The crown jewel of the Democrats (and, indeed, most liberals) is a policy of racial discrimination known as ``Affirmative Action``. The concept of Affirmative Action enshrines into law a basically unfair discrimination in favor of one ethnicity, race, sex, or ``lifestyle`` over another. The argument liberals make is that these groups were historically held back and that this ``levels the playing field`` by actively promoting them to a higher level than they can attain on their own merits. The premise is that America is inherently unfair to some, and that only the force of Law can balance the scales.
Of course, the balancing requires imperfect human beings to impose on other imperfect human beings what they believe
to be true, while ignoring the reasons for the given situation beyond their particular bailiwick; it is not uncommon under Affirmative Action for a company to be forced to hire someone less qualified-often far
less qualified-to meet the quota imposed by the State. Also, it is easy to speak of historical cultural restraints imposed on minorities, but it is grossly unfair to have someone hired or promoted over you who is less qualified, less able to do the particular job, but is a member of one of the protected classes. If discrimination against black people, or women, or homosexuals is wrong, it is equally wrong to discriminate against white people, or men, or straight-laced moralists. There is an old adage-two wrongs do not make a right, and Affirmative Action attempts to right one wrong by imposing another. It is an immoral policy.
Furthermore, the premise is to use government to impose this field leveling (I wish they WOULD stick to leveling actual fields with bulldozers; they do a much job of architectural engineering than social engineering.) Government is, by it`s very nature, corrupt and incompetent because it has no competition, and the use of government to impose fairness almost guarantees a festering system of dishonesty and injustice. Money and politics will sway the righteous moral intent of such a system, and whoever plays the game better will win. Democrats understand this, and have, of course, played the game better because they understand that such a system buys them votes. It should come as no surprise that African Americans vote overwhelmingly Democratic, despite the fact that the Democrats are the ones who have hurt them over the decades; Affirmative Action, WIC, AFDC, SSI, and a plethora of other social programs are the bait which the Dems have used to entice the Black vote. (By the way, these programs constitute reparations for the Black community, and the Honorable John Conyers can go jump in the lake.) That all of these gifts have been traps which have held the Black community in servitude goes largely unrecognized by the black community and liberals themselves, who not only demand these destructive policies continue, but that they be expanded.
This also ultimately hurts the beneficiary, who is aware that he or she did not make it on merit but on skincolor, or some other secondary factor outside of their control. This is a great dishonor and stigma, and robs the person of the satisfaction of success. This sours things for them, makes them feel as if they were cheated.
A classic example of this sort of thing is race-norming; for decades the government, Democrats, and the left denied doing any such thing. Yet it struck many as odd that the U.S. Postal Service was predominantly Black, despite the fact that it has a merit-based hiring and promotion system based on test scores. Everyone knew preferences were granted (rightly, in this case) to veterans, but the USPS denied giving preferences to Blacks, who we were led to believe scored far better than Whites, Asian-Americans, or Hispanics. It finally came out that those identified on the tests as African Americans were given a large points addition to their test scores.
But we have to have this to make things fair, we are told. Horsehockey; the auto industry hired Black folks from early on, because they were willing to do the job and did it well. Until the UAW turned the American auto industry into miniature France the U.S. was a pioneer in development, quality, and vision. Why? Partly because of their willingness to pursue quality over racism. They hired the best they could get for the job, and it showed. In the process, they paid good wages to their black workmen and helped many of them rise out of poverty.
The U.S. Postal Service is laughed at as an incompetent joke, and occasionally former employees ``go postal`` by killing their former co-workers. You don`t see that behavior at GM or Ford.
The ``Postal`` behavior often stems from unfair hiring and promotional practices, it should be pointed out.
Civil Service throughout America is infected with this race-norming disease (as is Academia) and it sometimes endangers lives; particularly when applied to emergency services. We see this in the Police Departments, where women cops are promoted to important positions on the street while being physically or emotionally incapable of doing their jobs solely because the Department needs a given number of women. We see this with paramedics. (A coworker of mine once slipped and broke his leg. They sent two paramedics to fetch him, and the woman paramedic was too weak to lift him and actually dropped
the man as she was hoisting the stretcher! You should have heard the scream!) We see it, too, in the Fire Departments.
Recently, I wrote an article for the American Thinker about the corruption and mismanagement of St. Louis
by Democrats who have dominated the City for decades, and I was deluged by residents thanking me for exposing the nudity of the monarch. I also received some information about serious racial discrimination going on in St. Louis against white employees of the City-particularly in the Fire Department. Promotions are supposed to be merit-based (and were, under a black mayor) but aren`t being made that way; rather than promote qualified white applicants, the powers that be want evidence of ``cultural diversity`` and so are denying promotions solely based on skin color. As Jesse Jackson would like to say ``if you are white, keep out of sight!`` That might be a good motto for the SLFP.
Here is a timeline of events which illustrate the discrimination:HISTORY OF FIRE CAPTAIN PROMOTIONAL EXAMS IN THE
ST. LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT
Â· 1988- City gave subjective test (fire scene essay type test and then subordinate exercise in assessment center format) and promoted from that list until 1993 (5 years), promoting over 80 candidates and exhausting list of all candidates. The racial make-up of this list was approximately 50% white / 50% black. (I believe a testing firm by the name of O'Leary administered this test, but I am not certain.)
Â· 1993- City hires O' Leary testing firm to administer a subjective test (fire scene essay type test and then subordinate exercise in assessment center format) and promoted from list right up to the administration of another O'Leary test in the same format in December, 1998. (At this point, there were over 50 promotions made from the '93 list and notice how this last had been used 5 years as well.) However, the test administered in 1998 was determined to be flawed by then personnel director William Duffe because of numerous grading errors and was subsequently discarded. He then reinstated the old list from 1993 and promoted from it until complete exhaustion, promoting a total of 74 candidates. The racial make-up of the 1993 list was also equally diverse.
Â· 2000- City hired Barrett and Assoc. to give an objective test (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and an oral component). Of the top 75 scorers on the list, approximately 12 are black. This list is DEFINITELY NOT DIVERSE. At a civil service commission hearing in Sept. 2000, Mr. Duffe states that he too, along with F.I.R.E., is not happy with the list because of its lack of diversity. Later, he writes a letter to F.I.R.E. and the civil service commission defending the integrity of Barrett and Assoc. and their ability to give a fair test that withstands legal challenges. Interestingly, he also admits that he had changed scores on a battalion chief promotional exam in 1994 to make the list more "racially diverse" because not enough black candidates were in a promotable range. Fire chief Sherman George also states at a district meeting to numerous firefighters that he too does not like the promotional list because it does not reflect the racial make-up of the fire dept. and does not want to promote from it, but ultimately does, almost 2 months after the promotional lists were certified to use.
Â· 2001- City hires Blockett and Assoc., who, at this point, had never given a fire dept. promotional exam in its entire existence. The tests were subjective. However, these tests were scrapped when they were deemed compromised when a white firefighter had attempted to obtain copies of the video portion of the test and a high ranking member of F.I.R.E. actually did obtain copies of the video portion of the test.
Â· 2002- On Sept. 6th, the non-diverse promotional list from 2000 reaches the 2 year point and Mr. Duffe does NOT extend the list like he has always done in the past (i.e. 1988 and 1993). So, fearing for public safety, the civil service commission stepped in and reinstated the 2000 list. But in December, 2002, a judge ruled in favor of F.I.R.E.'s lawsuit to stop the reinstatement of the 2000 list by the civil service commission. And as for the total number of promotions from the captain's list = 22!
Â· 2004- City hires SHL, a testing company endorsed by the Dept. of Justice and experienced in fire dept. testing, to administer yet another set of promotional exams for captain and battalion chief. And as for the components of the tests:
*CAPTAIN EXAM- an open book multiple choice test and a closed book multiple choice test (objective tests) weighted worth 40% of the candidates overall grade and two assessment center tests, the first one being a role play interaction with a subordinate and the second being a fire scene (subjective tests), both weighted 60% of the overall grade. (Notice how the subjective portion is weighted heavier than the objective portion.)
*BATTALION CHIEF- an in-basket exercise and 3 assessment center exercises, two being subordinate role playing and the third being an oral fire scene exercise. This test was 100% subjective.
**It is important to point out that Local 73 firefighters desire objective tests which have clear, concise answer keys that are strictly adhered to, while F.I.R.E. members want subjective tests that do NOT have concise answer keys, but guidelines to the correct answer and it is up to the grader of the test to determine whether a test answer is correct or incorrect.
Â· 2004 (SUMMER)- The results from the 2004 tests are given and again the lists are not considered diverse enough by F.I.R.E. and files a discriminatory lawsuit and also files a temporary restraining order to block the city from promoting until their discriminatory case is heard in February, 2006. However, a federal judge rules in favor of the city, stating that there is no reason to stop promotions at this time and if F.I.R.E. proves their discrimination case, he could order restitution at that time. AND AS FOR DEMOTIONS OF WHITE FIREFIGHTERS IF BLACK FIREFIGHTERS WERE PROVEN TO BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, THAT WOULD BE TOO DIVISIVE AND HARMFUL. Approximately 2 weeks later, Fire chief Sherman George announces that he will not promote because he fears that he may have to demote if F.I.R.E. wins their discrimination case. This is in direct contradiction to what the federal judge said.
**During the development of the 2004 tests, the fire chief (a member of F.I.R.E.) played an integral part in helping SHL develop the promotional tests and NO ONE INCLUDING F.I.R.E. formally complained about the tests until THE TESTS WERE GRADED AND THE RESULTS CAME OUT.
Â· 2004 (FALL)- Local 73 files a lawsuit against Chief George for not promoting, claiming a writ of mandamus because once an appointing authority requests a promotional list, the appointing authority is showing an intent to promote and does not have the authority to deny promotions at that juncture. A few days later, a state court judge agrees with Local 73 and orders the fire chief to promote by October 8, 2004, giving the chief 2 weeks to respond. On October 8th, the fire chief, represented by his own private attorney, files for an appeal of the state court judge's decision.
Â· 2005 (SPRING) The appellate court overturns the lower courts decision.
And a second version of events:HISTORY OF 2004 ST. LOUIS FIRE CAPTAIN & BATTALION CHIEF PROMOTIONAL LISTS
Â· March 2004 - promotional exams administered for fire captain and battalion chief by SHL (a testing co. hired by the St. Louis dept. of personnel)
Â· April 2004 - results from testing mailed to candidates of tests, placing them in a numerical sequence for promotion
Â· May 2004 - Civil Service Commission certifies promotional lists to be used by the Fire Chief for promotions. At this time, there are 8 captain vacancies and 2 battalion chief vacancies, but Chief George refuses to promote.
Â· F.I.R.E. (Firefighters Institute for Racial Equality - a black firefighters organization) files for a temporary injunction to stop promotions and a discrimination lawsuit against the city based on adverse impact
Â· June 2004 - federal judge Rodney Sippel denies injunction to stop promotions and states the city can promote
Â· July 2004 - after repeated attempts by Mayor Slay, Public Safety Director Simon, and Personnel Director Franke to ask Fire Chief George to promote, Chief George continues to refuse to promote. At this time, Public Safety Director Simon orders Chief George to request the promotional lists to set up promotions to be made. Promotional lists are given to the fire chief but still no promotions.
Â· July 2004 - Fire Chief George calls a news press conference and states that he is not going to promote until F.I.R.E.'s discrimination lawsuit has concluded, which will and is allowing promotion vacancies to accumulate
Â· September 2004 - Local 73 (a majority white firefighter AFL-CIO organization) files a lawsuit against Chief George for not performing his job properly because of no promotions and wins in the state court (Judge Dowd presiding). Judge Dowd orders the fire chief to promote, but the fire chief still refuses and files an appeal in the appellate court.
Â· May 2005 - the appellate court overturns Judge Dowd's decision
Â· November 2006 - as of today, there are currently 27 captain vacancies and 4 battalion chief vacancies. F.I.R.E.'s court case is due to be heard in February 2007.
Local 73 feels the reason Chief George refuses to promote is that there are not enough black firefighters at the top of the list for promotion. In the past (2000), when there was a promotional list that was considered by F.I.R.E. as not diverse, Chief George made the comment that he did not like the list (2000) because it "did not reflect the racial make-up of the fire dept." If he did not like the 2000 lists, then why would he like the 2004? He did promote in 2000, but it is well known that the reason he promoted was because he was ordered by his superior, then Public Safety Director Marty Aboussie and then Mayor Harmon. In 2002, he also wrote a letter to the Civil Service Commission asking them to not extend the 2000 promotional lists and to let them expire despite the fact that there was not another promotional list to take its place.
Why won't the city order him to promote now? You guessed it - democratic politics. It's o.k. for a black mayor to order him to promote, but if a white mayor ordered himÂ
.. Union chief Paul Davis stated that one of the city attorneys said that her interpretation of the situation is that the fire chief could be made to promote, and if he still refused, could be terminated for insubordination. Imagine the uproar in north St. Louis if a white mayor had a black fire chief terminated? This is why promotions will not occur - democratic politics. Whatever happened to "the best man for the job"? Isn't equality afforded us in the U.S. Constitution?
Once again, politics trumps all. This is a vintage example of what is wrong with wielding government power solely in the interest of ``fairness``; by helping one group, the city is hurting another. Racial discrimination is unfair, and a policy which discriminates either for or against is inherently unjust. The St. Louis Fire Department is endangering lives by making itself less efficient, by forcing round pegs into square holes, by fostering an atmosphere of anger, tension, and resentment. These men have to trust each other absolutely; they are the ones who risk their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe. Policies of discrimination against any of their members fractures that trust, and endangers both their lives and the lives of those they protect. But what`s a life or two to a liberal while advancing their pet cause?
Back in the `70`s the British comedy show Monte Python`s Flying Circus had a sketch about this type of thing (Britain was always ahead of us with this guano); ``Dennis Moore`` was a Robin Hood-type character who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In fact he stole so much from the rich that they were living in abject poverty, having surrendered all their worldly possessions to Moore. Having nothing left to take, he steals their last possessions-silver spoons they were using for their tea-and goes to give it to the poor couple he had been aiding. Their hovel is immaculately furnished with the booty brought them, and their attitude towards Moore is one of sneering contempt-especially when he has the nerve to bring them nothing better than silver spoons. Throughout the sketch there is the ``Theme of Dennis Moore`` playing, and it ends with ``He steals from the poor, and gives to the rich, stupid bitch...`` So, having realized that ``this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought`` our dimwitted hero stops a stage coach and begins picking through the valuables of the passengers, making them exchange with each-other in a vain attempt to promote equality.
The Pythoners captured with satire the whole problem with liberal philosophy; the world is inherently unfair and an approach which tries to guarantee equality of outcome makes things worse. If a bunch of silly English Kniggits making a comedy show could understand this, why can`t the intellectuals, the policymakers, the cream of liberal thought?
It`s time for something completely different-how about trying a merit-based system?