A back-handed compliment is still back-handed

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“Honey, aren’t you just precious in your little get-up? Why, that little frock is just the cutest thing, with its little spaghetti straps and low neck line, I’ll bet anything you didn’t mean to forget your cardigan, did you, hon? Bless it, you come on over to the coat room and we’ll find you a nice coverlet for the services.”

This scene is courtesy of my memory banks, and describes the time I decided to defy my mother and act grown by wearing a sun dress to church, and was embarrassed to no end by one of the old ladies in the foyer, on the way into services, who was appalled that I would be so under-dressed, even in the Lord’s name, for a Sunday go to meeting. Instead of asserting her dominance openly (which, consequently, my mother would have done the minute she saw the sun dress anyway) the old lady used the art of “back-handed compliment” to put me in my place, by praising the very thing she intended to nail me to the wall for.

“Well aren’t you precious in your little get-up?”“Well aren’t you precious in your little get-up?”

Bless her heart, I probably deserved it. I may have even been wearing white shoes before Easter, who knows. It’s tough in them congregation streets, y’all.

Here’s a example of when the backhanded compliment isn’t deserved:

The Senate Commerce Committee took time out today to recognize the trucking industry as leaders in the fight to combat human trafficking. After gushing about what a great job the industry has done to promote awareness and have specific training to prevent and combat human trafficking, in near-perfect dominant “old church lady” style, they said, “Bless their hearts, they’ve done such a great job we’re going to promote the notion that any trucker convicted of a human trafficking-related offense lose his or her CDL for life.”

Wait. What?

You just spent two hours talking about the gold standard, and testimony about this was praised and good feels were had all around and then you say, “But wait there’s more. We’re going to specifically single out the trucking industry to lifetime bans for convictions involving human trafficking. Never mind the boat captains, airline pilots, hospitality and liquor licensed establishments, cosmetology, masseurs, manicurists and a hundred other licenses used to traffiick and exploit people, we’re just going to specifically mention the truckers. Because they’re the gold standard.”

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The question bears to be answered, “Gold standard of what? Industries the government feels are a personal piggy bank and yet are threatened with specific language, while others are not?”

This is where I do the thing George really hates and adopt the “I’m about to take my shoes off and commence to whipping up on anything that moves” pose.

Know this, Senator Thune. You better slow your roll on the back-handed compliments, because we aren’t nearly as dumb as we look. You better believe the trucking industry is the gold standard, and you also better understand a lot of this training and extra certification business is forced on a lot of people who aren’t fond of having more and more things forced on them. Does that mean they agree with or participate in human trafficking? Absolutely not. It means they are tired of being singled out and expected to bear the burden of problems that do not originate or end in their industry. If you intend to punish and keep those convicted of trafficking and exploiting human beings from ever being licensed again, you do it across the board, or you don’t do it at all. Fix your little bill, please, and we’ll carry on like decent folks and all agree that human trafficking should be punished to the highest degree, for anyone convicted.

And by the way, that’s a lovely tie. Tell your momma and them we said, “Hey.”

Subsequent to this post, the following release was issued from three Senators sponsoring two bill relative to human trafficking in the Senate commerce committee: 

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) today introduced S. 1532, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act and S. 1536, the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, of which all three senators introducing the legislation are members, also held a hearing today to explore the role of transportation providers in combating human trafficking.

S 1532, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act would disqualify individuals from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for their lifetime if they used a CMV to commit a felony involving human trafficking.

S. 1536, the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act focuses on the prevention of human trafficking. The bill would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator at the U.S. Department of Transportation and increase outreach, education, and reporting efforts at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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