Steel City Cowboy

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Papers Please

Even since I was a kid, I've enjoyed taking tests. Seriously. I can still conjure the feeling I'd get when the teacher would drop a math test on my desk in grade school -- a tingle up the spine, a wonderful prickle on the back of my neck, and then the answers just pouring down my arms to my fingers and out the pencil. Where did this fetishization of testing come from? Who knows. But the simple fact is that I crave evaluation.

And that is why I don't understand all of the complaints from people on the crazy right wing who were upset when "Joe the Plumber" (remember him?) was investigated by government officials who in turn handed over their findings to journalists. There was some pretty bad stuff about Joe in there. And, it seems, some irregularities in his paperwork. It doesn't matter that the searches were against regulations and sometimes the law. Remember -- purity of thought and intent trumps the trivialities of action.

Every right winger I know fumes when some street thug gets out on a technicality. Maybe some cop didn't follow the letter of the law for evidence handling or booking. The righties are perfectly happy to ignore those lapses of procedure in order to catch the bad guy. But something like this... nope. We have to follow the letter of the law, even though someone like Joe who clearly is guilty of worse things (tax lien, plumbing without a license anyone?) is walking around scott free. Regardless of the circumstances of how it came to be, Joe failed the test.

And really, isn't that the kind of world we all want to live in? One where we know that any aspect of our life could be up for official evaluation at the drop of a hat? I know it gives me that spine-tingly feeling I used to get. If Joe had been striving for purity of thought, instead of greedily pursuing the limelight and the almighty dollar, he would have paid attention to "little things" like licensing and staying current on his patriotic duty -- taxes.

That great phrase "Papers Please" (I can't remember who first said it) really sums it up for me. It's an invitation to prove your loyalty, your competence, and your ability to follow instructions. I look forward to hearing it a lot in the coming eight years!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home