Friday, December 5, 2008

Pettiness Personified

This Shelby guy from Alabama irks the hell out of me. It is not just that he is the champion of letting the American auto industry fall on its own sword, but he has to act like a bully in the process. A couple of weeks ago when the executives for the Big Three appeared in Congress Shelby made a big deal out of the fact that they arrived in Washington on private jets. The media loves this kind of stuff so rather than hear about serious issues that will affect about 10% of the American population in a real and meaningful way, all we heard from the results of that earlier meeting were the 15 second sound bites of this executive miscue. So what happened next was that each of the big three top dogs rode into town this time in a high mileage company vehicle. Showboating yes, but isn't this what Congress wanted? Shelby picked up his cudgel again and belittled these men for this show by delving into the various details of the trips. Did you drive? Did a chaffeur drive you? How many angels dance on the head of a pin? No, he didn't ask the last one, but someone very famous making the same point I am trying to make has done so in the past. America is slowly grinding to a halt. Various financial institutions are being handed money on a silver platter like there is no tomorrow. Real meat and potatoes families are going to bed each night throughout America wondering if the companies whose work ethics and ingenuity served us so well in World War II and saved the world from Nazi hegemony will be permitted a second chance. Being born and raised in Detroit, I am a product of my environment. Hundreds of thousands of people in this community, and others like it, have built their lives around one or the other of the Big Three. There are Chrysler, Ford, Chevy or Dodge families where generations of family members have loyally served, worked and purchased company vehicles. These families have grand parents who, while the husbands left the factories to serve in World War II, the Korean war and Vietnam, the mothers and wives took over the factory jobs and provided the engine that drove our national security. All this and this guy Shelby, all he can think about is belittling people because he is getting his fifteen minutes of fame simply because he happens to live in a state that is from all accounts still fighting the damn Civil War . . .or just maybe the major source of his campaign cash is from a foreign car company. Hmmm. Now that's a real question that deserves a real answer.

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