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Shifting The Blame
B. Carradine
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Blame, Shifting.

TITLE: Shifting The Blame

It begins very early indeed with the human family as we can see by studying the children. Only let there be a row or rumpus or some kind of misdeed among them, and then observe the father and mother step into the room to find out the cause of the trouble, and he will soon discover that he needs not only Pinkertons Detective Agency, but a large number of Le Cocqs and Sherlock Holmes in order to find out who is the guilty one. From the noise that preceded the fathers entrance into the apartment, where the commotion began, it seemed that a number of small Bengal tigers had gotten loose and were after each other; but as the paternal or maternal voice and foot was heard approaching, and the door opened, behold a little flock of peaceful, innocent looking lambs.

O no! It wasn't me, mamma! I was just standing here doing nothing at all, papa! It was Brother John, or Sister Jennie that did this or that, and thus and so and the other! I told them not to do it! It was they who did it! I didnt do a single solitary thing! I was just standing here. And behold likewise spake they all after this fashion. The only variety in the monotonous humbuggery of the scene is the change heard in names.

Jimmie said it was Johnnie, Johnnie laid the blame on Jennie, Jennie shifted it to Jimmie. As for the rest of this piece of family disturbance, each one was just standing there doing nothing; in fact, they had not done a single thing but just stand there.

As we have brooded over these domestic scenes we have been struck every time with the marvellous similarity to the occurrence in the Garden of Eden. Adam said it was Eve, Eve laid it off on the Serpent, and so they tossed the ball of culpability from one to the other.

Track this same practice of shifting blame into the realms of gross sin, and who will be able to get the exact truth if human judgment is based on the word of simply one of the parties. The woman throws the guilt on the man, the man casts it back on the woman. Society as a rule sides with the first case, but God pronounces that both are equally guilty. Excuse and argument and self-defense may abound and flow from lips and pen, but towering high above all language of crimination and recrimination, are the facts, that temptation is not compulsion, that every soul, be the person male or female, has a burglar proof door to the heart that neither man nor devil can break down, that this strange portal unlocks from the inside, and so there can never be outward sin until there is inward consent.

These immutable truths, however, do not prevent the guilty from trying to cast the responsibility on other shoulders, though the very self-defense does not agree with actual occurrence, and contradicts the greater facts of our moral and spiritual constitution.

Who is going to get the reality and certainty of the matter in these cases? Will we obtain it by listening to one party to the exclusion of the other? Behold their histories contradict. The man declares that the fault lies with the woman, the woman as warmly affirms the whole difficulty rests with the man. Both are snow white innocent lambs. Neither one had said or done a single solitary thing out of the way. He or she was just standing there with their arms folded, a crown upon their foreheads, and a harp within their hands! The other party raised the rumpus!

So the old Garden of Eden scene is continually being re-enacted before our eyes. We have only to listen and we will hear it a dozen times a day in the domestic and social life; or pick up the morning paper and there it is telegraphed, paragraphed, photographed and illustrated in every kind of mode and fashion. She killed him, but she was not to blame. He left her, but he was not to blame. O, no, of course not! He was just standing there doing nothing, and she was just standing there and had not done a single solitary thing. They were both lambs; would not have known a tiger if they had seen it.

In view of their innocence and gentleness and general lovability, the Garden of Eden might be remaining to this day so far as they are concerned. It was the other one who had made the mischief, and wiped out the Paradise in the heart, home and social circle. They had nothing to do with it. Or they were led into it, or driven into it, and whether led or driven went in with a crown upon their foreheads and a harp within their hands!

And lo, as they tell the story that makes them lambs and everybody else wolves and lions, the frown is on their foreheads and a rolling pin is in their hands.

Living Illustrations By B. Carradine.

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