Given that U.S. ambassador to Canada David Wilkins has made such a sorry spectacle of himself lately, it behooves us to do a careful investigation into the etymological origins of the word "behooves." No, wait ... wrong column.
Actually, it behooves us to try to understand how it is that such ignorant, classless buffoons end up as ambassadors in that administration. Well, it's no secret -- money. Lots of money. And, as you can read there, seeing your appointment as a sign from God. Or George Bush, who these days seems to have difficulty telling the difference.
And what kind of ignorant dick ... uh, gentleman is our Mr. Wilkins? Well, he certainly seems to have been picked with the maximum irritation potential in mind. Let's check the historical record (scroll to near bottom):
The Bush administration has nominated a right-wing, fundamentalist, pro-war, pro-military Southern Republican, David Wilkins, as new US ambassador to Canada. Indeed, Wilkins reminds historians of John Calhoun, the South Carolina politician who was one of the main advocates for invading Canada in 1812.
Wilkins is Speaker of the South Carolina legislature. He is a religious conservative known for opposition to women's rights, abortion, the environment, gay rights, marijuana, pacifism, and the Canadian softwood lumber industry.
In 2001, he engineered a South Carolina legislative resolution that asked the US government to enforce trade sanctions against Canada.
Well, isn't that special? Given the contentious and long-running softwood lumber dispute, what better choice for the position of ambassador than someone who's already made up his mind on the issue?
Anything else we should know about Wilkins while we're here?
During the South Carolina primary in the 2000 presidential campaign, Wilkins helped orchestrate a vicious, racist smear campaign against Bush rival Senator John McCain.
Good, good ... so he's a Bushie in the truest "Swift Boat" mode. Is there more? Whoa, how about this?
Wilkins was personally responsible for increasing the severity of South Carolina's marijuana laws. He crusaded for harsher sentencing for simple marijuana possession, and has encouraged law enforcement officers to arrest and jail bona fide medical marijuana users.
During his term as Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Wilkins pushed hard to increase prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders, a move that cost taxpayers millions of extra dollars building new prisons and hiring more prison guards.
Most nonviolent offenders served an average 53 percent of their sentences, but Wilkins' proposal upped that to 85 percent.
Wilkins responded to criticism of his proposal by saying South Carolinians wanted tougher prison sentences, and that they'd be happy to pay for them. South Carolina already has a higher incarceration rate than most other states.
Gee, one wonders if Wilkins had anything to do with this whole Marc Emery thing. And Wilkins' qualifications for being his country's rep to Canada? Well, it certainly didn't have anything to do with actually knowing anything about it:
Shortly after his appointment as America's new ambassador to
Canada, David Wilkins, former South Carolina legislator, was
asked during a CBC interview if he had been to Canada
before. "Many years ago, when I was in the Army stationed in
Indiana, my wife and I visited Canada," he replied.
"Oh yes, where did you go?" asked the interviewer,
pleasantly surprised that Wilkins had ventured that far
"Well ... uh ... it was ... uh ... round the ... uh ... the
Falls area ... uh ... Niagara Falls, back up in there around
that area, as well as ... uh ... going I guess back West
toward Indiana. But obviously above Indiana. But I'd have to
get out a map to tell you all."
Wilkins, who had been a major fundraiser for President Bush
in South Carolina, apparently couldn't name any Canadian
provinces. But give the new ambassador credit. He did manage
to say "Niagara Falls."
Amusingly, if you read the above carefully, Wilkins never did refer to a single place in Canada by its actual name, did he? (What's west of Niagara Falls and "above Indiana" is Michigan.)
Is it too late to start missing Paul Cellucci?
WHY DO THEY HATE CANADA? And you just had to know that, while those of us who actually like Canada would be incensed over Wilkins' ham-handed bullying and lecturing, those patriotic folks over at Proud to be Canadian (Motto: "Canada sucks.") would of course be defending Wilkins. I am so not surprised.
POGGE WEIGHS IN: A good piece, but I'm a bit worried about the profanity. Tsk tsk.