Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Hope Trumps Experience

Now that the planets have aligned with Congress and the United Nations giving George Bush the authority he asked for – and the American voters putting a red cherry on top just for luck last week – a veritable festival of handwringing has broken out around the world.

The New York Times today contains a cornucopia of amusing quotes from teethgnashers around the world.

On the front page Syria’s foreign minister tries to put the best possible spin on what amounts to a global declaration of war against his fellow Baa’thists,

”Now America cannot strike Iraq under U.N. auspices, although of course the United States can strike Iraq unilaterally outside international law.

If this happens, the world will not be with the Americans. It will have to deal with all those demonstrators from Los Angeles to the Far East and the Arab countries.”

So the choice is either deal with a fascist military dictatorship armed with chemical, biological and quite possibly nuclear weapons, or with angry anti-everything demonstrators.

While this may not seem like a tough decision here in the civilized world, in the medieval Islamist wonderland government officials are indeed faced with exactly this choice – brutal repression or angry mobs.

Of course, to the leaders in that region the spectre of spontaneous demonstrations is enough to make any elected despot quake in his jackboots. Surely Bush is no fool!

Further nonsense ensues on the Letters to the Editor section.

Here we find Joyce Appleby of Los Angeles, one of the weapons of mass disgruntlement the Syrian diplomat referred to above, making the case that Republican gains on Election Day are illegitimate because only 40% of American voters bothered to vote. Appleby draws the logical conclusion that every one of those nonvoting 60% supports her view of the world.

”With a 40 percent turnout, American elections no longer test the mood of the people; they measure who is motivated to vote.”

Careful there Joyce, you’re about to trip over the Democrats’ “Every Vote Counts” principle. Or perhaps this is a clarification of the principle . . . something like “Every Democrat Vote Counts, Even If They Didn’t Vote.”

By Joyce’s standard, of course, the outcome of Iraq’s referendum with 100% voter turnout is a more accurate gauge of the national mood than the American elections.

But perhaps the mood of the American electorate is that 60% or more or less satisfied with their representatives, 40% are concerned enough to vote and the majority of those people want the Republicans to have more influence.

That seems to be a fairly plausible reflection of the mood in the United States, unless you live in an insular community where dissent is an alien concept. I suggest Joyce get out and meet some new people.

And finally this morning, J.B. Holston of Golden, Colorado is outraged that the Times . . . THE TIMES . . . would side with George Bush on something as vital to American security as a union featherbedding:

”I am astonished that you urged Democrats in Congress to pass President Bush’s homeland security legislation.

The bill would eviscerate federal unions by reducing civil service protection for employees of the new department.”

Let’s imagine what sort of things a fully union-protected federal employee is shielded from.

Well first of all there is the fear of being fired for any reason including ineptitude, chronic illness, rudeness, treason, sexual manifestation, alcoholism, drug abuse, or the complete inability to perform your job.

But getting fired for threatening your boss in a drunken rage and sabotaging the office data retrieval systems on your way out isn't as bad as all that. There are plenty government agencies where someone with all these deficiencies would fit right in including the Department of Transportation, the General Services Administration, or the Department of Redundancy Department.

And if you can’t hack it at the federal level there is the bloated D.C. government waiting with open arms.

J.B. articulates one of the great unmentionables of the Democratic Party: that unions don’t protect good workers, only incompetent ones. And that’s fine as long as it’s applied to totally inconsequential government make-work programs. But is should be wholly unacceptable when the lives of innocent people are at stake.

Thankfully, people like J.B. are a minority of the 40% of voting Americans. A less considerate blogger might even say that putting the interests of the federal employee labor unions ahead of the safely and sovereignty of the entire nation is inherently unpatriotic.

Some might say that, but certainly not me.

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