Stocking Up On Scapegoats

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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Things haven't been going exceptionally well of late when it comes to natural resources and basic necessities.

As evidence, I cite the electrical blackout that staggered much of the northeast and parts of Canada a few weeks back.

It's true that the muggers stayed home and behaved this time, but the fact that it could happen at all casts serious aspersions on our power grid infrastructure.

Closer to home there was the gasoline crisis caused by a ruptured pipeline between Tucson and Phoenix that carries about one-third of the Valley's supply.

Gov. Janet Napolitano called it "a problem, not a crisis" -- an unfortunate choice of words that some thought should earn her the same fate as her California colleague Gray Davis.

It wasn't much fun for anybody in a position to take some of the heat, because we Americans don't take kindly to having our lights or gas messed with. In fact, we waste little time looking for scapegoats.

In the case of the electrical blackout, we didn't have to look far. A popular T-shirt, sold in New York, said it all: BLAME CANADA.

Our neighbors to the north have always been a convenient scapegoat, primarily due to their nearby location and to the fact that they're a peaceful people who won't fight back.

In fact, the BLAME CANADA thing has gone so well, I think we should come up with a Top 10 list of people, places and things to blame so we will never again have to accept responsibility for any of our screw-ups:

10. BLAME OHIO

If you don't already know, people from Michigan (and I am one) hate people from Ohio and vice versa. There are several reasons for this, most notably having to do with a football rivalry between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University. Anyway, when the powers that be let go of the Canada theory and started looking into the real source of the blackout, the trail led them to straight to Ohio. When it did, we Michigan natives said derisively and in unison, "It figures."

9. BLAME INDIANA

If there is one thing that people from Ohio and Michigan can agree on, it's Indiana. In fact, I recently had occasion to drive from Chicago to Michigan, cutting across a corner of Indiana in the process. When I later told my nephew about the strange behavior of an Indiana softball team I encountered at a fast food restaurant, he said, "That was your mistake. You don't stop in Indiana."

8. BLAME LA NIA

If El Niño is the good guy, then La Niña is the bad girl who is keeping moisture away from Payson this summer. La Niña, incidentally, is Spanish for "Don't hold your breath, sucker."

7. BLAME SADDAM

It worked so well to blame Saddam for the so-far non-existent weapons of mass destruction, for harboring terrorists, and for being really mean to his people. I say let's lay some more blame on him -- like the Diamondbacks' collapse this year. I mean, how can you focus on baseball when the Ace of Spades is still on the loose.

6. BLAME FLATLANDERS

They're pigs who litter our highways with trash. They use way too much water to live in a desert. They wear flip-flops into the forest and start signal fires with their Bics. What's not to blame them for when you have such near-perfect scapegoats?

5. BLAME SRP

Imagine a faraway land where you can take all the water that falls from the sky home with you and sell it for a tidy profit -- and damn the people who live there. That, in effect, is what SRP does to the Rim country.

4. BLAME SUVs

Gas shortage? No! Really! And we've been so thrifty, what with 90 percent of us driving gas-hog SUVs that nobody can see around or over when backing out of a parking spot. Which wouldn't be quite so bad if we had lots of people to haul around, but you hardly ever see more than two people in these beasties.

3. BLAME BILL BIDWILL

How does St. Louis function without Bidwill to blame anymore. Just because the guy has screwed up a football franchise beyond recognition shouldn't make him a scapegoat for everything else that goes wrong in the world -- but it does.

2. BLAME YOUR SPOUSE OR EX OR PARENTS

Just about everybody has at least one of these, and they can be ever so convenient as scapegoats, especially when used in tandem.

1. BLAME GLOBE

When it comes to county seats, there is Sodom. There is Gomorra. There is Globe. Enough said.

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