by Burt Prelutsky | Los Angeles

I was taken aback when President Obama said he was proud of the Afghani people who voted in their recent election in spite of being intimidated by the Taliban.  I mean, how was it he never said he was proud of American Republicans who voted in spite of being intimidated by the thugs from ACORN, the SEIU and the UAW?

Although I don’t watch so-called reality shows, I’ve come up with what I think would be a real humdinger. It would pit certain studio audiences against one another in a series of competitions.  One week it might be the Saturday Night Live audience against Oprah’s, the following week it might be the View battling it out with Bill Maher’s team.  Judging by their enthusiastic response to badly written sketches, softball interviews and inane comments, the competitions obviously couldn’t be too demanding.  The contestants, for instance, might be asked to locate Florida on a map or peel three bananas within 60 seconds or add five and six without removing their shoes.  Janeane Garofalo and Joy Behar could be hired as cheerleaders.

When during the presidential campaign, Sen. Obama said he saw his mission as fundamentally transforming America, what exactly did the 62 million people who voted for him think he actually meant?  Put us on the metric system?  Introduce the euro?  What was it about America that so many people felt needed to be straightened out by a party hack from the most politically corrupt state in the Union?

Just because a star-struck judge decided that Michael Vick should only spend 18 months in jail doesn’t mean that Mr. Vick got what he deserved, and that everyone should forgive and forget his disgusting deeds.  Heck, if judges got to have the final word in such matters, we would all have to accept that justice was served in 1969 when Ted Kennedy, instead of being forced to face a manslaughter rap, got a two month suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident.  Heck, I actually saw Philadelphia Eagle fans give Mr. Vick a standing ovation when he trotted out on Lincoln Financial Field.  If it were up to me, I’d have given all those goons 18 months for sending such a terrible message to their kids.  Besides, Plaxico Burress got a two-year sentence and all he’d done was shoot himself in the leg.

I would think that even liberals would have been up in arms when the Obama administration wanted a person’s friends and neighbors to rat him out if he opposed Obama’s health care plan.  These are the same people who insisted, and quite correctly, that Richard Nixon’s Enemies List was an abomination.  But at least it was a list of the man’s actual enemies.  Those people really did hate Nixon.  But Obama wanted to know the names of those Americans — Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians — who simply had the unmitigated gall to think his radical program stunk to high heaven.

Some people are wondering why Attorney General Eric Holder is going ahead with his investigation of the CIA, especially when it wasn’t that long ago that Obama said he was putting the past to rest.  I think I know the reason Obama has changed his mind.  It’s pretty much the same reason that Bill Clinton green-lighted the farcical missile attack on the pharmaceutical factory in the Sudan.  In Clinton’s case, it was meant to knock the Monica Lewinsky affair off the front page.  In Obama’s case, it’s to knock the health care debacle off the front page.

I recently read a poll that reported that the majority of Israelis believe that Obama favors the Palestinians.  Well, duh.  I mean if it’s not bad enough that the Community Organizer in Chief curtsied to a Saudi prince, gets angrier about homes being built in Israel than nukes being built in Iran, can’t say enough nice things about the religion of our sworn enemies and denies that we’re at war with Islamic fundamentalists, there’s the matter of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.  It seems that it is dedicated solely to Palestinian interests.  It has $530 million with which to fund summer camps, free movies, business classes and “promoting and preserving Palestinian cultural heritage,” whatever in hell that might be.  Notable suicide bombers down through the annals of history?  The programs are translated into Arabic, but not Hebrew.  The education finance grants are available to candidates who must be a Palestinian resident of the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Gaza Strip.  Is my memory going or aren’t they the same folks we saw dancing in the streets on 9/11?

The ex-Mrs. William Saroyan once made a very perceptive remark about the writer, famous for writing lovingly about the Armenian community in Fresno, California.  She said, “Bill loved mankind, but he hated people.”

When I look at Obama, I see a lot of Saroyan there.  Although he’s made millions of dollars off his books and CDs, it’s common knowledge that he has one relative, apparently an illegal immigrant, living in public housing and another in an African village, surviving on pennies a day.  But Obama keeps telling us that he’s heart-sick about the unemployed and the uninsured.  Well, as H.L. Mencken once observed: “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it.”

Finally, I am getting sick and tired of American companies being intimidated by groups of black thugs.  For years, we saw major companies paying extortion to Jesse Jackson because he threatened to have their products boycotted in black neighborhoods.  Now we see ColorOfChange threatening to boycott companies if they dare to advertise on Glenn Beck’s TV show.

While I think boycotts are perfectly legitimate when they are done to right a moral wrong, as they were in the South in order to allow black people equal access to seats on buses and at lunch counters, I hate extortionists, whether they’re working for Al Capone or some black radical.  Being poor or black or an illegal immigrant doesn’t make anyone morally superior to someone who is rich or white or a citizen.  For too many years, we’ve allowed these so-called victims to assume a role they’re not entitled to, one of moral superiority.

If I owned a company and the riff-raff from ColorOfChange or ACORN or the Rainbow Coalition threatened to boycott my product, I would take out ads proclaiming that as an American, I was not about to kowtow to a bunch of thugs simply because they happened to be black.

I have a hunch that most Americans — and by most, I’m referring to those, black and white, who don’t get their opinions from the NY Times and the Huffington Post, their talking points from Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, and their marching orders from David Axelrod and Rahm Emmanuel — would respond favorably to my message, which is exactly the way decent people have always responded when bullies and tyrants have threatened their freedoms.


copyright 2009 Burt Prelutsky

Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.

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