In the movie “The Hunt for Red October”, National Security Advisor Van Pelt is explaining to CIA Analyst Jack Ryan why it would be best for Ryan rather an elected or appointed person to present to the President of the United States a bizarre situation regarding a Russian submarine. It seems a respected Soviet Naval commander had run off with a nuclear sub and Ryan is the only person outside of the commander and some trusted compatriots who believes the man intends to defect and hand over the submarine to the U.S.
“Dr. Ryan, I’m a politician which means I’m a liar and a cheat. If I’m not kissing babies, I’m stealing their lollipops.”
His point was that folks who make a living out of politics should be – if they aren’t already -- viewed with a skeptical eye by the public they have been sworn to represent. Tragically, their personal agendas often become as high a priority as those of their constituency and get in the way of doing what is best for the body they’re supposed to be governing.
The people of this country have been subjected to three years of continuous campaigning (two to get elected and one since being in office). For too many, discerning the boundary between promise and reality has become way too muddy and we’re being bombarded with opinions, conjecture and a bunch of stuff over which we have way too little control. The campaign fairy dust is wearing off and those who elected these folks are discovering they elected a silver-tongued snake oil salesman to the most powerful office in the world.
Convenient memory loss and misuse of authority are not limited to our elected Federal officials, though. There are a lot of situations in our mundane, everyday lives that are affected by personal agendas. In almost every case, there’s something going on that shouldn’t be.
Agendas destined to break the backs, will and spirit of the masses have been implemented. The systems in place to provide checks and balances in these organizations have been neutralized. Circumvention in the form of creative interpretation and application of the rules is reinforced by appointees or elected officials who either have chosen not to question what is happening or who are too tired to put up a fight.
In other words, the system created to address the workings of the entity worked like a well-oiled machine for a long time but, somewhere along the way, somebody rewired the system, tore out the brakes and we have a runaway train headed straight for the thing we thought we could always count on to be there for us.
So how do we fix these situations? We hope they will fix themselves. We hope somebody will take the initiative to run for office or contact somebody who can do something that will ease our pain. We don’t want to say anything ourselves because we don’t want to be a troublemaker, rabble rouser, whistleblower, naysayer, tattletale, kill joy, wet blanket, or any of a hundred other monikers that we’re afraid will mean “rat fink” when what it really means is “at least somebody cared enough to speak up”.
In “The Hunt for Red October”, Van Pelt refers to the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he tells Ryan: “None of these guys are going to go out on a limb for this.”
Ryan: “While I’m --- expendable.”
“Something like that.”
The Far Left courted the American people to put Barack Obama in office barely 12 months ago. He’s already proven what many said: He’s a great campaigner, but nothing more.
Those who disagree with the Agenda have been held up for ridicule by the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader because they had the intestinal fortitude to speak up for what they believed was wrong.
Like Jack Ryan, they didn’t want to say anything either, but they knew it was on their shoulders. They didn’t want to feel expendable, but they believed they had a responsibility to speak up for what they believed is wrong with the system. I suspect there will more of them – these folks who stand up for what we’re supposed to be.
Everybody wants to be important. Everybody wants to be liked. Sometimes the best thing to be is expendable.
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. E-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.