Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2004/ 4 Teves, 5765
Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder
Kerik and the Sistine Chapel
If you want perfection, go to the Sistine Chapel and look up. In dealing with human beings: be sensible. If we only accept pristine backgrounds in our public servants we will end up with an elitist government that will be, in all but name, an aristocracy. And, in addition, we will be governed and protected by an army of second-raters. The only adults who have led past lives devoid of the pressures of earning their keep in the world will be those few born with a silver spoons in their mouths, while the rest of us had to be satisfied with spoons of baser metals, or none at all. When you have to fight your way upwards in life, the gentle luxuries, assorted graciousness' and protections are unavailable.
It is hard to imagine a more miserable entry into life than that of Bernie Kerik. His mother, a prostitute, beaten to death by a pimp; he was abandoned as a child, not knowing even the identity of his father or mother. There would be no promise for such a person, no helping hand up the ladder of life, no support system of money, no sage advice or influence. In all, the recipe of a disastrous and wasted life. Yet, he persevered.
If is one is born with the abundances of life there is no upward journey. The Keriks of America, and those perhaps whose birth placed them not as far back in the race, had to climb their way up, past imperfect jobs, friends and relatives on the wrong side of the justice system, even having to file for bankruptcy because on a $25,000 a year cop's salary it was easy to be $11,782 in debt with no prospect of being able to pay.
One would think that as head of a department of 180,000 people entrusted with protecting America from a terrorist attack, we should be more concerned in choosing a person who could best do the task, rather than one who went to the right schools, and was able to avoid in his journey through life, having to deal with people one would rather do without, having relatives that were able to assist their sail through life, not having to make compromises and being able to have done all things that would be absolutely impeccable, even viewed though a prism of a later time. Time is a spectacular catalyst that with its passing changes the ferocious wolf into the diminutive chihuahua.
If we are concerned about the future, and results, logic would suggest that Kerik was the man for the job, since he is one of the few, and the very few, who had to deal with the results of terrorism and dealt with it successfully. It was a mistake to lose our way in mire of his past, rather than the promise he could have held for the future.
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© 2003, Jackie Mason & Raul Felder. A version of this column appeared at The American Prowler.