Back in the year 1530 the term scapegoat officially entered the English language. Presently the dictionary definition is “a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.” The term is traced back to Yom Kippur when the high priest symbolically laid the sins of his people on the head of a goat then chased it off into the wilderness … thus taking their sins away.

It seems to me that there’s sure been a lot of political scapegoating going on lately and since I’ve never been very good at having other folks bear the blame for my deeds I felt I had to say something.

First off, let me say that one of the reasons I left politics was that my skeletons were falling out of my kids' closets. At one point they said, “Whenever someone wanted to know if they were related to me we all asked them why they wanted to know before admitting that they might be related to me.” By the way, such is the price of public service, but I digress.

I need to remind both my loyal readers that there’s no such thing as a self-made man. Anyone who tells you that you became who you are all by yourself is just bragging. None of us would be here if it wasn’t for the folks around us. As for me, I can’t adequately express my gratitude to the folks who have picked me up when I was down, or knocked me down when I needed it. Indeed, the folks around me played a huge role in making not only me but you as well into who we are today.

Since all of us have either been the scapegoat or scapegoated someone else, take a moment here to think about being on either side of this crazy-maker. I’m very guilty of scapegoating my younger siblings more than they ever did me, “I didn’t do that … Bee or Denny did!” But then again I also became an occasional victim of their deceptions.

As I recall, being goated or goating was not a pleasant experience. Being guilty, paranoid, angry, hurt, betrayed are not easy things to carry around. So I’ve tried my best to stay uninvolved in this behaviour by owning up to my actions rather than dumping my problems on someone else. Over the years I’ve learned that the truth will indeed set you free and lies need to be not only covered up, but kept in extremely tight circles that are willing to not only protect you but fall on their swords for you, i.e., take on your sins.

So, not having much of a life, I’ve been paying attention to the many political sides hoping to figure out what’s going on in Washington D.C. To say it ain’t pretty is an understatement. Who should we believe/trust? Where’s the truth? How did we get from Russia to treason? There sure seem to be a lot of folks falling on their swords in order to keep us from looking at the goings-on behind the curtain.

I’m quite sure both my loyal readers will be surprised to note I agree with Steve Bannon in that encouraging Russia’s interference in our elections would indeed be treason. It seems to me that there are two questions that still need to be answered: What really happened? And how will our elected leaders stop it from ever happening again?

So now that you understand the concept of scapegoating I hope you get my drift here: elections are serious business. Some of us remember Nikita Khrushchev rapping his shoe on the United Nations dais while emphatically stating “We will bury you!” We thought they’d nuke us with missiles; instead they seem to be nuking us by getting us to nuke ourselves. The facts indicate that Russia really did interfere with our electoral process, so it’s my considered opinion that we need to quit putting our sins on others and figure out how we the people are going to preserve our republic. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, non-profit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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