By David Anderson
If you were on the vetting committee — if in fact there were a vetting committee — who would you pick to win, the tortoise or the hare, and why?
‘What’s a vetting committee,’ you ask? That’s a good question and the very best place to begin something we dare not take for granted. I Googled it. Here’s the answer.
Vetting a candidate — if it means anything at all — means to be thorough as in thoroughbred. In fact, “to vet was originally a horse-racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race” (Wikipedia).
Words mean something. To vet is not to bet on who is mostly likely to get across the finish line first, or garner the most votes. It is not to see what everybody else thinks or what the polls are saying. It is not to ride a wave of sentiment, a best guess, nor a hunch. It is however, at least as far as horses go, to thoroughly evaluate the thoroughbred before — emphasis upon before — the race begins: “health and soundness” in the case of horses, maybe the same with turtles and rabbits.
If the objective is to see who is fastest, lacking a vetting committee, you notice and hopefully point out to the others who may not be as observant, that the tortoise has an immediate drawback: his shell. He’s carrying a lot of baggage. You place your money on the rabbit.
But another suggests the one with the long ears comes across — despite obvious natural giftedness and potential — as an arrogant braggart, boasting much but at the same time — and as a result — casting doubt on actual capability. He goes with the turtle.
Certainly both critters can be commended for zeal. There certainly aren’t any other farm animals lining up to compete. Chicken maybe.
And so the debate rages.
Some just simply like the turtle as he reminds them of their childhood when they had one as a pet. Unobtrusive, a collaborator, a plodder, one able to move — albeit slowly — across the aisle.
Others remind the likeable-turtle supporters that this is a race after all. Speed. As such they are willing to by-golly-bless-the-brashness-
Besides, opprobrium is a badge of honor.
But what if it’s not a race but an office? What if vetting actually meant a vet — someone, or a team of folks — who, like a veterinarian, knew what the hell a shell might mean to the potential office-holder?
What if there were, as a fellow challenged me in a related and recent debate, “an organized candidate committee, a true-in-every-sense-of-the-