Wednesday, May 18, 2005

CZAR or TSAR

For some reason, a word that derives from an earthly despot whose word, nod, and even baleful glare, were treated as edicts from on high, is now used to describe a political eunuch. In Washington, when a problem is intractable, beyond human means of what we like to call resolution, the powerless man to lead the attack on this irreducible constant is named after a legendary potentate of mighty and dreqadful mien. For example, when we have a core group of drug users, the percentage of which never will go below a certain fixed number, we then appoint someone totally powerless to do anything about it, and admit to this farce by calling the poor fool a "czar". Feel free, folks. Throw a bit more garnish on his sports coat, devise a cunning emblem and a new flag, it's all the Marshall Potemkin of the legendary false front villages, forgetting that the real Potemkin was actually a highly competent and effective CEO, a man who unlike the present collection of czars did something with his tenure, and left a legacy. Don't blame Bill Bennett and Tom Ridge for leaving no legacy in the wake of their service; the roulette table was fixed to begin with. Another example of the political language using a word to describe something that in its actual operation is the polar opposite.

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