Okay, you know when I start a post out with a statement like that I’ve got something on my mind.
For those of you not interested in hearing more, just look at the pictures – they are all from this weekend and show some of the fall colors here.
The rest of you who are up for some torture, I’ll try to be clear thinking and logical in my presentation.
Yeah, I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet but I don’t think I’ll offend anyone.
And I’ll try not to be too political, although the statement that got me on this topic came from a politician.
So, what has me thinking about what accountability means is a statement by Meg Whitman, republican candidate for governor in California. I heard her interviewed on NPR (yes, this conservative lady listens to that liberal news because at least they don’t yell at each other like the conservative news outlets do). She was asked about her failure to vote in years past, and how that might impact people’s evaluation of her fitness for serving in elected office. In her response she said “I admitted, I didn’t vote when I should have. I’ve been held accountable for that, and now it is time to move on.” or something to that effect.
So, Ms. Whitman basically was equating admitting that she hadn’t voted with being accountable for the fact that she hadn’t voted.
Frankly, if that is what she meant, she got it wrong.
Accountability is more than just admitting you did or didn’t do something. It’s accepting the consequences fully and responsibly for your behavior.
Example: child goofs off at the dinner table and knocks over the milk.
Are you following me here? Do you think I’m way off base?
I hate to see the concept of accountability watered down to “admit what you did and apologize, and then go on your merry way.”
It is much more serious than that. True accountability is to try to rectify any damage that may have been done, and to accept the consequences of your behavior.
While I certainly hope Ms. Whitman wins her race against Mr. Brown, I want to say to Ms. Whitman, it may be that part of accountability is some people will not vote for you because you were not responsible for your vote in the past. Accountability is accepting that consequence maturely and calmly, even if it impacts your chance of winning the election.
Now, perhaps Ms. Whitman cannot do anything to rectify any damage caused by her failure to vote in decades past. I’ll give her that. And maybe the watering down of accountability is really more in her miss application of the term.
I’m not sure.
But what I am sure of is that accountability is more than just admitting a wrong, saying you are sorry and moving on. Please, let’s not make it something less!