Friday, March 13, 2009

“Driving Miss Nancy”

The distinguished actor, Morgan Freeman, brought us an interpretation of the duties of a chauffeur/helpmate/psychologist in “Driving Miss Daisy.” His character revealed the active role a transportation specialist can play in the life of his employer not only behind the wheel but also between the ears and in the heart of his passenger.. The story brought us closer to their tale of growing mutual respect and personal dignity.

In “Driving Miss Nancy” we find quite another story unfolding. Here the principal thread is one of entitlement, arrogance, and outright ego gone mad. It is a continuing saga of an aging dowager in a high government position taking full advantage of not just another human being, but an entire arm of the defense establishment.

The United States Air Force was formed to insure the protection of all American citizens. It exists to operate within the Constitutional mandate to provide for our “common defense”. Like many millions of others who have military experience, it is very easy to understand the expression “as available". Those words were part of every opportunity that allowed us to “hitch” a ride on a military flight that roughly coincided with our destination. When we were able to endure the “jump seat” experience we rejoiced at the savings of both time and money. When we found the military necessities of forwarding personnel and equipment to vital areas left us no space; we located other transportation. It carried the earmark of privilege and not a right. Food and beverage service, paid or not, was never part of the deal.

As Speaker of the House, being second in the line of succession, Mrs. Pelosi is entitled to “request” and receive transportation. It would indeed be interesting to see the mandate she has to be provided commuter service and vacation travel with the privilege of specifying the nature of the aircraft involved. Currently she has her knickers in a wad because she has to endure a fuel stop on a transcontinental flight. The costs of these flights in both equipment, fuel, and the manpower to keep them aloft are frightening. Pilots, engineers, attendants, ground crew, mechanics, fuelers, flight controllers, weather watchers, and cleaners, all have a role in getting her home for the weekend. The fuel cost for such a schedule is measured in tons and not gallons.

As is usual for leftist Democrats, Mrs. Pelosi’s defenders rely upon moral equivalence to justify her actions. The fact that prior speakers have taken advantage of travel on Air Force equipment is not at issue. This tradition has been with us for decades with individuals of both political persuasions. Granted it was exacerbated by the security concerns provided in the wake of 9/11, but not with the petulant disregard this woman demonstrates for waste, resources, and demands for upgrades.

It’s entirely possible that a few middle seat rides on a commercial jet with carry ons plummeting from the overhead might help her appreciate the accommodations she enjoys from the Air Force. Unfortunately, her presence in the House is guaranteed by being the representative from one of the most solidly leftist districts in the nation. It is their privilege to elect whom they please; it is my privilege to scoff, criticize, educate, and complain.

For the article which triggered this rant, check here.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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