Reckless Drivers, Reckless Politicians

By | May 8, 2014 | 0 Comments


Are people’s bad driving habits correlated with the current political situation? I believe they are. Let me give some examples.
Failure to heed warnings.
Some time ago, my wife and I were driving past a major intersection. We were in a left turn lane waiting for a green arrow. A siren approached and grew very loud. Most vehicles slowed and stopped as a fire department ambulance nosed into the intersection, siren yelping and red lights flashing. The ambulance was a brilliant red, instantly recognizable in the bright streetlights.
But two cars sped through the intersection, barely missing the ambulance. The weather was mild, so their windows probably were not rolled up. Were the drivers texting? Were they listening to deafening music? Were they drunk or drugged? Who knows? In any case, they were utterly oblivious to danger.
Fortunately, the ambulance driver was used to such idiots and proceeded when it was safe. Whether the patient survived the traffic delays is another matter. But isn’t this the precise situation in which we find ourselves regarding international terrorism? Just as many people ignore wailing sirens and flashing lights, they also ignore repeated attacks:

Our embassy in Iran was seized in 1979 and our diplomats mistreated for 444 days.

Our Marine barracks in Lebanon was bombed by Iran-sponsored Hezbollah in 1983, killing 241 and wounding 60.

USS Stark was hit by Iraqi missiles in 1987, killing 37 and wounding 21.

Pan Am 103 was blown out of the sky by a bomb in 1988, killing 270.

The first World Trade Center attack occurred in 1993, killing six and wounding 1042, but the towers did not collapse as planned.

The US barracks in Saudi Arabia was bombed in 1996, killing 20 and wounding 372.

TWA 800 was blown out of the sky in 1996 in a “freak accident,” killing 230. Eyewitness reports of a missile were discounted.

Our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in 1998, killing 223 and wounding over 1000.

USS Cole was bombed and nearly sunk in 2000 in Aden harbor, killing 17 and wounding 39.

And then came 9/11. Yes, it was a terrible shock, but should it have been a surprise? The sirens had been getting closer for years, but we didn’t listen. We treated each attack as an isolated incident. Some we investigated as though they were ordinary crimes, while after others we did nothing at all.
Even now, many liberals and libertarians still have a 9/10 mindset. Even now, they cling to the notion that by failing to react to attacks, we will prevent further attacks. They believe that if we just ignore Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, it won’t affect us. They imagine that if we just overlook China’s threats in the adjacent seas and islands, everything will be all right. They fantasize that if we just keep talking to the Iranian leaders, we can talk their nuclear-weapons program to death.
Any kid who ever dealt with a schoolyard bully knows that this approach is foolish. But some people just can’t seem to hear the wailing sirens or see the flashing red lights. They live in a comfortable cocoon, oblivious to their surroundings − that is, until they no longer live at all.
When Ambassador Chris Stevens asked for more security in Libya, he was ignored – or I should say the late Ambassador Stevens. All too often, when we ignore warnings, the problem doesn’t disappear – the people who tried to warn us do.
Using the middle of the road.
We live in a hilly area with narrow streets and blind curves. Almost daily we see people speeding down the center of the road, as though they were the only drivers in existence. This forces the rest of us to move to the side of the road until our tires are almost scraping the curb – we are literally marginalized.
These narcissists often drive expensive foreign cars and huge SUVs, or tiny hybrids. The rich believe that they own the road, while the “greens” believe that doing something “for the planet” entitles them to special privileges. Both groups show disregard for the safety of others. Both groups have unearned self-esteem. Both groups can be unbearably smug.
Their political counterparts are those who claim to govern “from the center,” and then feel entitled to call anyone who disagrees an “extremist.” They use the “middle of the road” the way selfish drivers do − to crowd out and marginalize those who just want to share the road with them.
Blatant law-breaking.
One day I stopped at a blind intersection and motioned a pickup to go first. Just then a large Mercedes SUV came racing past the truck on the wrong side of the road, ignoring the stop sign. My unusually generous mood saved us from a severe crash.
We frequently see drivers aggressively speeding through stop signs and even red traffic signals. But is this relevant to politics?

● Consider the IRS official who colluded with Department of Justice officials to harass conservative organizations, then refused to testify on grounds of self-incrimination – while the president claimed there is not a “smidgen” of corruption. He was literally correct – there is a huge, steaming pile.

● Consider Benghazi-gate. Four dead Americans, including two diplomats and two former SEALs? Ignore repeated requests for more security? What difference at this point does it make?

● Consider “fast and furious.” Sell guns to drug-runners, then fail to trace them? Two Americans killed? What, me worry?

● Consider “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Period. If you like your plan you can keep your plan. Period.” Truth? We don’t need no stinkin’ truth. We’re progressives! Our job is to get the ignorant masses to accept our program.

● Consider the president’s claim that he has the power to enforce the laws – or parts of laws – he chooses, or not enforce them at his whim. Thus he places himself above Congress, which makes the laws.

● Consider the president’s plan to release thousands of convicted felons. Thus he puts himself above the judicial system, which uses judges and juries to try accused criminals and impose sentences according to the laws Congress made.

Why are we surprised when ordinary citizens shamelessly flout the law in dangerous ways? They are merely emulating their leaders.
Insisting on the right-of-way.
Recently, we were at a T-intersection, waiting to make a right turn into a large boulevard. As we waited, a car on the boulevard made a left turn into our side street. A car was approaching from the opposite direction, but the left-turner thought he had enough time, because the speed limit is 35 mph. However, the oncoming car − as expected, a high-end German machine − was going at least 50. The two cars missed by inches.
Legally, the left-turner should have waited. But morally, the other driver was at fault. He was speeding. Even worse, he refused to slow down. He literally aimed his car at the left-turner as if to say, “I have the right-of-way, and I am going to insist on it, even if it kills both of us.”
I recall an old jingle from driving class: “He was right, dead right, as he sped along, but he was just as dead as if he were wrong.”
Consider the people − including Congress members and Supreme Court justices − who insist that we treat would-be terrorists who were captured out of uniform, in no recognized army, attacking civilian targets, as though they were legitimate prisoners of war entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions.
These people are morally responsible for the attacks that will occur because they prevented us from obtaining information from the prisoners − information that might have allowed us to block those attacks. Wars are not won in courtrooms. Those who have more concern for the right of terrorists to “due process” than for the right of innocent citizens to remain alive deserve our contempt, not our votes. They are, in the words of Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs, “…intellectually constipated by large, indigestible hunks of dogma.”
There you have them: Those who fail to heed warnings, no matter how obvious. Those who use the middle of the road to bully and marginalize others. Those who shamelessly flout the law. Those who insist they are right, even if it kills them − and us.
In order to get a driver’s license, I had to take a driving test. Perhaps, before we entrust the steering wheel of our nation to politicians, we should ensure that they have a sufficient grasp of reality to proceed safely.
Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.
www.stolinsky.com

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