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I’m a little late to the controversies associated with the multi-day trip by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm in a fleet of electric cars, and particularly the squabble with a family of the general public over use of a particular space at an electric charge station.
Most of the commentaries have focused on the detail that it was a car with an internal combustion engine that a staff person used to prevent other electric car users (members of the general public) from using the electric car charger until Secretary Granholm and her entourage arrived.
I was bothered not so much that an internal combustion engine car was used to block the charger. But I was incensed by the entitled attitude of Secretary Granholm that led to the charger being blocked at all. A variant of “Do you know who I am?” that government officials frequently use to demonstrate that they think they are better than “the public,” and that they are entitled to demote the wants and needs of members of “the public” so that the wants of the government officials take priority. Why can’t Secretary Granholm wait in line just as the others do?
In this case, Secretary Granholm told everyone waiting to use that electric car charger that their wants and needs had to wait so that Secretary Granholm could operate with maximum convenience for herself.
The entitled attitude is not unique to Secretary Granholm.
Senators and Members of Congress have demanded that people move seats or even be kicked off airplanes so the Senator or Member of Congress can occupy a preferred seat.
Officials have their own private parking area at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., making the public travel farther to park so Senators and Members of Congress can have more convenient parking.
Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg considers himself entitled to charter entire airplanes because he can’t or won’t figure out how to get to a destination using the existing scheduled transportation everyone else uses.
Government officials prevent members of the public from using streets and highways so they can enjoy unimpeded travel.
I think a few years ago, a U.S. President prevented commercial airliners carrying the general public from taking off or landing at an airport so the President could get a haircut while sitting in Air Force One.
Senators and Members of Congress have asserted that laws Congress passes to apply to the public at large should not apply to them because such applications would be inconvenient. And that court orders that prevent a service provider from providing service to the public should not prevent the service provider from providing identical services to Senators and members of Congress (a Blackberry patent dispute several years ago) because terminating the service would be too disruptive to the convenient operation of Congress.
These are just a few of many examples of the entitled attitudes exhibited by government officials, attitudes that they are entitled to inconvenience the public for the convenience or comfort of the government official.
I’m sure there are ways to push back against the entitlement syndrome exhibited by government officials, but I am doubtful that any of them can realistically be implemented. The government bureaucracy includes hundreds or thousands of personnel whose primary jobs are to make life comfortable for the senior government officials. The Imperial Government in action.Published in