Thursday, September 4th, 2008
Maybe you were one of the 38 million watching and cheering for Barack Obama’s Mile High acceptance speech. If so, you were in good company: friend of SMITH and “Internet Rockstar” Ben Brown was doing the same last Thursday when a phrase caught his attention. Discussing the Republican administration and the mistakes of the past decade, Obama said that “it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.” As Brown explains in a blog post, the words set the wheels turning in his head, and by the next morning he had launched Own Your Failure. “Barack Obama is right,” he writes on the site. “The Republicans should own the failure of the last 8 years… but we all know the chances of that happening are slim! That leaves a lot of failure left to be claimed. Who wants it?”
Brown admits that his initial idea was more of a joke—people could “fascitiously claim responsibility for Bush’s failed policies,” like Rick from Boston, who claimed special responsibility for Iraq with: “That Mission Accomplished banner? That was my idea, but who knew, right? I thought it was all over…” Many submissions run along these lines, with often hilarious results. But some people took the challenge to heart. Brown writes that “many people have posted genuine feelings of guilt, remorse and anger at their own personal failures,” like Megan from Los Angeles, who wrote, “Voting for Bush’s second term. I regretted it the very next day. At least I won’t be voting for his ‘third.’”
“I think people are really starting to realize that they cannot risk being apolitical,” Brown wrote after reading hundreds of guilty admissions. Whether your car sports an Obama/Biden sticker or you’re cheering for Sarah Palin, you just might be fed up with the policies of the last eight years. Claim personal responsibility for the failure of the Kyoto Protocol or berate yourself for driving a gas-guzzler. Both approaches are welcome and encouraged, so hurry up and own your failure.