Peter Peter Everywhere Nor Any Competence to See

Posted: April 8, 2007 in Politics


My title is adopted from a principle[1] that should be common knowledge to anyone who feels inclined to criticize how anyone does their job; and the line from The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.

Before I start my rant about incompetence in the Veterans Administration I will admit that I am probably as incompetent at any venture I aspire to as anyone else; so I will express indignation with an element of humility that behooves anyone who is not in the position to do the job right. That being said, I’m not getting the salaries of those who are entrusted to do the jobs, the incompentencies for which those salaries are being paid. If that sentence doesn’t make sense it is a testimony to the lack of competence I bring to this endeavor. If it does, well, sometimes I get it right; but not from a competence that comes from disciplined study and experience. I’ve neither studied enough nor written for a vast readership to be considered competent. But, then again, I’m not getting paid for this so anyone who is wasting their time reading this free, from cost, essay get exactly what they paid for it.

My rant emanates from reading the first few paragraphs of an article I started reading with the headingDelayed Benefits Frustrate Veterans”; and the sub heading “Hundreds of Thousands of Disability Claims Pending at VA; Current Wars Likely to Strain System Further”. It’s just as well that I start writing before I finish the article; my head will probably explode from information overload. As it is I have many thoughts that are flooding into my mind; too many to capture no matter how fast I type.

I should probably start with the general belief that the system has been broken forever; and has never operated properly. Does that mean we have to throw up our hands and just say “oh, well”? Not as far as I’m concerned. I will not detail my intentions at this point because to do so is to drain my potential onto the page and never get out the change that should happen.

It’s quite a coincidence that there is a front page article in today’s Kitsap Sun about our esteemed U. S. Representative from our congressional district, Norm Dicks. One of the panels he serves on is Veterans Affairs. How fortuitous is that? Should we have to write him to express our indignation? Probably not. But, if we don’t we are no better than the couch-potatoes that do nothing but swill beer and watch TV.

For anyone who wants to blame bureaucrats or government workers or any other group they aren’t a part of they need to remember that our government is, first and foremost, of the people even though that phrase is the third phrase in the beautifully expressed sentiment in the Declaration of Independence. The idea is superbly expanded in Francis Fukuyama’s America at the Crossroads : democracy, power, and the neoconservative legacy. He says that regimes – even in totalitarian governments – are made up of the population of the country ruled. To blame our problems on the people who work for us is to get into the blame game. For those who would say things like you can’t fight city hall, they should take heart in one woman’s standing up in the Bremerton city council meeting and asking for a variance to the code that would limit her number of pets if her area were annexed. The results: the limits on pet ownership were reduced from the county’s to the city’s. The council instructed the city attorney to adopt language in the annexation document to accommodate her concerns. I, for one, was glad to see the council’s almost unanimous vote to accept the variance.

[1] Re: “The Peter Principle: Why Things Always go Wrong” by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull.


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