Saturday, September 17, 2016

Word of the Day: Credibility

Credibility is a term of which the principle application is the “believability” of a person or claim. Is it supposed to help Hillary Clinton’s “credibility” that three of her former staffers at the State Department, who had detailed knowledge of the inner workings and security failures of her personal server, refused to answer questions before a Congressional committee, the answers to which would clearly be yet more damaging to Clinton’s credibility? That it was admitted that there had been “several” unsuccessful forced log-ins on her server, which illegally contained classified information? How many times were they successful? Of course, that was one of the questions that was not answered. What foreign governments knew that Clinton was dumb enough to keep classified information on an unsecure, personal server, merely because she was too lazy for a few rules to annoy her? After all, she spent so much of her time being a paid tourist.  But it’s all par for the course with Clinton; how are we to judge the “credibility” of a pathological liar? How do we judge it in relation to Donald Trump’s loutishness?

But since to Clinton’s legion of lemmings,  the word “credibility” doesn’t even exist in their lexicon. We must look elsewhere for a “proper” definition of “credibility.” Today, it might refer to the character of someone who “proves” to friends and enemies that he is “man” enough to beat-up on people who are smaller than he or she is. 

Or it could refer to following: You are walking to work in the wee hours of the morning. You notice some huge guy who looks like the former “professional” wrestler and current action movie actor Dwayne Johnson wandering in the middle of the street a short distance ahead. He looks like he may be excessively inebriated, but this the middle of an industrial park area and there is no place in sight that he might have gotten “lost” from. But as you get closer, he suddenly becomes “sober” and waits for you on the sidewalk. You are somewhat concerned for your physical safety at this point. You try to walk around him but he blocks your path. You are wearing earphones, and he innocuously wants to know what music I am listening to. Thinking that if you at least give him an answer he’ll let you alone, you begin to answer him; he shows his approval of your taste by socking you hard in the face. You go down, and he tells you to “stay down.” You comply as he rips off the cord around your neck, takes your earphones and runs off. You observe that there is a car partially hidden by trees in an unlighted section of next crossing street, which the man runs to and into, and the car disappears down the deserted road, without headlights on so as to foil any effort to identify it.

What happened here? This person was no doubt a gang member-in-training. His “rite of passage” in gaining “credibility” as a full-fledged gang-banger was to find some isolated little person with no witnesses in sight, and for no rational reason knock him out and rob him. He might feel a little guilty about the whole thing, because he didn’t really want to hit a complete stranger (the reason why he told you to “stay down”), and he could have taken your wallet. Unfortunately, the object he made off with was not an over-priced iPod like he probably thought, but something even more valuable to you: Your airport identification badge; without your ID badge, you might as well walk around stark naked.
You call the police, who say they can’t really do anything (this kind of thing happens all the time, and they don’t have time for any reported thefts anyways, unless it is for felony-level robberies), so they tell you to file a report, which you do. 

You get a copy of the report from the police station, and go down to the Airport Access Office to report the theft. If you lost your identification, you have to pay a $250 fine for a replacement, the second time $500, and the third time your employment at the airport is terminated. But if the badge was stolen or was found and returned, then you don’t have to pay the fine. Two black women are working in the office when you show up. You tell them what happened, and show them the police report. But the police report isn’t enough to “prove” it was stolen, and neither is the bruise on your cheek bone. Your story lacks “credibility,” because they might suspect that you are trying to accuse some “innocent brother/child” of the mugging—and they never do that. 

Anyways, they don’t make clear what else is required, and they imply that you are “lying” and must pay the fine. But you are not a liar, and you will not pay the $250. Your “credibility” is being questioned, and you have your principles to consider. You call the police station, but you are told that the officer who is “handling” the theft is taking a short “vacation,” and won’t be back until the following week. Oh great. 

You are not able to work for six days and thus lost $600 in pay. The police officer finally returns from her vacation; she told you that she didn’t understand what else is required, and tells you to  have the airport people call her. You come back the ID office and tell them that the officer wishes to speak to them, and you give them her phone number. They seem much reluctant to do this, and you tell them that you will call the officer so that she can speak to them. All this did was cause confusion and consternation, since now they have to justify their own “credibility” to a law officer. They make you sit around for an hour, and then one of the managers from the vendor you work for shows and he has you mysteriously accompany him to a private room, where he questions you on your “story.” When you are finished, he confesses that your story sounds “credible” and it didn’t appear to him to be “made-up” as the access office accused it of being. 

The manager then drops the “bombshell”: That the access office had the badge since two days after it was reported stolen. Someone had mailed it in without a return address.  Of course it was without one, you say; the person who had taken it probably noticed the Department of Homeland Security decal on it and became “worried,” perhaps suspecting that he had made a mistake in mugging a “government official,” and his offence could mean a felony conviction and deportation back to Hawaii or wherever. The manager agrees that this is a likely scenario, and hands you back your “lost” badge. 

Your credibility restored to its proper place, the “credibility” of the personnel in the ID Access Office must be put under a microscope. Were they expressing their stereotypes concerning “ethnic” people? I mean, who are they to judge anyone? Clean-up your own “house” before you do that. At least the mugger had enough personal “credibility” to return the badge; the real “thieves” in this episode were the people in the access office. It was they who “stole” the $600 in pay you lost because they doubted your “credibility.”

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