This has been a blog frenzy! Perhaps I would have put these all together, but they're shorter this way.
So here it is.
Accountability. Conservatives love this word. It is third in their lexicon behind "life" and "free markets". They eat this stuff up. They want you to know that they don't take anyone's guff and they don't help out cheaters. Roar!
Liberals don't like the word, not because they are wimps, but because Conservatives only like half of their words, but repeat it over and over, killing us with misunderstandings. Like their "culture of life" which only cares about living things when they are fetuses, but the second it wants to be born, they turn a blind eye, or their support of death penalties, war-making, and guns; the concept of accountability only refers to punishment and as a means of evaluation for those things they want to dismantle.
The truth is that accountability isn't about punishment, but a framework of evaluation that allows us to see how things are and change them when necessary. I noticed in my own diocese that many individuals drop the ball, but there is no recognition that they have screwed up, nor is special attention been given to those that carried the other person's weight. This is an example of no accountability.
I have just posted two other blogs about this, without actually saying that. One is the character assassination of Dan Rather, and the other is our bad memories of 9/11. Both cases are examples of failed accountability. The problem with these examples, however, is that it is impossible to hold the people accountable without punishment. Positive reinforcement is a much more effective teaching strategy than positive punishment (or negative reinforcement or punishment for that matter), but Republicans, for all their love of "incentives" to "encourage market growth" don't respond to anything but punishment. They won't do what they are encouraged to do, just not do what they are not allowed to do.
What we need most is accountability of failure. When a person doesn't do what they were supposed to do, you need to have a meeting and an expression of disapproval and disappointment; this is regardless of whether or not both parties know that the other party knows that the one party screwed up, it must be put out in the open. It needs to be stated for both parties to take it seriously. When a government uses torture, commits federal and international war crimes, ignores international treaties, etc. we must put our disapproval out in the open. We can no longer expect our News Media to be a watchdog for us. We can no longer expect our Congresspersons to look out for our interests (let alone tell the president what we have told that person). We must be the ones that hold our leaders accountable. We should have been doing it all along.