OP-ED: Welcome to Theater of the Absurd: The ACA Disaster Demonstrates That AARP Board Membership Is a Tougher Entry Than Congress or the Presidency

By Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick

They kind of snickered….no, they actually scoffed when I suggested a few years and wrote that we should get a Constitutional amendment that would permit the retention of a consortium of executive search firms to find good candidates for the presidency of the United States so that we as the selection committee could vote without regard to political party. After all, isn’t that the logical course taken by major corporations in need of a CEO?  Aren’t we a major corporation?

Then the current version of the Theater of the Absurd came about with the playground version of immature kids called Democrats and Republicans, only this time they’re playing with a whole country and with us who pay the bills they’re playing with.

Authorities say absurd drama subverts logic.  It relishes the unexpected and the logically impossible.  According to Sigmund Freud: “There is a feeling of freedom we can enjoy when we are able to abandon the straitjacket of logic.”

Is that not how we might characterize what has been going on with whatever you call it between the warring parties in Washington?

Perhaps that idea of using “head hunters” to find good candidates for the White House might also be extended to both Houses of the United States Congress.

Think of the savings in campaign fund raising, printing of ballots and all the rest of the absurd stuff that seems to inundate political campaigns.

Of course one would have to contend with the rest of the absurdity that would go with such moves.  For example, there would be the folding of political campaign consultant offices; it would be tougher for broadcast and print pundits to “ pundit”, and there would be the massive job dislocation that could result from the PR firm and other media hangers on.

Despite the absurdity of this kind of proposal,  would it be any more preposterous than what we have?

The fact is it is more difficult just to be considered for the Board of Directors of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) than to qualify for Congress and the Presidency where the minimal requirements deal pretty much age minimums, residency and similar easy stuff.

To apply just to be considered for the AARP Board of Directors, there are questions as to race or ethnicity, age range and agreement to stand for intensive investigations.  That is just to be qualified for presentation to the membership.  Asked about those requests, the office of the AARP Corporate Secretary told me “if the committee were to present a homogeneous slate of candidates-of similar ages, ethnicity and gender -– they risk having the slate rejected by the Board and having to start the nominations process over again.”

The anonymous writer of the Corporate Secretary Office asserted further:  “The AARP Board oversees a budget in excess of a billion dollars and a workforce of some 2,000 individuals across the United States. Each finalist candidate for the Board is asked to consent to a background check conducted by an executive research firm retained by AARP, to include criminal, background and reference checks as well as public records checks……The screening has resulted in elimination of potential candidates, based on adverse information found in the background check,”

Given the size of our multi-trillion dollar budget and much larger employment, perhaps our own Constitution needs some review to make it just as tough even to be considered for national leadership,

Meanwhile, welcome to The Theater of the Absurd….with ALL of its consequences!

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Honick is president of GMA International Ltd with offices in Bainbridge Island, WA.  He is an international consultant to business and writes on a variety of public affairs issues.  He can be reached at joehonick@gmail.com


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