corporations).
Most large companies have one simple goal: make more money. They don’t get there by paying you higher wages. Government doesn’t have anything to do with that goal; it’s basic capitalism, something the Republican candidate says is central to making America great.
It’s not government’s fault you’re angry because you can’t find a good job. Sure, plenty of jobs have gone out of the country, there’s no denying that. Several million, according to many sources. Even if you brought all of them back (somewhat unrealistic), those jobs are mostly in a couple of industries. What about the millions of other American workers who are unhappy and angry? Where do they go? What can government possibly do for them? Is government supposed to do something for them?
It’s not government’s fault you are angry sitting in traffic, cursing that the roads should have been built to handle more cars. Well, okay, it’s local government’s fault, except that when they start that construction, is it their fault when you are angry sitting in traffic, cursing at all the construction snarling traffic? Been there, done that, own the bumper sticker.
It’s not government’s fault you chose to buy a house you couldn’t afford. You could blame the big banks for that, sure, but did you have a budget before you took that loan? Did you really adjust that budget for the cost of the new home? It’s not just the mortgage payment, it’s the utilities, it’s the new furniture and appliances, it’s the moving costs, taxes, insurance. Are you absolutely certain you could afford the house?
Be angry at the government for bailing out private businesses with public money. Absolutely. Don’t be angry at government for personal decisions you might have been better off not making.
There is no magic wand to create jobs. There is no pixie dust that fixes all the roads or raises pay or makes it easier for you to open your own business.
Maybe it was easier to run a small business 40 years ago, but what is government supposed to do, break up Wal-Mart and CVS so you can open a Mom & Pop store? Disband Home Depot and Lowe’s so you can run your hardware shop?
The real problem is what do you do with your anger. It’s so easy to blame the government and chant for change than it is to blame ourselves and actually change.
No candidate is going to do that for you. No government agency solves that problem. You can let your anger distract and disillusion you or you can vote for yourself and real change.
The pursuit of happiness was in the promise of the Declaration of Independence. Take some responsibility in helping yourself get there.