Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Resignation Acrostics: Resistance Rallying Cry, or Just Feeding the Administration's Myside Bias?
I see there has been another acrostic resignation letter. First it was the 17 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. See their letter here, with its R-E-S-I-S-T message. I had never heard of that Committee before, and after looking at the examples of the "Committee's accomplishments over the years” that are highlighted on its About Us page, only three of which are from this century, I wonder what it was all those committee members did before they resigned and whether the taxpayers will miss them now that they’re gone.
And today it’s one of the Science Envoys the State Department employs as unpaid volunteers, a UC Berkeley professor named Daniel Kammen, who has resigned and put an I-M-P-E-A-C-H acrostic on his resignation letter. I'm sure he'll be missed. However, Science Envoys “usually serve for one year” as it says here, and since Kammen was appointed on March 31, 2016, it looks like he was due to leave about now in any case. So he added a little humorous touch to his inevitable resignation letter. How edgy, kind of.
No one enjoys that sort of gag more than me, you understand. All good clean bureaucratic fun. Back in the Cold War years, I managed to rename the branch for which I worked the “Certification and Core Chancery Policy” Branch so that it could have the office symbol “xx/xx/CCCP.” That office symbol was on the books for about two weeks before a senior official got the joke and changed it back.
About Mr. Science Envoy Kammen’s resignation letter with the IMPEACH message, though, how is it anything more than a puerile gesture? The audience for that is who, exactly, outside of his faculty lounge?
Nothing in the new fad of anti-Trump acrostics will have any impact on Trump himself, surely, or on anyone else who makes decisions for his administration. If it makes any impression at all on them, it will be to confirm the Trumpists’ preconceived opinion of government lifers and political appointees as a hostile Deep State that is to be dismissed or simply ignored.
Enjoy yourselves and resist away, all you many appointees and commissioners out there, but don’t pretend you’re not validating the negative expectations of the guy who got elected.