Thursday, April 20, 2006

Jo Ann Emerson Called Me a What!??!

According to a recent AP article my congressional representative called one of my fellow constituents an asshole in a letter. Or as the writer puts it in revealingly discreet prose, “a profane, seven-letter insult beginning with the letter A – ‘i think you're an ...’”

I used to get these horribly condescending emails from my boss. He tended to simultaneously shove all of his duties onto those of us that worked for him and make us look like drooling idiots at the same time. For instance, let’s say that his boss told him to fetch a cup of coffee and he decided to pass the job on to me. (Never happened but frankly I wouldn’t have been all that surprised if it had.) Here’s how he would have handled that. In an email addressed to me and CC’d to his boss, the district manager, the sales manager, our three most important customers, and our busybody receptionist he would have written: “Bryce, My boss asked me to ask you [lie] to fetch him a cup of coffee. Now, I know that you’ve been in our break room 1,385 times since you started working here but I’m going to treat you like the vegetable with legs that we all know that you are. First, the cups are kept in the cabinet about the coffee dispenser. Take a cup. Just one because my boss only wants one. Next, you get coffee out of the dispenser by pressing… Once you have the cup of coffee, stop by my office so that I can inspect it and make sure that you’ve done it right. Then, once I’ve confirmed that it is OK, I’ll let you carry it into my boss’s office while I sit on my fat ass and find more ways to humiliate and frustrate you.”

And what could I do but get the coffee? But first, after cursing to myself, I would write a nasty reply telling him exactly what I thought of him. I wouldn’t censure myself at all. I’d just let the vile juices flow. Then I’d promptly delete the reply, tuck my tail and fetch. (I’m SO glad that I quit that job!)

Now, we’ve all done that, right? And I’m sure that a few of these messages accidentally get sent. It’s an easy mistake to make with email. But this letter from Rep. Emerson was something special.

Here’s the scenario that I see in my mind. One of Rep Emerson’s underpaid but full of zeal lackeys was given the assignment of replying to all of the mail that they had backed up. After reading letter after letter complaining about this and that that his infallible leader had done, he finally had his fill. To unload some of the frustration that had been building he added to the bottom of one of the letters, “You’re an asshole.” Maybe he did it more than once. But one of the letters slipped by him before he could delete that last sentence and it got printed. OK, that’s understandable. As easy to do as sending that email.

But the real delight in this story is that in a note at the bottom of the letter there’s a post script apologizing for the delay. It’s in Emerson’s handwriting. So, she actually looked at the letter before it went out.

Here’s why I find this story so pleasing. It’s not because I take pleasure in seeing elected officials screw up. I’d take pleasure in seeing a lot less of that, actually. No, I love this story because, though we all know that our elected officials and their hangers on have no respect for their constituency, we rarely get such concrete evidence of their disrespect. It’s apparent in the laws they pass and what they do with our tax money. It’s obvious in the campaigns that they run – begging us not to think about the issues but to simply vote based on fear or anger with those that disagree with us. But there’s a small satisfaction in have this disdain for us so clearly demonstrated. It’s nice to have my suspicions validated.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

General Disarray

In a reprint from the Wall Street Journal, my local newspaper published an op-ed today entitled “General Consensus.” It is in response the six generals that have recently come out in favor of showing the Rumsfeld the door written by four other generals.

Basically it’s the usual arguments that one would expect including that frustrating recurring argument that one should not question the president or his administration in time of war. I personally think that this is the silliest argument ever. I think that there is no better time to question a president. If the country has been led into a war the commander in chief had better have some good reasons for taking us there and if not should be brought to task over it. But both sides of this argument are as old as war itself so I won’t belabor it any more here.

What really makes me crawl the wall in this op-ed piece is this statement: “It unfortunately appears that two of [of the six] the retired generals (Messrs. Zinni and Newbold) do not understand the true nature of this radical ideology, Islamic extremism, and why we fight in Iraq. We suggest they listen to the tapes of United 93.”

First, I hate when pundits go opining and make vague and indefensible references like this. Why exactly do you feel that these generals don’t understand the true nature of the conflict or not? Whether you have a good reason for saying that, you come across as mean little men taking a cheap shot if you don’t back up these kinds of statements.

Then “Messrs.?” Oh, c’mon. Really?

But what really gets me is the 9/11 callback. Heretofore, this piece tried to present itself as thoughtful and reasoned in its approach to rebuffing the presidents *gasp* critics. OK, for anyone that’s been in a coma for the last five years or is just too stupid to have gotten the message by now, let me say again. IRAQ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER ELEVENTH, 2001. Print that out and clip that previous sentence. Paste it to your bathroom mirror until you finally get it.

I have no idea why Bush dragged us to war. Some say oil. Some say to perpetuate the war machine. I just don’t know. I know that he’s a liar and obviously has some sort of agenda. But at no time do I think that he believed nor did anyone, that has any realistic understanding of the situation, believe that Iraq or Hussein had anything to do with 9/11. That’s not to say that he didn’t exploit that fiction as much as he possibly could. He won an election by deceiving his coalition of the willing voters – willing or lazy enough to believe this spoon fed fiction.

But he’s won the election. We’re in Iraq and nobody can defensibly say that we should immediately pull out so can we just cut the crap already? Please stop trying to convince everyone that Saddam was involved in 9/11. He wasn’t. Accept it.