"[If Parliament] may take from me one shilling in the pound, what security have I for the other nineteen?" ~ Richard Henry Lee
In Defense of Mayor Goodman
The hens are clucking again. Now they chastise Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman for affirming his love for Bombay Sapphire to a class of fourth graders. For the uninitiated, our self-proclaimed 'Happiest Mayor in America ' has more than once run afoul of the similarly anointed Guardians of All Things Discrete and Appropriate. An earlier, informal, proposal for an Amsterdam-style red light district in downtown Las Vegas caused a predictable round of blue-nosed bluster. This latest foray into blunt honesty has earned him more national attention, obligatorily accompanied by trite photos of the gin-swilling mayor cavorting with scantily clad showgirls. The national media cannot shake its obsession with Nevada 's alleged libertine ethos.
One tender young waif asked the mayor about his hobbies. 'Drinking,' the boozehound replied. Another innocent asked what item the chronic inebriate would bring to a deserted island. 'A bottle of gin,' he responded. County School District educrat George Ann Rice proselytized thus:
'. . . if a school employee made similar comments, disciplinary action would have been taken. It might be a written or a verbal warning but we would make it clear that kind of comment is absolutely unacceptable," Rice said. "We would remind the individual that employees are not supposed to share personal opinions in that manner, particularly when it's something that has the potential to offend a great many people."
One wonders what an acceptable response would have been. Honesty, it seems, has no place in the public schools. It's okay to introduce the young ones to Orwellian concepts like ratting out their parents for smoking marijuana and extolling the virtues of the burgeoning police state, but 'absolutely unacceptable' for an adult to speak of using a legal substance before an audience of kiddies. It seems the good people prefer their elected officials to stick to the script: bland, non-offending, patriocratic pablum extolling the virtues of God, Country, and Abstemiousness.
Implicit in this affair is the 'it takes a village' mentality of those who insist the raising of their offspring is somehow the responsibility of elected officials and, indeed, the general public. The notion of helpless youth corrupted by observing the actions of 'irresponsible' adults is a cornerstone of the encroaching state. 'What of The Children?' is the universal call to arms of the control freaks and perpetually aggrieved. Every ill of society perceived by the guardians is framed with an appeal for the innocents, thus may the guardians cloak their own fears and insecurities in the mantle of 'the public good.' The parents of errant children bear no responsibility for their ill-behaving charges. It is the fault of 'society.' We just need more laws. The parents don't have time to keep proper watch over their DNA spills, let government and society do it.
Let those who resent the incessant mewls of the Sentinels of Decency raise a glass to Oscar Goodman, unrepentant tippler and crass corruptor of the ingenuous. As petty bureaucrats go, he offers relative relief from the stultifying, vacuous monotony of the standard discourse of public officials.