By Wayne William Cipriano
As I was looking over the Douglas County Herald to see if the Mayor and the city council had followed my suggestions for renaming some of the city’s streets, I saw a piece soliciting bids for a contract to do some side-walk work in Ava.
At the end of the solicitation I noted with surprise, then interest, and finally amusement, the list of things that the city would not discriminate against in awarding that contract.
In addition to promising to give socially and economically disadvantaged business owners (yeah, I don’t know either) a fair opportunity to bid for the project, the City of Ava promised not to discriminate against any person on the grounds of their race, color, sex, age, ancestry, or national origin (they left out one of my all-time favorites: previous condition of servitude) –– characteristics over which no one has any power to choose –– and religion or creed, promises made to all of us in that pesky little document they are always harping about, the Constitution of the United States of America.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am in favor of obviating the discrimination so correctly eschewed by the City. In fact, rather than list the several things we are not going to discriminate against, I think it would be a much more useful exercise to list those things the City is going to discriminate against. That would put us right up next to whatever unfairness we planned to practice.
We might want to discriminate against businesses which perpetrated fraud against the City in previous contracts, businesses that insisted on using six and seven-year old children to do heavy outdoor labor –– stuff like that. But it is difficult to construct a list of those we would discriminant against without revert-ing to things like the congenitally lazy and extremely stupid (maybe that would be going a bit far, but you get my drift). Personally, I would just care about getting the job done within the parameters of the contract, as early as possible, for the lowest cost.
If a company of morally deficient leprechauns wearing silly hats who danced weirdly during lunch breaks and might be swearing at each other in a language only they understood were able to make that sidewalk per specs, below budget, and early, that would be fine with me.
I would even go beyond civil projects to my own personal services and products. Let’s say I am going to take a commercial flight some-where. I’d want the world’s best pilot in the left-hand seat and the world’s second best pilot sitting right next to her. What those pilots looked like, sounded like, did in their off duty hours, no matter how weird (and I have known some very weird pilots) wouldn’t affect my pilot choice at all. If I were looking for, say, role models in that cockpit, I’d say my parents had failed me.
Wouldn’t it be really fine if rather than make lists of things we weren’t going to discriminate against, we judged each business, each group, each country, each person on what they did, period?
Just an idea ….