They made us groan. They made us grumble. They made us a global laughingstock. The whiners of 2003 embarrassed themselves -- and the nation -- with their unrivaled sense of entitlement, arrogance and shamelessness. Let's send them off with a 21-hankie salute and a collective kick in the pants:
-- Human shields. Among the hundreds of Saddam Hussein's stooges around the world who volunteered to protect "strategic sites" in Iraq were 20 American antiwar activists. They knowingly violated U.S. sanctions against travel and commerce with Hussein's regime. They let themselves be used by a merciless dictator.
Upon arrival, they complained about being placed too close to smoky oil refineries and being roughhoused by scary Iraqi National Guardsmen (with -- gasp -- guns!). Upon return to the United States, they whimpered when the Treasury Department fined them up to $10,000 for breaking the rules.
But what about our free speech? they blubbered. What about it? It's one thing to trot around naked in Berkeley with "I Hate America" tattooed on your chest. It is quite another to travel to Baghdad to impede a potential American military operation and endanger our soldiers' lives. One American human shield, Faith Fippinger, bawled to the BBC that she might lose her house if forced to pay the fine. Poor baby. "Civil disobedience" has consequences. What would Henry David Thoreau think of your caviling? Pipe down and pay up.
-- Illegal alien litigants. How do you say "chutzpah" in Spanish? After being caught working illegally at Wal-Mart, a group of nine illegal aliens is suing the company for alleged discrimination in failing to pay overtime and withhold taxes. Meanwhile, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund has filed suit against seven public colleges in Virginia. MALDEF is challenging an advisory opinion issued by Virginia's attorney general, Jerry W. Kilgore, who urged college officials to deny admission to illegal alien students. MALDEF's creative legal team claims that Virginia is violating the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and "impermissibly occupying a field that Congress has the exclusive authority to occupy."
Finally, the open-borders lobby has discovered an American law it wants to see enforced.
-- Michael Jackson. The baby-dangling, slumber-partying, lipstick-wearing entertainer ran into trouble with the law again this year. Facing seven charges of child molestation and two charges of "administering an intoxicating liquor to a child for the purpose of committing a felony," the pallid pop star and his defenders have resorted to playing the race card of all things. Brother Jermaine likened the prosecution to a "modern-day lynching." Jesse Jackson complained about racial double standards in the justice system.
Crying racial wolf might have worked for Michael Jackson in 1979, perhaps the last year anyone actually thought of him as a black celebrity. But now? This bogus ploy is as transparent as, um, Michael's fading face.
-- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. He votes for the Iraq war resolution. He carps about President Bush proceeding to use it. He espouses a "bold, new vision" of leadership. He says "f--k" on the record. He agrees to appear on Jay Leno's show. He complains about having to follow Triumph the Insult Comic Dog puppet. You're a war hero, Senator. Wipe your nose and act like one.
-- Rep. Bill Janklow. The Republican congressman from South Dakota is still refusing to accept the consequences of his actions like a man. On Aug. 16, in his hometown of Flandreau, Janklow plowed his speeding Cadillac through a traffic sign and into Randy Scott's Harley-Davidson. Scott died instantly. A notorious scofflaw who brazenly joked about his longtime penchant for serial speeding, Janklow refused to admit guilt in the incident. Instead, his lawyers mounted a "Diabetes made him do it" defense. The congressman hadn't eaten for 20 hours before the accident and his blood sugar was low, they beseeched. A hometown jury rejected Janklow's weasel defense and swiftly convicted him on charges of second-degree manslaughter. A shocked Janklow is now appealing the unanimous verdict, claiming that prosecutors failed to present enough evidence to prove him guilty.
Some people just don't know when to stop.