Saturday, October 20, 2007

Red Tape

The minute you do not respect this, it kills you.

Some folks out there on the right may be downplaying the importance of the public knowing that nuclear armed weapons were flown over American soil, but I think this is one of the most important and telling signs of our times for completely different reasons.

First of all, this is what happens when there is too much worthless red tape in a society's institutions: the important red tape begins to be treated with the same disrespect that the unimportant red tape is. These proceedures were created for a reason, they are not just mindless boxes to check off on a sheet of paper. Unfortunately, I suspect that there are so many other proceedures created for no reason, so many other mindless boxes on other sheets of paper, so many t's to be crossed and so many i's to be dotted - just so some office bean counter somewhere can cover his ass - that people can become numb to the important stuff.

Which brings me to my second point: the second drawback to having such an ineffectual bureaucracy in so many institutions in our society is that few people apparently have the ability to prioritize anymore. We're sweating the small stuff because it has the same amount of paperwork as the big stuff. I don't care if you cut some corners on the log in sheet for toilet paper, I care if you cut some corners on the log in sheet for the NUCLEAR WEAPONS. I don't care if you gloss over your inspection for how many office chairs you have, I care if you gloss over your inspection of the LEVEES AROUND NEW ORLEANS. I don't care if the students have Cheetos in their bookbag at school, I want the guards making sure they don't have GUNS in their bookbag at school.

That sort of thing. And I think it is pervasive. All sectors, all levels, and I really think that's were so many of our problems come from. I think it is a shame that no Presidential candidate or gubernatorial candidate in Louisiana is using a "lets contract the bureaucracy a bit and get the small stuff back in the small stuff pile." It isn't political or ideological, because the paperwork is all still there, it just has a different name on it.

Lastly, I just think about how far we have fallen that we could misplace nuclear warheads and not know about it for several hours. I also would like to have seen the reaction of the young man or woman who discovered the nuclear warheads where they weren't supposed to be.

"Post-flight, check. Wheels inspection, check. Weapons inspection...ummm. Well... Is that... It can't be... Hey, Chief, could you come here and take a look at this?"

"What's the problem?"

"Is that what I think it is?"

"Uh oh."

"That's not good, is it?"

From other side of plane "..hey Chief, you're not going to believe what I found under the wing of this plane..."

The conversation that followed could have been either the single most professional and technical conversation in world history, or the most profanity laced diatribe ever heard by human ears. I can't even imagine the conversations all the way up to Washington on this one.

1 comment:

sophmom said...

Holy shit. I hadn't heard a word about that (and I'm looking at news online all day).

"First of all, this is what happens when there is too much worthless red tape in a society's institutions: the important red tape begins to be treated with the same disrespect that the unimportant red tape is."

Wise words. I detect the voice of experience. Reading through this series of posts, Pat, you're cookin' recently. Nice assemblage of words and ideas.

Peace, darlin'.

Dotcalm