Friday, January 16, 2009

Guts and competence

You can go far with guts and competence...a hell of a lot further than you can with "talent" (God I hate that word!) alone.

Just ask Chesley Sullenberger, who after doing literally everything right to land a fucking Airbus in the Hudson, gets everybody off alive and safe in 90 seconds, and then, before exiting as last-off, walks the plane twice to make double-sure.

This is what guts and the competence acquired by effort can accomplish--it can save lives, and turn potential tragedy into triumph.

Oh, and by the way, you know what else helped accomplish this? The unions of firefighters and EMTs and first responders and pilots and sailors and harbor masters that make sure that people in life-and-death jobs have the training, certification and job security that makes this level of competence.

You know what you get when you demonize unions, out-source jobs, and put people in positions of crucial importance based on political loyalty instead of hard-won competence?

You get Katrina. You get Donald Rumsfeld. You got Michael Brown.

You get George W. Bush.

Oh, and by the way, Sarah Palin? You know that "real America" that you claim doesn't exist in places like NYC? As Jon Stewart put it, "Exactly where the fuck did those terrorists fly the planes into the buildings?!?" And, by extension, "Exactly where the fuck did an entire city's entire team of first-responders, from firefighters and EMTs to first responders and pilots to sailors and harbor masters, learn the lessons of 9/11 which the Bush Administration resolutely ignored?!?"

The same place.

Shout out to New Yorkers, who when the chips are down, don't panic, hang tough, show courage and competence, and thus exemplify what it really means to "be an American."

It makes me proud. Prouder than I've been in eight years of Bush's criminal regime.

See also Jesse "Doc" (former combat medic and EMT) Wendel's brilliant meditation on the same story over at the Group News Blog.

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