(A Populist Capitalist Blog)
Excusitis is the unwillingness to accept responsibility for our actions and their consequences, either individually (the dog ate my homework, I slept in, I had a flat, I studied, it’s not my fault the test was hard) or collectively (national debt? deficit, what deficit?), or as a cultural sub group. Like most diseases, excusitis grows worse if it is not diagnosed and treated.
Here is the transcript of a police video of a DWI, from the May 2009 issue of Harper’s magazine, p. 26. It is an interesting example of excusitis in action.
(From a video recorded shortly after midnight on October 10 at police headquarters in Glastonbury, Connecticut. State Superior Court Judge E. Curtissa Cofield was pulled over earlier that night after her car sideswiped a parked police cruiser occupied by Trooper Michael Kowal. Cofield, who smelled of alcohol, was arrested and taken to police headquarters by Kowal, who is white, and was processed by Sergeant Dwight Washington, an African American. She was eventually found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.16, twice the state’s legal limit. Cofield, sixty, became the state’s first female African-American judge in 1991. After the incident, Cofield entered an alcohol education program and charges against her will be dropped upon completion. In February, she was suspended from the Connecticut Superior Court for 240 days.)
Judge E. Curtissa Cofield: I need to go to the bathroom.
Sergeant Dwight Washington: It’ll be less than five minutes. Bear with us for just—
Cofield: No, I don’t want to bear with you, I want to fuck you up. I don’t want to bear with you, I want to go to the bathroom.
Washington: I’m just going to do this real quick and then you can go to the bathroom.
Cofield: I want to go now.
[Washington reads charges against Cofield and Miranda rights.]
Washington: Do you understand your rights?
Cofield: Do you? What do you need me to do?
Washington: I need you to sign here.
Cofield: I’m not going to sign anything, because when it comes down to the bottom line, who’s smarter between me and you?
Washington: Are you injured?
Cofield: Yeah, I am. I’m humiliated by your fucking attitude.
Washington: Are you ill? Are you sick?
Cofield: Did you hear what I just said? I’m sick of being treated like a fricking Negro from the hood, yes. Write it down. You’re supposed to be writing down what I say.
Washington: Ma’am, do you have an illness?
Washington: What’s your illness?
Cofield: Negro-itis. Don’t wanna write it down?
Washington: It’s written down.
Cofield: Okay. Thank you.
Washington: Do you take medication?
Cofield: I plead the fifth.
Washington: Do you refuse to answer? No problem. Do you need to take any medication now?
Cofield: Yeah, I need to take anti-Negro.
Washington: Okay. When did you start drinking?
Cofield: Alcoholic drinks or baby formula?
Cofield: I need to go to the bathroom, and you’re not going to be treating me like a Negro.
Washington: I’m not treating you like a Negro. I’m going through a process here. I told you when we came here it’d probably be less than five minutes. But you’re being uncooperative.
Cofield: That’s your interpretation, but we’ll see what they say in court, won’t we?
Washington: Yes. How much alcohol did you drink today?
Cofield: I had no alcohol to drink.
Washington: Do you take any drugs?
Cofield: Oh, yeah. I’m a crack addict. Do I look like that to you?
Washington: Do you take any drugs? Yes? No?
Cofield: [Talking to Trooper Michael Kowal] Can you tell me why you had to bring him? Is it because you had to make this balanced by bringing a Negro?
Cofield: I’m not talking to you. Is that why you had to bring him? Because it’s only valid—if a Negro—if it’s a black-on-black crime here?
Washington: Are you going to take the breath test?
Cofield: Mr. Washington, you better let me go to the bathroom first, or, you know what, you’re not gonna have a job.
Washington: Are you threatening me?
Cofield: Are we dealing with testosterone here, Mr. Washington?
Washington: I need you to take this test first. You know the law, right? The breath test will take less than a minute. And then you can use the bathroom.
Cofield: No, I need to go to the bathroom now.
Washington: Ma’am, this is how the process is.
Cofield: It’s so hard to be a Negro in a white man’s world, isn’t it?
Washington: When you take the test, then you can go and use the restroom.
Cofield: You know, I know my rights. And if you think I’m gonna wet myself, then—
Washington: Okay, just like I told you—
Cofield: No. I don’t need you to tell me anything. And I don’t know how bad you really wanna be the Obama of the century, ’cause I need to go to the bathroom, and I’m not playing. If this is what you have to do to prove that you can be an officer in your county, and if you have to be the Negro of the century, then that’s wonderful, but I need to go to the bathroom.
Washington: Okay. All this discussion, all we’re doing is wasting time.