Explain yourself or get out | Ott Observations


It feels like we have reached a low point in our national history where leaders are not accountable to explain their actions and decisions while at the same time we have more media outlets than ever to do so.  

As a native St. Louisan and Cardinals fan, I’m still stewing over the decision to fire manager Mike Shildt. It’s not the decision that frosts me. It’s the throwaway explanation of “philosophical differences” that insults my intelligence.  

I’m expected to care and emotionally invest myself in the team. I’m expected to spend $200 to take my family to the ballgame.  As such, I expect a specific explanation as to what the team’s philosophy is and what the manager disagreed with.

If the historic 17-game winning streak was a departure from the philosophy, maybe the philosophy is wrong. If the club only wants to win enough to get in the playoff vs. winning it all, maybe I don’t need to care as much. 

Here’s hoping the journalists that cover the Cardinals hammer John Mozeliak until he provides some real answers.

Many of our elected leaders have Mozeliak’s disease of arrogance where they don’t feel they need to explain themselves.

Most recently, former Secretary of State and General Colin Powell passed away. He led a life of exceptional service to his country, while admitting that the one stain on his personal history was the false accusations made to support our war with Iraq. 

Over the past almost 20 years, the result has been thousands of dead, economic deprivation and institutional instability, the perfect breeding ground for terrorism. 

When has anyone heard a specific explanation about the lies used to justify the war from President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (now deceased)?

We live in a country founded on the ideal of government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” We are those people referred to in this ideal. We deserve a specific explanation of decisions we don’t agree with and specific information to help us understand a divisive situation better. 

This is a core responsibility of Congress members when they take office and swear to an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

If any of us don’t like a responsibility of our job, we either suck up and do it or find a different job.  It is fair and just that we should demand the same of our governmental leaders.

For example, I want to know specifically why Congress members representing Southern Illinois would not support an investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on our Capitol (and many state capitols at the same time). If they thought this was a peaceful and legal protest, I want to know why they hid instead of greeting these people and talking to them about their grievances.  

I want to know exactly what our president did between the 1:30 p.m. beginning of the assault until the 5:02 p.m. departure of the National Guard from the D.C. Armory. I want to know exactly and specifically why some elected leaders refused to certify an election that had passed the greatest scrutiny in our history with flying colors.

I don’t get to ask these questions directly. But our media can and has been doing so since before the American Revolution.  Any leader that wants to meet their responsibility to explain themselves simply has to arrange a press conference, then patiently answer specific questions whether they like them or not.  

What’s on video will look and sound the same on Fox News or CNN.  What’s in reputable newspapers will reflect what’s on video and must be defendable as accurate in a court of law.  

There is nothing fake about this.

When our children, particularly in their teenage years, do questionable things we demand answers.  Usually at some point we “call bulls***” and demand a more specific, straight answer.  

Why don’t all of us have a similar demand on the leaders of our country?

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