Vocational Guidance

by BurtPrelutsky

For the past three years, as we’ve watched Obama try to deal with a lot of things that we can all agree are way above his pay grade, we’ve been constantly mindful of the fact that this schmuck has never really held a job in the private sector.

The good news is that we are now less than 400 days away from November 6, 2012, when we can fire his sorry butt. The bad news is that no matter who replaces him in the Oval Office, we will still be stuck with a House and Senate filled with men and women who, for the most part, have spent their entire adult lives sitting on their butts making uninformed decisions that dictate how the rest of us get to live our lives.

Counting down to

Who, after all, do you think gets to decide all the regulations that often determine if companies succeed or fail, whether employers can hire more workers or have to file for bankruptcy? Who decides if people are allowed to turn a wasteland into a housing development or have to scuttle those plans because some wacko environmentalist has found, or planted, an insect that’s listed on the endangered species list? By this time, I suspect that this sacred text has more names in it than the New York City phone book.

There is a solution to the problem, though, but first let me share a couple of facts that led up to my insight. First of all, during the Iraq invasion, a large number of reporters were embedded with the American troops. The idea was that if they lived with the troops, they would come to identify with them, and they would shed the anti-military attitude that seems to infect just about everyone who works for an American newspaper or TV network.

For the most part, it worked. The only downside was that viewers of Fox News had to endure night after night of Geraldo (“I run with the bulls of Pamplona”) Rivera’s pathetic attempts to out-machismo our young G.I.s and their top sergeants.

Next, although in a completely different venue, there is a related example that will help me illustrate my plan. When it comes to the Academy Awards, it’s the people who work in specific arenas, be they writers, directors, composers or costumers, who get to determine the nominees in their category. After that, everyone gets to vote for the ultimate Oscar winners. However, when it comes to documentary films and, possibly, foreign films, the only people who get to cast votes are those who can prove that they actually saw all the contenders. It would explain why there is occasionally a miracle, as when “The Lives of Others” beat out “Pan’s Labyrinth” as Best Foreign Film a few years ago. On the other hand, these are the same clucks who gave Oscars to Michael Moore and Al Gore for Best Documentary. When it comes to Hollywood, one shouldn’t expect too many miracles.

In any case, I give these examples as proof that even if it doesn’t always help, it never hurts when people are as informed as possible on a subject they’d otherwise know nothing about.

So, inasmuch as congressmen and senators rarely know anything about anything except how to troll for votes and campaign contributions, and their aides, whose primary function is brown-nosing or sexually servicing their bosses, know even less, I would insist that before any legislator gets to vote on anything, he has to be embedded for at least a week in the business or industry that will be affected by the proposed regulation. After all, what does a congressman from Chicago know about the oil industry? Or, for that matter, what does a senator from Iowa know about salmon fishing?

I’m not suggesting that 435 members of the House and 100 members of the Senate all take off for a week in Texas or Washington state. Maybe only five or six of them would go. But they would then be the only ones who got to vote on that specific piece of legislation.

For years, we’ve heard about these pampered pashas jetting off on “fact-finding missions.” As a rule, what they come back with aren’t facts, but very nice tans and brand new golf clubs.

Because I wouldn’t trust any of these weasels any farther than I can throw Barney Frank, I would quiz them when they returned to Washington to make certain they hadn’t just stayed in their hotels for a week, boozing and chasing women.
If they didn’t like it, they could always resign. I just don’t see any reason why these crumbs should be paid about $200,000-a-year and yet get away with less homework than a typical fifth grader.

©2011 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write Burt! Click on the little envelope below to email this article.

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Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
  • Burt Prelutsky

    Max–How could you spell my name Bert when all you had to do is look just below your comment? Having said that, I agree that Obama gives new meaning to ineptitude. In fact, I only wish that being inept were the worst of his crimes.


    • Max

      Sorry BURT, my bad. But I love the definition in the urban dictionary.

  • Max

    Hey Bert- Just learned a new word, Ineptocracy. I does believe that your Prez fits this term to a T as head Ineptocrat.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    John in MA: If you’re suggesting that after getting a whiff of real life, our politicians could possibly be even worse than they are now, means that you truly are more cynical then I am. Who would have thunk it?


  • 5hands

    In my opinion we need to go to http://www.GOOOH.com and assist them in finding candidates that trulely are a representative body. Check it out it will take time but is a strategy with greater potential than what is currently available.

  • John In MA

    Burt, isn’t it even worse than you describe? The vote-makers write practically generic bills in the eyes of the law, as I understand it. Then bureaucrats, who are a mix of know-nothing academics and insider good ol’ boys, write the detailed rules and regulations. These behind the scenes bureaucrats not only have the elected class to shield their actions, they also can and often do have a vested interest in the outcome. Whether they move in and out of the industries affected or are in a position to benefit from second level actions (e.g. hiring of a spouse or offspring), in essence they are quite distant from “the common man”. So, with the exception of a periodic single vote, most of us are the least represented in the process.

    Being fed up with this may be perhaps the ONLY thread connecting the Tea Party ideals with the hippies currently supported by the media, whatever they want to call themselves.

    As a deeply committed cynic, I wonder if forcing a group to visit the “hinterlands” for a taste of the real world might just give them even more ideas for bills to control and regulate, having, of course, learned something new and real and not just theoretical or symbolic ……

  • sam

    all true!keep on speaking da truth.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Will: I think OWS is occupying the White House. I’m referring to the Obamas. Thirty years ago, those two would have been out in the street causing trouble. Instead, they’re inside causing trouble.

    Nancye: Thank you for the kind words. But now I feel guilty because I only write three articles a week. Who makes your day those other four days?


    • Nancye

      I just hold out for your next article(s).

  • Will Swoboda

    Your on target again. I just don’t think the congress and the way they do business is something that is going to change over night short of a revolution. I don’t mean an armed one but that is not ruled out in our constitution. I agree with very little of the OWS gang but I do with the bailouts of certain businesses. They should be occupying the white house.

  • Nancye

    Great article, as usual!!! I’d comment on one of the people in said article, but that wouldn’t do because I love ALL of your remarks on ALL the aforementioned nutcases.

    You make me laugh, you make me think, and you make my day. :)