What happened to our respect for smart people? Why do we vote for the Ray Nagins of the world? This morning Katie Couric asked Mr. Nagin (who, not incidentally, was wearing army fatigues with four stars on the collar) about the glacial pace of aid reaching the victims of Katrina. General Nagin responded, "I think we're right on schedule, as far as I'm concerned." Really? What schedule are you on, pal? This shameful jackass then went ahead and blamed just about everyone but himself, later asserting that his performance during Katrina should have a positive impact on his reelection. There is an old expression, "dress for the job you want, not the job you have." If you want to be the mayor, then dress like the mayor. And I'm not talking about the camouflage. Do the job you were hired to do. And do the job you want them to hand you again. In other words, stop running and start standing.
Nagin is only the idiot-du-jour. We have plenty more on the menu. We have a president who can't string five words together without his face erupting into a smile last seen on Mortimer Snerd. And Mort was made of wood. We have a congressman and senators who only now are standing up against their moron-in-chief because they smell blood in the water and these sheep-sharks can't do anything but swim and eat, swim and eat. Oh, they're right to stand up, they're right to ask questions, but don't be mistaken, it's less a moral impulse than a survival instinct. Swim and eat, swim and eat. Sharks have survived all of these millennia, not because they're intelligent, but because they're clever. And, as Euripedes tells us, cleverness is not wisdom.
How about we stop voting for people simply because we'd like to have a drink with them? How about we stop voting for the regular guy and vote for the extraordinary man or woman. Or are we all still in high school, laughing at the kids in advanced math and exalting the ones who can drink the most beer without puking. Maybe we should stop electing our peers. Our peers should only make decisions on a jury or the prom committee. They shouldn't be deciding how to negotiate peace in a region that hasn't had any in all of recorded history. Yes -- all of recorded history. You really want the guy making that deal to be a C student? Do we really want to elect the guy who we could picture at our family picnic? Or do we want the guy we could never picture at our family picnic? The guy who exists on a plane high above us, a guy with the kind of capabilities that exceed us, lift us. Save us.
I'm sick of sports metaphors in politics. I don't want my country's leaders to be so well-versed in athletics -- I want them to have never played basketball because they were too busy getting 1600 on their SATs. But for those of you who require a sports cliché, here ya go. Who do you throw the ball to in the toughest game of your life? The mediocre player? Or do you look for the best you have?