Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Law: 10,000 slaps for Ken Lay

I have a working proposal for how every organization can become more effective and responsive by replacing their vast misnomers known as Customer Service departments with smaller but personally staffed Slap-Upside-the-Head departments. In my proposal, every employee, from CEO on down, must staff the SUH counters or cubicles 24/7, providing a real place and person where customers with a complaint can go to physically strike (bitch-slap) a human scapegoat, who must not only listen to the complaint, but take personal and corporate responsibility for providing a solution. My (always admittedly impractical) theory holds that nowadays corporate intransigence has so grown that only when an executive or manager personally feels the sting of retribution in the flesh will an ethical response (people above profits) be seriously considered and provided.

Like his fellow lying snake Jeff Skilling, former Enron executive Ken Lay has no right or business protesting his innocence or declaiming how "devastated" he was by the fall of Enron and its financial empire. Like any other defendant in a federal trial, he must answer the prosecution's questions and let the jury decide for themselves, not try to weasel his way out of a conviction by presenting himself as a sympathetic victim. He can't be smart and dumb, devious and likable at the same time.

No, the only way Lay can earn the right to lament his losses is to allow every defrauded Enron victim to line up for weeks, and for eight hours a day, allow each one to slap him across the face, tell him how Enron's breach of faith damaged their dreams or destroyed their nest eggs, and spit in his face (this last step is optional). Maybe he can keep his beady-eyed composure for the first few thousand, but I doubt it. Only when he truly faces and understands the abhorrent harm he has done not only to thousands of American families but to the moral fabric of America itself, when he allows his coal glint of a heart to be touched, when he weeps more than crocodile tears, can he earn the right to bemoan his fate on an equal basis with the rest of us.


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