Monday, October 24, 2005

The Speaker and the Limo Kids deserved an honest answer

This letter comes to Pittsburgh from Philly -- city to city.
Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/23/2005 | Editorial | The Speaker and the Limo Kids deserved an honest answer Editorial | The Speaker and the Limo Kids deserved an honest answer

A public apology to the fourth-graders of Pittsburgh:

It has come to our attention that Rep. John Perzel, a Republican from our hometown of Philadelphia, visited your fair city recently to deliver books to Beechwood Elementary School. The speaker even stopped by a class of fourth-graders to read stories to you. These were good things for him to do.

That's why, boys and girls, we didn't think anything bad could happen while the speaker was sitting on a bale of hay, reading stories. But we're sorry to say the speaker did a bad thing. He told you a white lie.

Have your parents explained to you about white lies? They are like a 'fib.' Lies are bad and lies are wrong, but white lies are not quite as bad as other lies. They can be defended if, for example, their goal is to protect children from things they're not ready to deal with. But it's bad to lie to a kid to protect yourself.

When the speaker finished reading stories, a little girl asked him a question: 'Did you come in a limo?'

This would have been a good time for the speaker to tell the truth to you fourth-graders. He could have said, 'I came here in a chauffeured Lincoln Town Car, which is a really nice, big car. It's not a stretch limo, but it does have limousine license plates, so you could say yes, it is a limo. This is why my job as speaker is way cool.'

Instead, the speaker got huffy with the little girl. 'Did I come in a limo? I came in a car,' he said dismissively.

To your credit, boys and girls, the speaker's little white lie didn't fool you. Your next question to him was: 'Could we go see the limo?' Some of you would make good journalists. An important rule of journalism is: When the speaker tells you there is no limo, ask to see the limo.

But then the speaker told you another white lie!

'Yeah, if there was a limo out there, we could go see it,' he said.

There was a limo out there, boys and girls! We're sorry that the speaker did not take you out to see it. Maybe he was afraid that you would get chewing gum on the seats.

Please forgive the speaker, boys and girls. He has been having a bad year. He keeps getting grief for giving himself and his friends in Harrisburg a big pay raise in a really, really sneaky way. The attention has him frazzled. He's been telling weird stories about dairy cows.

We are sad that the speaker felt the need to tell white lies to kids.

But, in a way, we are also glad. The speaker is one of the most important men running our state. If a class of fourth-graders can match wits with him, and win, we are very hopeful for the future of our great state.

So, kids, thank you. Go Steelers!

Sincerely, Philadelphia
This is the team Diven is playing with now. No back bencher any more.

By the way, the speaker got into another car for the ride away from the school.

Today, I was in my kid's school. We were not there to give away books, but I've got a basement full of them. Rather, I pushed the buttons as my son made an audio-visual presentation of our recent trip to Hong Kong. The 99 slide presentation is now in a PDF (3 megs). If you want it, I'll send it to you in an email attachement. I'll try to get it onto my web site in the next 24 hours.

Perhaps I should go back to that Banksville school, on a bus or bike even, and pass out CD-ROMs with photos from China? That might make for a good handout and a offer a good contrast to what the Harrisburg Republicans do when they come around.

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