- CNN says, “President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is subjecting prospective employees to rigorous vetting.” The horror!!
I think this news is evidence that we creep down a slope ever so gently, into soft non-thinking oblivion flavored by declining faith in integrity. And I’m only smart enough to see my demise – because we’re all in this together.
This article is emblematic. Let’s start with the title: “Obama’s vetting could chase away candidates” Is this an opinion, news, or statement of the obvious? ” The article is not in the Opinion section.
Now, take away “Obama” and read it again: “Vetting could chase away candidates.” Compare: “Interview questions may screen new hires.”
Seems like they were remiss in qualifying Obama’s vetting as “onerous” in the headlines or scared to do so. But, “onerous” is the implication, and that takes us into the next problem.
The article quotes many sources to say that it is, but does not give proper context, instead assuming a technical and closed set of qualifications, and that without divulging them. By doing this the article offers subtle, but real opinion that tiptoes as news here. The opinion: Being good matters. Being Good is not relevant.
But we don’t even have to go moral on you here. We could just do some journalism, maybe by rightfully expanding the concept of “qualified” by saying something like: “While the vetting may seem onerous to many, it is possible that Obama is seeking to add a certain degree of moral authority to his administration, something political analysts have noted as lacking in recent administrations. ” It’s not “being in the tank” to note that a President aims for integrity as well as strategy in his cabinet.
Read these statements from the article:
“But political analysts say the Obama team’s unprecedented degree of scrutiny could result in several qualified individuals deciding to forgo consideration for a top post. This could especially be true among individuals considered for economic roles in the administration from the private sector who might be more financially entangled than those who have been longtime public servants.”
[my note: What if Obama defines “qualified individual” as one who along with technical qualifications also has an impeccable financial record? or… as someone with integrity?]
“It could in several instances cause people who are qualified who will do a great job in the administration say, ‘Look, I’m just not doing it.’ “
[my note: Do we really believe that we’re at such a low point that there are no more people of a statesman’s quality? If they propose that these are the only persons left to “do a great job,” then I disagree. It is not mathematically possible that we are left to rummage through the garbage to find that one sandwich that might be edible.]
The article is also closed in another sense. You won’t find a perfect person. I am sure there will be people with less than perfect pasts. That’s who we are. But you cannot say that there is not a whole lot of room for correction in the integrity range when you look at the last four presidencies. I recognize that when we talk politics and business, we’re talking about ostensible integrity. So, I’m not a blind fan, just given the history of integrity in those spheres, but I at least want a politician to make accountable steps toward doing the right thing. That’s all we have to go on until someone is revealed as honest or a criminal.
You cannot give Obama the keys to “Change” and then point him to the “K Car” on the lot. Change hurts. It’s easy to shout it, to sing it, but once it hits you, you feel it and not usually in a good way. We’re all in for some real pain if Obama is true to his word. But, to ostensibly build an administration from a remnant of untainted people would be real change. It would be a new moral underpinning that would give decisive military and economic advantage in the form of leveraging allies.
John Mellencamp: “That’s what’s so cool about “Hurts So Good,” because the whole song deals with the breakdown of illusions when it says “maybe we can walk around all day long.”
We can’t just walk around all day long in the same old same old.