Note: This discussion is cross posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update because it provides a live-action illustration of rationalization. Auditors study the concept of rationalization because that is a factor we consider when thinking through fraud risk assessment during an audit. Part 1 of this series is cross posted here. Exercise for CPAs is to read these two posts, then identify multiple points where the rationalization thought process transforms inappropriate actions into acceptable behavior.
At least one person on the constantly growing list of flaming hypocrites in public leadership has a sense of shame. Or, at least enough shame to realize she should retire. Eventually. Someday.
After two days of publicity about her non-Thanksgiving non-celebration trip to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with family she doesn’t live with, Dr. Deborah Birx made the announcement.
12/22/20 – National Review – Dr. Birx Announces She Will Retire after Holiday Travel Controversy and CBS news – Birx says she plans to retire, citing strain on family.
After two full days of controversy, Dr. Birx announced she will retire shortly after assisting in the transition to a new administration. Presumably, that means sometime in late January or early February. Or maybe March. Or maybe June.
Recall from yesterday the day after Thanksgiving she traveled from her home in D.C. to one of her vacation homes in Delaware for a 50 hour stay with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren, all of whom live in a different home she owns in Potomac.
When challenged about whether traveling to another state with people from a different household during the Thanksgiving weekend was appropriate given her very public advice not to travel at all over the weekend and not to be with anyone from a different household, she provided a splendiferous rationalization.
She was not taking a holiday vacation even though she left the day after Thanksgiving. She didn’t go to her vacation home to celebrate. Instead, she was merely getting her home winterized and that conveniently happened to require the assistance of her daughter, son-in-law, and both of her grandchildren.
In the Newsy interview, she said this was no different than if she had stayed home.
It is obviously just a mere coincidence that the trip took place on Thanksgiving weekend.
If you also recall, while in Delaware she gave an interview to “Face the Nation” criticizing Americans who had the audacity to travel so very far as to go to another state during Thanksgiving. She called that a “mistake.”
(Tidbit of trivia – going from D.C. to Delaware necessitates going from D.C. into Maryland, then into Delaware – two states away.)
On 12/22/20 she announced she will be retiring after assisting the new administration in transition.
Published news reports do not contain any hint of her taking responsibility for breaking her own recommendations.
In her interview with Newsy, she provided yet another fantabulous rationalization. After having been in the limelight almost every day for the last nine months and having given who knows how many hundreds of interviews, this issue has been “a bit overwhelming.”
So that you can see the rationalization for yourself, I will quote her. She said:
“It’s been very difficult on my family. I think what was done in the last week to my family — you know, they didn’t choose this for me. They’ve tried to be supportive, but to drag my family into this when it’s — my daughter hasn’t left that house in 10 months. My parents have been isolated for 10 months.”
(Observation: Her daughter left the house on Thanksgiving weekend. Regular visits from Dr. Birx and the other grandma ((for some reason, childcare is necessary in a household with four adults)) does not exactly count as isolation.)
So it is the media’s fault and your fault and my fault she is in this mess. We “chose this” for her family.
I have news for Dr. Birx.
There are tens of thousands of families in a lockdown situation all across the country. Tens of thousands of elderly are still restricted to solitary confinement in care facilities.
I have more news for Dr. Birx.
You put yourself in this situation.
The media didn’t drag your family into it. Public interest in hypocritical public officials didn’t drag your family into it. I didn’t drag your family into it.