NEXT QUESTION, PLEASE
Sometimes you just have to wonder. I'll be the first to admit, I have had some hare-brained schemes over the course of my lifetime and some I even carried to a conclusion. Well, maybe not a conclusion, but an end at least. The general population of this planet never leaves any shortage of whacky ideas, but sometimes the government outshines all of us. This was the case last week in a story which has been most conspicuous by its absence from most newpapers. I had seen the piece on television news, but couldn't find it in at least a half-dozen newpapers. Don't ask if I "Googled" it because I didn't, and the reason I didn't is that I don't like to "Google". I don't like the word, I don't like its use as a verb, and so I don't "Google" unless there are no other options. Anyway, I'm off on a bit of a tangent here. Back to hare-brained government schemes.
Last week, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Association, as if there is anyone who does not know what that acronym stands for after Hurricane Katrina, held a press conference regarding the devasting wild fires in California. I can certainly understand how the "new" FEMA wanted to get out in front of this one since there were already rumblings about how bad their response was even before the first tree had finished burning. So, one would think, "press conference"...good. Slyly they showed a little footage, a FEMA spokesman at the podium fielding questions, cool as a cuke, serious yet in control. And then they drop the bombshell. The "Press" in the room is, well, not actually press as in "reporters", but instead a haphazard collection of FEMA employees with pre-scripted questions. It was like something from the Colbert Report. These all-business questions, like, "how would you rate FEMA's response to the wildfires compared to Hurricane Katrina?" And then, the dutifull, optimistic answer, also pre-scripted with the expected "we're doing great" tucked in there nice and neat. Just beyond belief, and I only wish that there was one person in the audience with enough stones to drop a "real" question and throw the whole affair into a tailspin. Now that would have been must-see TV.
Sadder still, FEMA's response in California has been pretty good, all things considered, but that's not really the point here. The lingering question, for me, is which incredible idiot, paid for with our tax dollars, dreamed up this ridiculous stunt? How could they have hoped to get away with it? It's so absurd a plot, right from inception, that it boggles the mind. Can you imagine having the hutzpah to bring this idea to a management meeting? I want to meet this guy. I bet he pitched the idea bent over and talking through his ass-cheeks like Jim Carey in Pet Detective. All the FEMA executives falling over in their chairs. "Yeah, let's do it! It will be a gas!" They must have had side-splitting late night meetings crafting their questions and somewhere there is a "didn't make it" list of questions that is worth a million bucks to any news outlet. "Is it true FEMA workers brought truckloads of marshmallows to the wildfires?" "We understand there is a Smores party in San Bernadino..." Any comedian worth his salt can get 30 minutes of material out of this without batting an eye.
The real victim here though is the government itself. Public distrust is at an historical high, with good reason. People are tired of the reckless spending, the behind-closed-doors deals, the corruption, the lying. This is why we have loons running around thinking the government blew up the World Trade Centers. Yes, these people are insane, but you can't blame them for not trusting the governement. As with any infidelity, at the end of the day, only the infidel himself is to blame. Nice play by FEMA, be sure to let us know when your next "press conference" is taking place. I'll get some popcorn and bring a few friends.