I'd like to believe that, to be named an official overseas representative of the United States, one must exemplify the highest ideals of what it means to be an American citizen on the world stage: a firm grasp of geopolitics, a reputation for sophisticated public intellectualism, that sort of thing.
Turns out, one just needs a lot of cash and a willingness to lavish it on one's political patrons.
Which, I guess, when you think about it, is a pretty appropriate representation of Americanism after all.
Now that President Obama has secured a second term, the time has come for him to reward his most stalwart supporters with choice ambassadorships around the world. Top fund-raisers may soon be invited to lead embassies in such desirable locales as London, Paris, and Rome. While career diplomats--i.e., those who have devoted their lives to public service--get stuck in such garden spots as Yemen and the Sudan, those who wrote nice big checks have to go slumming in Papeete, Tahiti, or Oranjestad, Aruba.
Sure, there's a certain logic to this breakdown of responsibilities: Since trouble is far more likely to flare up in Pakistan than in the Bahamas, it makes sense to have more experienced foreign-service officers in these potential hotspots. On the other hand, if a billionaire heads an embassy in an underdeveloped land, he or she could probably just buy the country in the event of revolution.
Bottom line, though, this practice of doling out plum ambassadorships to well-heeled political cronies strikes me as more than a little corrupt, and I want in on it! I'm realistic: I understand that the five dollars I sent to the Obama campaign in 2008 will not get me into the Court of St. James. But I don't want to get sent to one of those loser countries like Uruguay or Denmark, either! I've given this a great deal of thought over the last ten minutes, and I think Australia would be perfect: I sort of speak the language (what the hell's a didgeridoo?); I have a full appreciation of grilled meats; and I know the words to every Men at Work song ever recorded. President Obama, you know where to find me.
Pack up the cats, WOS, we're heading to Canberra!
(WOS: Oh, God, what is it this time?)