Name It. Claim It. Dump It

by on October 22nd, 2005

There are times when I feel like the world’s biggest failure. I read the display ads in The Economist for managers to administer UN projects to feed the poor, minimum qualifications, a doctorate in international affairs and 10 years experience in international aid programs, and I know I won’t ever get there.

But sometimes, every once in a great while, I read the paper and get a glimpse of my life in relation to the “movers and shakers” out there, and I may be puny, but at least I still have a spine.

Recently, ABC ran a story on national TV about getting some interns into a number of nuclear facilities at colleges and universities, without having to pass a background check, or even be searched. The evidence was incontrovertible. There were sound and video recordings of the deeds in progress.

The program had an effect here at Texas A&M University. Everyone and the president is standing up to cover their collective butt. “It’s not my arse,” you can almost hear them say, but friends, it really is somebody’s arse.

Compare this to the conversation I had with my daughter about the dent in her motorcycle gas tank.

“Where’d that come from?” said I.

“Remember you dropped it? You put it there, Mom,” says she.

“Sorry,” I replied.

The PR guys at the university are still spinning. There was an article denying the seriousness of the charges in the Battalion on Friday. Arguments ad hominum are quite the thing when facts are indisputable.

Somebody, some lowly nobody, somewhere in the bowels of the university has already suggested the following as a course of action and been severely rebuked for it: Name it. Claim it. Dump it.

Name it: we let god-knows-who into our nuclear reactor without taking proper steps to ensure that they were not bad people. Claim it: yup, it was wrong. A lot of people could have been hurt. We did it. Oops, our bad. Dump it: That’s why nobody gets into our facility anymore without making an appointment a week in advance, filling out a form, and passing a background check.

Sadly, that is not what is happening. Instead, a bunch of grown people are standing around, trying to outdo each other with their claims: It’s not my fault. It’s not my weenie showing. In the meantime, everything is just as ABC found it last summer. Unfortunately, someone is likely to come along and barbecue all those weenies that aren’t showing. We will all know who owns them then, because our collective goose gets cooked when something big goes wrong.

All this, so a couple of guys, who already have life by the tail, can save face. I’m sure glad they have their priorities straight.

The speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America is under indictment in Austin, Texas for money laundering and racketeering. That trial will be the greatest arse-covering Olympics of all time.

Few people name Richard Nixon as a role-model, but when he painted himself into a corner, he did the only honorable thing he could do; he resigned. It may be the last honorable act any politician ever does during my lifetime.

We did not scramble jet fighters on 9/11. It must be the jets’ fault, since the politicians are not owning up to anything.

We did not intervene in Darfour. It must be the fault of the army, or perhaps the fault of the corpses rotting in the African sun. It certainly cannot be because our priorities are skewed. Keeping gasoline prices below $3 a gallon is much more important than genocide.

We could not get to New Orleans when it flooded. It must be the fault of the poor people who were stranded there. They should have worked harder so they could have bass boats in which to leave the city we couldn’t get to because it was flooded at the mouth of a river on the Gulf of Mexico. Bad poor people. And what a stupid place to build a port, in the middle of all that water.

The Iraqis are sending our kids home in boxes at a steady rate of way too many. It must be because they are evil, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with invading a sovereign country without cause. Or maybe it’s the kids’ fault. . .

Name it: Neoconservatism. Claim it: What a monumental mistake. Okay, now dump it.

© 2005

Ann Weaver Hart