Protesters’ actions inconsistent

Ned Cantwell

The precise moment of realization my life had faded to total insignificance is as vivid as a New Mexico sunset. But certainly not as appealing. It was the recent morning I awakened and reviewed the day’s agenda. It included writing a huffy protest letter.

Nothing new there. Writing huffy prose has been a way of life. The label “curmudgeon” fits. I wear it with some pride. The disturbing “aha moment” in this case was the realization I was going to wax indignantly about a….chicken thigh.

More later on what got me to this sorry point. For now, I ponder probable causes that might well have better occupied my attention. Such concerns litter the New Mexico and national landscape.

I might have ruminated on the inconsistency of Occupy Wall Street protestors camped out to draw attention, with some justification, to the excesses of corporate America and the filthy rich. It is worth parenthetically noting that, until police eviction, they were hunkered down at Zuccotti Park which was provided to New York by, ummm…a corporation.

Or, I might have noted, right here in my own town spirited citizens gather on occasion to bemoan, with some justification, the excesses of Big Government. It is worth parenthetically noting the tea party gathers here, as I suspect they do in towns across New Mexico, in a park provided by ummm…the government.

Across this wonderful land well-meaning, concerned citizens are protesting.

Albuquerque residents who likely spend a lot of their paychecks at Wal-Mart to stretch their dollars are protesting Wal Mart’s plan to build in their neighborhood.

Citizens who would benefit from nuclear energy and who are grateful for the military protection of nuclear arms stand side by side with signs horrifying the possibility of the government placing nuclear waste anywhere near their zip code.

Certainly there is no shortage of opportunities to take umbrage.

Why didn’t I consider a letter to the New Mexico Legislature that might have said something like this? Dear Bozos. You asked for votes to go to Santa Fe to take care of New Mexico business. But could you put aside your differences long enough to redistrict the state? No, instead you turn it over to the courts, saddling the taxpayer with millions of dollars in legal costs. Thanks for nothing.

You effectively have asked the courts to do what is fair, thereby admitting you are incapable of doing what is fair.

Local lawmakers simply follow the pattern of their federal colleagues. Dear Congress: Your inability to put together a budget plan is stalling the country and stalemating the economy. We will not forget it when next your name appears on the ballot.

So many causes, so little time. And here sit I, totally preoccupied by a chicken thigh. Let me tell you how this happened.

The dinner delivered by Paul, the drive-through attendant at Kentucky Fried Chicken, was supposed to include a grilled drumstick and a thigh. Three miles and fifteen minutes later I opened the box to find two scrawny drumsticks, no thigh. Fine. Hey, I am not the only person in the country to go to bed hungry that night.

Next week’s visit, same dinner order. I relate to Paul last week’s shortage and ask he throw an extra thigh into the box to make things right. Paul is an efficient and pleasant young man. He explained KFC policy. Had I called last week they would have reserved a thigh for my next visit.

He must have been taken aback when I leaned into the drive through speaker and said, “Paul, that is a failed policy.” I could not believe I said that. Failed policy. When people talk like that they are normally referring to things such as the Affordable Care Act, or the student loan program. Maybe agricultural subsidies. I was talking about a chicken thigh.

To my everlasting credit, I never wrote that letter. I am a bigger person than that. And a busier one. Just yesterday I drove off from McDonald’s with a McMuffin missing its egg and I. Am. Furious. Where’s the keyboard?