Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sucking-Up

McCain Says Iraq Could End His Career | The Huffington Post: "After the speech, McCain was asked by an audience member if he was 'sucking up to the religious right.' He drew laughs by responding: 'What's wrong with sucking up to everybody?'"

Well, John, let me list the ways.

Everyone and his cat begins political discussions with "What's wrong with America is that we no longer have [insert pet cause] God in the classroom, morals in other people, tax on welfare queens, property rights for small business owners who want to carry guns into Wal-Mart, doctors who’ll make house calls, and nobody uses white bread anymore." What’s really wrong with America is we have become a nation from top-to-bottom, coast-to-coast, border-to-border, super-to-CEO of sycophants. Any day now there’ll be a new monument on the Mall, thrusting limply upward into the languid sky to what has come become our national character: The Peter Principle.

Every day we have some new scandal erupting that ultimately can be traced back to someone either doing evil or just screwing-up. What happened to the good old days when a big-time CEO who ran his company into the ground, promptly quit in disgrace and went back to bagging groceries at Ingles? Failure used to be punished in this country. Now it is rewarded with golden parachutes and Medals of Freedom. Or short prison terms.

So how do these people get on top of the political and economic food chain? The tale they would have us believe has something to do with their innate genetic superiority, their pluck, determination, and skill. And, of course, regular church attendance and never getting caught too red-handed pursuing, uh, hobbies. The truth is that, sometimes, that is actually true, and at one time, say, around the American Revolution, the top levels of government and business (well, if you ignore Eli Whitney) were represented by truly remarkable men; Washington did not suck his way to the top of the food chain.

In today’s world, more often, the top is not populated by our best, but our best at sucking-up, which leads us, of course, to such epitomes of the old “kiss-up, kick-down” principle as John Bolton. The classic suck-up is a true worm, licking the genitals of anyone more powerful, shuffling his feet, staring at the ground, darting about with drinks and handy cigarette lighters, all the while plotting his next move up the ladder. What happens when the suck-up gets his power position is where the true horror starts. Because he has kissed so many butts on his way up, he expects everyone to demur to his towering intellect. No opinions are necessary unless they reinforce his pitch-perfect view of reality. You do not look this man in the eye; you bow to his toes, to do otherwise is risk his wrath, which can be considerable since you now, usually, either have a psychopath or an idiot in charge. At the very least, you can expect these people to be bullies.

Bullies come in two general classifications: real-obvious and sorta-subtle. They are best defined by the old sailor's observation: “Son, there are two kinds of ships in the Navy. Ones where the First Mate is a sonuvabitch and ones where the Captain is a sonuvabitch.” You need look no further than the White House for two fine examples of both the Peter Principle and the Bully Principle. It does not take an advanced degree to calculate the danger and damage these people can do, for they, who have never struggled, never suffered, for their success have no compassion for the great struggle which is just life, their way has been massaged and greased by the liberal application of tongue and connection so their travails typically revolved around issues of taste, both literal and figurative.

There you have it, John. From the classroom to the boardroom to the oval room, there is a substitute for sucking-up—it’s called performance and it is judged not by who you are and what you’ve kissed, but by what you have done. And that, Old Son, is where the foundation of truth and integrity is laid and without that no leader can lead, he can only manage.

2 comments:

ruby rocks said...

i think being born with a silver spoon in your mouth helps a bit too.

Bob said...

Yep. It does give you better class of ass to kiss from the get-go.