Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Politics of the Armored Limousine

The ever brilliant Mr. Van der Leun posted in commemoration of the death of John Kennedy a reminder that a man was not all that died that day.  Kennedy rode through the streets of Dallas in an open convertible.  No president or other Important Person has done so recently.  Even the Pope had the bulletproof Popemobile after the attempt on John Paul II's life. 

Today, the President, whoever he is, and the Vice-President, cabinet members and other "vital" politicians ride in vehicles that are veritable tanks on wheels.  The Beast, as the President's ride is called, is resistant to bullets, bombs, and poison gas.  Its tires cannot be flattened.  It is vulnerable only to bad fuel or betrayal. 

I'm not suggesting that the security around our national leaders be lessened, but one is inclined to suspect that the sense of isolation and invulnerability could lead to bad policy.  As politicians found out during the Obamacare debate, for all their talk about "democracy", meetings with constituents can be uncomfortable if not intimidating.  Most of these politicians are wealthy and have private security for themselves and their families as well as arranging for the presence of local law enforcement when the Secret Service is not part of the equation. 

I suppose the question is whether they have armored cars because they think they are elite, or if they think they are elite because they have armored cars.  In any case, in my opinion, the political class -- the self-anointed ruling class in America would be well advised to make themselves more approachable -- even if it makes them more susceptible to attacks. 

I feel sorry for Gabrielle Giffords as she is a talking vegetable dragged around by her politically ambitious husband, just as I have pitied Jim Brady being used by his dreadful wife as a prop for Handgun Control Inc.  But the fact is that people choose this life.  Other people -- better people, in my view -- choose to become pilots, soldiers, sailors, and Marines and put their lives on the line at the behest of the man ensconced in the Beast with a lot less between them and death than the politicians have.  Law enforcement personnel are at greater risk for death and grievous injury than the President.  Though, as we have noted before, police officers are at number 10 on the top ten of hazardous occupations, far behind fishermen, loggers, pilots, and farmers.  I don't see politicians anywhere on the list.   

Not that I want to find out, but I have to wonder what kind of legislation we would get if the ruling class were really accountable to the serfs.

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