To the common definition of pessimist—one who anticipates the worst—I plead guilty. Yes, I know that it is the start of a new year and I ought to be looking forward to the new decade with—dare I say—“hope” and anticipation, but I can’t. Recent events have gathered the clouds of funk, casting long shadows on all I see.
The malaise actually began to overtake me on Christmas Eve when the Senate passed its health care reform bill, now commonly known as “cash for cloture.” This unpopular piece of legislation succeeded only in proving that when you ask politicians to solve social problems you get political solutions; those connected politically get the goodies and those out of political favor get the bill, which is why longshoremen and the people of Nebraska are exempt from the sacrifices the rest of us must make “for the greater good.” Compassion and humanity are lovely words that exist in the cleanliness of theory. The rubber, however, meets the road in the grit and grime of the reality of trillions of public dollars.
My depression was full on a day later when Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian Muslim and passenger on Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam attempted to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear as the plane was landing in Detroit. The detonator failed and alert passengers subdued the 23-year-old would be purveyor of man-made disaster.
This administration—the one that promised to calm the waters and fill the world with goodness and light—bumbled their way through a response. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano went on CNN and declared that the system worked, a preposterous assertion that was seconded by White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan. With a straight face Brennan informed Americans that the system worked right up to the moment when it didn’t. At least Napolitano and Brennan were at the office. Michael Leiter, director of the National Counter Terrorism Center, couldn’t be bothered to leave the ski slopes.
Our Transportation Safety Administration, (which is still looking for a director not prone to stalking ex-wives and lying to Congress) responded by immediately subjecting air travelers to even more hair-brained rules that will not make air travelers any safer, but will make air travel much more uncomfortable. Recall what happened after the thwarted attempt by shoe bomber Richard Reid. I suggest we all take to heart our mothers counsel to wear clean underwear as we will very soon be putting it on the conveyor belt along with our shoes and laptops. Making air travel unbearable—not safety—is the goal; once air travel becomes too obnoxious people will stop flying. Voila! No passengers, no problem of air security. I told you I was in a cynical mood.
Our president waited three days to respond to this attack and then once again speaking without all the facts insisted that Abdulmutallab was an isolated extremist. He had in fact been trained in Yemen by Al-Qaeda operatives, and sought spiritual guidance from Anwar al-Awlaki, the same fountain of spiritual guidance that advised Major Nidal Hasan—another lone extremist—that murdered 12 Americans during a shooting spree at Ft. Hood.
But let’s not jump to any conclusions.
Obama’s “apologize for America” tour apparently failed to engender as much good will as he had hoped. Three terrorist attacks on American soil later he is finally admitting that we are at war with Al-Qaeda. And yet Abdulmutallab was given Miranda rights and tossed in jail as if he were any old car thief rather than turned over to the military as an enemy combatant. For some people it takes a ton of bricks.
However, most disturbing to this cynic is the fact that the citizens of this country were not given the satisfaction of seeing this would be murderer of innocent men, women and children receive a good old- fashioned holding-cell beat down. I know we aren’t supposed to say things like that, and ordinarily I wouldn’t sanction such behavior. But enough is enough! I maintain that anyone attempting to blow up a plane (or anything else) filled with civilians ought to have their asses whupped! And not with new-school multi-cultural niceties, but with an old-school ferocity such that, as the boys on the corner used to say, “he might get better but he’ll never get well.” With any luck when Abdulmutallab arrives at the federal penitentiary the inmates will step up and do their patriotic duty.
Then perhaps afterwards they can move on to quiet conversations with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who are at this moment behind closed doors La Cosa Nostra- style divvying up 1/6th of our economy.
Congressman Henry Waxman, impervious to record cold temperatures across the country, is determined to push his cap and trade bill through the legislature so that we might fight global warming—I mean “Climate change.” And President Obama is promising “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Meanwhile, The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Chicago police department is considering scrapping the police entrance exam in order to bolster minority hiring. Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police said the idea “sounds too stupid to be true.” I suggest he speak to Henry Waxman.
I tell you it is shaping up as that kind of year. The good news is that the year is still young.
(Joseph C. Phillips is author of “He Talk Like a White Boy” available where ever books are sold.)