It is Sunday and I feel the weight on my shoulders of the week just gone and the week that is to come. Perhaps this sensation is why many cling to the Biblical notion:
Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest. — Exodus 23:12
Whatever the trigger, it is in such moment of struggles that I feel most acutely how laborious it can be to commit to 100DaysToOffload. In pondering if I could take a leave pass, it got me to thinking about recent headlines in which I have seen politicians from different areas of the world face a pummelling in the press for taking some ‘downtime’. I’ll leave any specific examples out of this blog post as I think this would cloud the general wondering:
If I seek a day in which I am not on duty, and politicians are merely flesh and blood, should they too not be allowed a moments reprieve?
The immediate answer is no, if for no other reason than politicians, along with lawyers and tax collectors, are among the most excoriated people on the planet. And because the refrain I generally hear when pondering this thought is ‘they wanted the job’. In a sense, this idea of it being a politicians job to carry the can for everything that goes wrong, doubly so if they take a moments relaxation, is also something of a Biblical throwback:
And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited. — Leviticus 16:22
Though there is some sense of satisfaction to be gained from the notion of a scapegoat, there are two key problems with it.
The first is that while an individual may be responsible for a localised act — I might be responsible for not mowing my lawn — I am yet to find an example where a single individual is solely responsible for a nation wide issue. In that while one person can put their signature on a statute and bear the responsibility, that is a symbolic act as the preparation of the law and its enactment require hundreds, thousands or even millions of people to make it manifest.
The second issue, closely tied to the first, is that leveraging a scapegoat runs the risk of allowing us to abrogate the personal responsibility we each have in the making of our society. This is something which animated Margaret Thatcher when she noted:
There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.
As I close this post, I am left wondering if this is all each of us can do when shouldering a responsibility: steadily work through the issue and not take our day of rest. Perhaps 100daystooffload.com is a solution for more than avid bloggers, for it encourages the discipline of taking part in the living tapestry day on day, regardless of the desire to rest. A contra-policy for politicians who chase the ‘need’ to unwind during a national crisis.