Random Rants, by Thomas Andrew Olson

Monday, December 05, 2005

Dear Federal, State and Local Officials: Go Home

(I can't take credit for writing this, but it's worth the read!)

Recently, former Vice President Al Gore began a speech he gave at the We Media conference by making the startling observation that our democracy was in danger and that he felt like he was living in an “alternate universe.”

At first, he says, he thought “it was an aberration when three quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001.” But then he got really alarmed when, four years later, somewhere between one third and one half of the US population still believed this.

That it took Mr. Gore four years to become alarmed about media complicity in creating the current Orwellian paradigm in which we now live is…well…alarming. That it took him four years of sitting on the sofa munching granola and knitting his brow before rising to his feet with a small indignant yelp goes beyond alarming. Was he not present during the perception-bending debacle of…oh, say…the recounts in November, 2000? Did he not, perhaps, recognize a few GOP Congressional interns in the Great Miami Recount “Riot”? Did he not think to
himself, “Hey! Wait a minute! That isn’t a Miami resident! Holy Mother of Frauds! I’d better alert the public!”

No he did not. But Bush’s poll numbers are down now so perhaps Mr. Gore’s vision has improved…or maybe it is just easier to actually utter words that need to be said when the wind is at your back as opposed to when you are facing directly into it.

Whatever the case, it is amazing how many other public officials are also finally “waking up.” People actually refer to it in these terms…as if somehow, we on the ground, who have been defiantly snapping at the heels of the odious neo-conservatives in Washington, have finally made enough noise to rouse them. Does anyone honestly
think that Al Gore – or any other newly awakened public figure – did not have access to the same information we did before the war, during the recounts, about the Halliburton contract violations, about the air quality in New York City after September 11? Wouldn’t it have been a little more helpful if they had spoke up before people started dying?

So what’s next boys and girls? Now that you are finally awake, will you come riding over the hill like the cavalry to rescue us?

Too late. We are already well into the process of saving ourselves and each other. In case your autoresponders haven’t received the e-mail yet, the Katrina relief efforts were a shining of example of just how long you have been outliving your usefulness. Do you want to know who the first people were to provide relief to the people of New Orleans? A combination of community organizers already in the city, a bunch of anarchists with Food Not Bombs, an anarchist medical collective, a few assorted church groups and a bunch of those “wild eyed radical fringers”” from groups like Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.

But worse than useless, you people and your vast bureaucratic agencies were in the way…sucking up resources and donations and then getting as lost as Geraldo Rivera in the Iraq desert, unable to find your posterior with both hands, unable to get aid where it was needed, and turning back people who were actually providing constructive services to hurricane victims.

It was a visible example and one which caused many citizens to say, “Hmmmm…” but unfortunately it was only the tip of the iceberg because this is exactly the same way you behave when dealing with every single wretched problem, from the trivial to the cataclysmic, that faces you on the state, local and federal levels.

So hear this, and hear it well…it is the best advice you will receive all year:

Go home.

We don’t need you. We don’t want you. It is time for you to go.

Go home and make yourself useful. When was the last time you touched a broom or a mop? When was the last time you got your perfectly manicured fingernails dirty? When was the last time you had a little sweat on your brow that wasn’t the direct result of a warm day on the golf course?

Hey Al! Perhaps you could use some of that spare cash you have lying around to construct a community radio station, for example. And if you get any push-back from the FCC (a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate media monopoly), maybe you could practice a little of that Founding Father revolutionary spirit and defy the bastards by constructing it anyway. Concerned about the environment? I’ll bet you have enough money to provide solar panels for, at the very least, a medium-sized city in Tennessee. Talk is cheap, Al. We’ve had enough of it.

Go home.

And the same goes for all the rest of you…from the Mayor of Whistle Stop, Kansas to the Congressional Minority Whip to the board members of the Red Cross. I don’t care if you are a member of some small bureaucratic government organ tucked away in the bowels of City Hall or the Chairman of the Board of some quasi-governmental “non-profit.” You are useless. You are in my way.

Go home.

And if you can’t make yourselves useful, just go home anyway. Sit in your climate-controlled houses, suck some vintage wine and watch a few DVD-movies or something. Just leave us the hell alone. We’ll let you know when it is safe for you to come out…when we’ve tidied things up enough so you don’t hurt yourselves (or anyone else) with bad decisions based on popularity polls. Unlike you, if we see an old woman struggling to cross the street or an injured animal on the side of the road, we don’t require an opinion poll, a committee, the advice of legal counsel or a press conference to fix what is wrong. We don’t call a media consultant to find out if the elderly woman is telegenic enough for a photo-op. We don’t discriminate between saving a cute, cuddly kitten and a garden-variety pigeon because one will play well on the evening news and the other will just make us look like some kind of “animal rights nut.”

We do what is practical and we do what is right. And when we aren’t sure what to do, we rely on the same common sense that gets us through all the other mundane decisions we have to make every single day of
our lives, from what to have for dinner to whether the cat box need cleaning.

You, on the other hand, do not seem to have the ability to get the job done. You have made a mess and stand, confused and panic-stricken in the middle of it, like a toddler with a dirty diaper. You aren’t sure how it got that way, you aren’t sure how to make it go away and you require a cast of thousands to clean it up.

It’s over. Go home.

[Please feel free to send a copy to your Congressman, your Mayor and any other petty bureaucrat whose e-mail address you have handy...]