Embracing Competence

A letter to the editor of Northjersey.com reminds us of the common sense of former Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) regarding tolerance and discrimination:

Concerning gays in the military, Goldwater said, ‘You don’t have to be straight to be in the military, you just have to be able to shoot straight.’” (Circa 1993)

Mr. Goldwater expanded on that comment in a letter criticizing the military’s reluctance to eliminate the ban on gays in a commentary first published in the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. In part this is what he wrote:

After more than 50 years in the military and politics, I am still amazed to see how upset people can get over nothing. Lifting the ban on gays in the military isn’t exactly nothing, but it’s pretty damned close

Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. They’ll still be serving long after we’re all dead and buried. That should not surprise anyone.

But most Americans should be shocked to know that while the country’s economy is going down the tubes, the military has wasted half a billion dollars over the past decade chasing down gays and running them out of the armed services.

It’s no great secret that military studies have proved again and again that there’s no valid reason for keeping the ban on gays. Some thought gays were crasy (sp), but then found that wasn’t true. then they decided that gays were a security risk, but again the Department of Defense decided that wasn’t so-in fact, one study by the Navy in 1956 that was never made public found gays to be good security risks. Even Larry Korb, President Reagan’s man in charge of implementing the Pentagon ban on gays, now admits that it was a dumb idea. No wonder my friend Dick Cheney, secretary of defense under President Bush, called it ‘a bit of an old chestnut’

When the facts lead to one conclusion, I say it’s time to act, not to hide. The country and the military know that eventually the ban will be lifted. The only remaining questions are how much muck we will all be dragged through, and how many brave Americans like Tom Paniccia and Margarethe Cammermeyer will have their lives and careers destroyed in a senseless attempt to stall the inevitable.”

* * *

The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people’s private lives. Government governs best when it governs least – and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone’s version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays. (Emphasis supplied)

When you get down to it, no American able to serve should be allowed, much less given an excuse, not to serve his or her country. We need all our talent.”

The cold irrationality of bias has for centuries produced hate and exclusion with the resulting loss of opportunity to find the best and the brightest.

The flip side of that is equally true. Choosing someone because of their race, gender, ethnicity or sexual preference – their “Identity” – likewise produces hate, exclusion and resulting lost opportunity to find the best and the brightest. That fact is becoming abundantly clear ever since the liberal/progressives began to focus on “identity” rather than “competence” in selecting people for high political office (elected or appointed).

While the concept of dividing America into “identities” began under former President Barack Obama (D) it has demonstrated it logical conclusion under current President Joe Biden (D). A large part of the mess we find ourselves in is because Mr. Biden and his handlers are more concerned with race, color, gender, and sexual preference than to any element of competence.

Let’s work our way through a smattering of liberal/progressives who have attained high office based primarily on their “identity”.

  • Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR). Ms. Brown led her campaigns with the assertion that she was bi-sexual and that she would be the first openly bi-sexual to be elected governor in any state. Why was that important? What did that have to do with running state government? Obviously nothing given the six year mess she created through pettiness, vindictiveness, secrecy and ideological induced ignorance. Ms. Brown earned and held the title of the Worst Governor in the United States for most of the latter half of her administration – not because she was bi-sexual, but in spite of it. Maybe somebody should have asked serious questions about her honesty, integrity and treatment of others – she failed in all such instances.

  • Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was appointed as the first openly gay person to hold a Cabinet position – Secretary of Transportation. What did Mr. Buttigieg sexual preference have to do with his fitness to serve in a Cabinet position? Nothing. More importantly obviously nothing. Mr. Buttigieg failed as the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana causing division and distrust particularly among the substantial African American part of the South Bend community. Under his leadership, South Bend remained substantially behind other cities of comparable size for median income. Unemployment was reduced in part because of federal subsidies and an outward of migration seeking better opportunities. Vacancy rates soared while Mr. Buttigieg promised to tackle the problem on a nationwide basis during his failed campaign for the Democrat nomination for President. (That’s what we need is to put someone who has failed on a small scale in charge of a similar problem on a large scale. But that is what Mr. Biden did – emphasizing that Mr. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay appointee to a Cabinet position.) Upon assuming office Mr. Buttigieg promptly took a month long sabbatical – during the supply chain crises. He failed to monitor payments to the nation’s airlines as part of Mr. Biden’s COVID relief package and the spill over from that is still being felt with flight delays and cancellations, staffing problems and general turmoil. He is in over his head and yet the liberal/progressives tout him as a logical successor should Mr. Biden not run again. He didn’t fail because he was gay; he failed because he is not competent for the job. It’s still about identity and still nothing about competence.

  • Vice-president Kalamata Harris. When Mr. Biden announced that Ms. Harris would be his running mate he led with the fact that she would be the first woman and the first African American to be serve as Vice-president. What did Ms. Harris’ gender or her ethnicity have to do with her competence to serve as Vice- president – a heart beat away from the presidency itself? Nothing. Even more importantly, obviously nothing. Ms. Harris is a bone-head. She is either the laziest person or the dumbest person to hold the office of Vice-president of the United States – even dumber than Mr. Biden during his tenure. She has not/cannot grasp the simplest details of her office or the issues for which she has been assigned to manage. She has mastered the confident stride with the flip of her hair while looking back to wave. Beyond that – nothing. She failed not because she was a woman or an African American but because she is not competent.

  • Mr. Biden nominated newly confirmed Justice Kentaji Brown Jackson noting that she would be the first African American woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court – it would be historical, just like Ms. Harris. But again, what does Ms. Jackson’s gender and/or her ethnicity have to do with competence to serve among the intellectual giants – past and present – of the Supreme Court. The jury is still out on whether Ms. Brown Jackson will display her intellectual gifts or merely be another partisan ideologue. But let’s put it this way, if Ms. Brown Jackson demonstrates that she is ten times the intellectual as Ms. Harris she will prove to be a substandard lawyer who should be confined to doing bail hearings and arraignments. Yes folks it is that bad for the Vice-president.

  • Identity politics still remains the hallmark of the liberal/progressives in Oregon where former state representative Tina Kotek has been nominated to replace Kate Brown. Ms. Kotek introduced her candidacy by noting she would be the first openly gay (lesbian) governor in the United States. Again, what does Ms. Kotek’s sexual preference have to do with her competence to serve as governor. In reality – nothing. More importantly Ms. Kotek is just Kate Brown with a shorter haircut and a nastier personality. Like Ms. Brown, Ms. Kotek has a reputation for a lack of honesty and integrity, and for her hostile treatment of her colleagues and petitioning citizens. If you liked Ms. Brown authoritarian style of government, you will love Ms. Kotek. But she will be the first self declared lesbian to serve as governor – and that’s important – NOT. If Ms. Kotek is elected you can count on her too fail for the same reasons that Kate Brown has failed. Not because she is a lesbian but rather because she lacks honesty, integrity and a sense of compassion for her constituents.

Here is the point. You are adults. You have made your way through the often chaotic world of business, employment, marriage, personal relationships, birthing and raising children, and death and dying. You know what is real and what is important and you know that a person’s gender, ethnicity and sexual preference has nothing to do with their competence to fulfill their responsibility. So every time you hears that somebody will be the “first” in anything but competence – run for the hills. If you continue to send people to high office based on their identity, we will only get more of the same.