When we were kids, the way to resolve a dispute (short of fisticuffs) was shouting down your opponent.
"You're a booger head."
Notwithstanding clear nasal evidence to the contrary: "I am not."
And this system of point and counterpoint still exists when we hit adulthood.
Governor Rod Blagojevich is just the latest example. Caught completely red-handed with wiretaps that could not be more explicit, the Governor's spokesperson has indicated that Politician Blagojevich maintains he did nothing wrong.
Others on the edges of the wrongdoing are similarly indignant about any third-party suggestion of misconduct.
It seems that under no circumstances - notwithstanding all sorts of incriminating evidence - did someone ever do something wrong. Today's public official could be caught on videotape shaking down a lobbyist and yet, when confronted with allegations of misdeeds the answer would be the same:
"I have done nothing wrong."
Then the folks in the Justice system have to shout back "Did too." And some months or years later one of the shouters shouts last.
Why can't we change the game to tag?
Each miscreant politician runs around as fast as he can, doing all sorts of his or her bad acts, and then when caught ("tag you're it"), he or she just smiles and says:
"OK, you got me."
That conduct would be so refreshing that people might even vote for a wrong-doing politician (assuming he could run again) who just stood up after getting caught and said:
Jim Randel is the author of the just-released book, The Skinny on Willpower (Clover Leaf, 2008).