Sunday, June 30, 2013

You're Too Political!!!

"YOU'RE TOO POLITICAL".  Yep, that’s the reaction to many of my posts from several years ago.  NORDO News was taking off, we were considering “doing something more with it”, and the world preferred to be hopeful.  Well, I’m not into hope and my interest in doing “something more” left shortly after Ginger told me I would have to be less political.
Ginger was right. I’m not faulting her for that.  Were we to make a serious attempt to do more with NORDO News, I would have to be willing to feed people what they wanted.  Unfortunately, unlike the majority of people in this world, I have never been one to do or say whatever it takes to get more people to like me.  Therefore, NORDO News would continue to have the occasional political post and those whose  favorite three words were "you're too political" would go away.  That was my plan at least.  Then I sat down to write and it wasn't fun anymore.
When your passion is aviation, and everyone and everything is conspiring to take it away, the last thing you want to hear is some half-man half-ostrich telling you you're too political.  The FAA restricts airspace, you point it out, and the only person who cares is some idiot pilot who thinks the government will save us and therefore we should let it take control. Well, that's their story until the government tries to close their tower.  Then that same ____ (insert your own colorful word here) comes crying to me to get the word out.  Just months earlier I was "too political" and suddenly I'm just what he needs.  This leaves me in a very bad spot.  A spot I have to remind you is no fun.

My first inclination is to respond in a way many of aviation's figureheads have quietly suggested.  They propose, "Say f-it and enjoy yourself".  There's a problem with that though.  I'm sure that's how we got to this miserable place.

All those before us chose to enjoy themselves when often they should have been fighting small battles.  Now those small battles have turned into all out war and the generation that said f-it acts surprised.  But why should they care, they've had their fun.

And so, that's how the Greatest Generation created the worst generations.  They believed our country was so great, things would just work out.  It never occurred to them that freedom is something which has to be nurtured and fed.  Now, only two decades after they were being honored for leaving us with a great country, we're left to deal with their offspring, and their offspring's offspring, who were never taught anything about history, politics, money, and reality.  In my case, it's always the "you're too political" offspring.
You’re too political.  What a prize of a statement that is.  It tells you so much about a person.  First, it says they're uncomfortable with reality.  Reality is so yesterday.  Alternate reality is where it’s at.
"You’re too political" also says “I don’t agree with you but my balls are the size of quinoa and so I’ll just complain that you are too much of something (I don’t like).  By default it is also almost always an admission their beliefs are so flimsy they won’t hold up to debate and yet they want so badly to hold on to them (see previous paragraph) they’ll just vaguely complain.  And you know what, I’m okay with that.  I’d rather not talk to these folks anyway.  If their argument is that weak, I appreciate them saving me the time.
Finally, although not the absolute final reason, there is a third and most common reason for someone expressing “You’re too political”.  The person is happy where they are in life, happy with what they have, and even if it means selling everyone out, they're not going to do anything that would rock that boat.  It’s the “I got mine” syndrome and it’s far too common.
Now that you know what I believe to be the three most common reasons someone would express “You’re too political”, let's look at number four.  That's the one I really want to talk about.   Spoken by the same people who say, “Flying is supposed to be fun”, in this case I agree with them; Flying is supposed to be fun.  There’s just one problem.  You’re a damn idiot if you think flying is going to stay that way without all of us being involved in the political process.
Whenever I hear "You're too political" tinged with the implication of "flying is supposed to be fun",  I think back to two moments in time.  A few years ago, when the user fees battle was heating up, we sold shirts at Oshkosh that said, “USER FEES SUCK”.  They were printed in large block letters, everyone talked about them, many asked where we got them, but only a few wore them.
Judging by the overall reaction of those who saw the shirts, the message spoke to them in a very clear way about something with which they very strongly agreed.  Yet again, few would wear them.  Folks just didn’t want to get into the politics of it all and the mere wearing of the shirt would therefore be uncomfortable.  Flying is supposed to be fun, remember?  Yeah, politics, that's for other people.
And then there was the time when we put signs on the doors of the port-o-johns during our annual fly-in.  They read, “Send a message to Washington, step inside”.  Some folks got really mad over those.  And yet, few things other than those signs have ever offered a better demonstration of how much fun politics can be.

If you try to tell me you've never considered delivering a giant bag of flaming crap to Capitol Hill you're lying.  Something along that line has crossed the minds of all of us at one time or another.   However, in the interest of keeping politics out of aviation, given the choice of standing up to say “NO”, even if it's fun, or having aviation wiped from the face of the Earth by senseless politicians, many pilots would choose the later.  If that describes you, it’s time to reassess your place in the world. 
Like it or not, politics as it relates to most people involves two things, the restriction of freedom and the expansion of freedom.  They are the yen and yang of government.  Unfortunately, politicians in America have come to believe their primary purpose is the restriction of freedom.  And although it is sad they have chosen this avenue, it does make your job as a citizen easy.  All you have to do is support freedom with an effort greater than those who would restrict it.  One thing's for sure; aviation is going to be no fun at all if you don’t.

Note #1:  Being involved in the political process does not mean giving money to a person or group so they can do your political work.  You have to get educated, hear not the sound of the words but the meaning, and be willing to make your voice heard.
Note #2:  You could have read only the first and last paragraphs and got everything I truly wished to convey.  Sorry I wasted your time.  All that stuff in the middle was venting.


Ken Bittner said...

Spot on (once again).
I've been over this PC crap for a long while and I have no problem reminding the politicians who they work for. Some of them (the ones who have conveniently forgotten) don't like to see me walk into their office.
I still remember, standing and listening to you and Ginger (after the Tornado) tell those FEMA and DHS agents " we don't like you people".
You be as "political" as you want to be. It's your blog. If the sissies don't like it...they don't have to read it. Me? I suck up every word.

David Cain said...

Very thought provoking Rich. Way to put perspective on an uncomfortable topic.

Lardo said...

We DID send (Well, not me personally. But the collective "we".) a "giant bag of flaming crap" to Washington. Back in '08. In fact, we sent the same flaming bag a crap back to Washington in '012.

And I blame the lilly-livered, week-kneed Republican establishment. Apparently they're extemely uncomfortable with winning. Though I understand they like the perks of the job.