Friday, October 14, 2005

Save the Rich!

The Department of Homeland Security is trying to figure out whether some of its employees tipped off friends, relatives and maybe influential rich folk to the recent terror threat about New York's subway system, before the general public was informed. There's some confusion about whether or not the threat was credible or not, but I do think New York mayor Mike Bloomberg handled the situation well by being honest, open and by continuing to take the subway himself when he'd urged the rest of us to do so. But, what Bloomberg did right was to tell everybody everything he knew, what he was doing about it as mayor, what he was doing about it personally, and what he thought we should do. If an attack had occurred, after he told us to keep riding the trains, it would have made his advice look awful in retrospect, but it was still honestly and openly given, as it should have been.

Now, I have a sense of deja vu, because I think I once started a post here with something like, "I don't know who right wing radio host Neal Boortz is and I've never heard him, but..." Well, I have never heard him and I don't know who he is, but he says that if the Department of Homeland Security leaked the info to rich people first, then they were right to do so.

For one thing, it isn't clear that rich people necessarily even got the leak. It might just have been New York friends and family of rank and file Department of Homeland Security employees. But, Boortz assumes these folks are all rich and because of that, he supports the leak. His argument: after a disaster, society needs the rich because they're gods or something and will make things right.

ForgetBoortz's attempt at getting attention by trying to inflame a class war against the poor, who he accuses of being a drag on society. I don't know where Boortz lives, but I live in New York City and was here for 9-11. What did we need after the attacks? I remember it being all of those not exactly well-heeled police officers and fire fighters and construction workers and computer techs who got the ATMs up and running and Con-Ed line workers who kept power to the city and Verizon workers who kept the phones working and public employees who managed people having to walk en masse across the bridges to Brooklyn and Queens. Did I miss anybody who works for a living and isn't rich? I bet I did.

More than four years after 9-11, by the way, the rich people are still arguing over how to build on ground zero.

I keep quoting Woody Allen but, from Love and Death, with Allen playing Boris, marching to war with the Russian Army:

Russian Soldier - So you don't like Napolean and you don't like the czar. Who do you think should be running the country?

Boris - You want to know who I think? The serfs!

Russian Soldier - The serfs! He wants the serfs to run the country!

Boris - Sure, they're the only ones who know how to do anything. If a fence needs putting up, it's always the serfs.

Russian Soldier - Why not the criminal element? Or the Jews?

So, who is Boortz in that scene? He's sure not Boris, who thinks that society needs people who can do practical things. He's the dumb rube Russian Soldier who is such a lout that he descends into racism within 30 seconds of conversation.

The problem for Boortz isn't just that he's so insecure that he has to publicly hate the poor, the most vulnerable and easy to attack members of society. It's that the people he thinks of as the all-creating overmen would laugh in his face if he asked them to, say, help dig tunnels for a new subway, or even if he asked them to help fix there fence. They would, anyway, if they have any idea who this clown is. Which, like me, they probably don't.


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