by Burt Prelutsky | Los Angeles
If e pluribus unum means, as I believe, out of many, one; America needs a new motto. The days when people came here from all over the world in order to become one people seem to have disappeared. Now we are a people with dual citizenships, whatever the hell that is, and we walk around with more hyphens than the English gentry.
You would think that instead of coming here to become Americans, pledging, in the ringing words of Thomas Jefferson, their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, they come as tourists and visitors.
Even those who aren’t foreign-born play up their status as members of minority groups. Well, it so happens that I’m a member of several such groups. I am short, bald, Jewish and male. Unfortunately, none of those groups are among those that receive special dispensations from the government or from society at large. While I hate to sulk over such matters, it really doesn’t seem fair that I am excluded when so many millions of people are receiving money, special treatment and a constant outpouring of sympathy.
For instance, consider those folks who are now referred to as Native Americans, although that strikes me as odd, inasmuch as their ancestors never called this place America. Heck, President Obama even took the time, for some bizarre reason, to praise some of them when he took the stage to initially comment on the massacre that took place at Fort Hood.
There is also a lot of phony baloney attached to those who have also been called noble savages, although there was often far more savagery than nobility in their makeup. But, as is usually the case, there were good Indians and there were bad ones. There were and are also really stupid ones, the ones who periodically get up in arms over the names of various high school, college and professional, sports teams. Call a team the Spicks, the Nips, the Krauts, the Dagos, the Chinks and the Yids, and certain people might have a gripe coming. But call a team the Braves, the Chiefs and the Redskins, and it’s hardly an insult. People of all races and creeds cheer for those teams.
There is a reason, after all, that some teams are called the Tigers, the Lions, the Bears, the Falcons and the Eagles, but none that are named the Rats, the Mice, the Shrews or the Cockroaches, although I think there are a few that deserve to be. They can’t all be the Angels, the Saints, the Padres and the Patriots.
Frankly, instead of whining about the nomenclature, Native Americans should learn to distinguish between an insult and a compliment.
Speaking of minority groups, as unlikely as it might seem, I’d like to take a moment to defend Harry Reid, Joe Biden and Chris Matthews. When Reid referred to Negroes, when Biden called Obama clean and when Matthews confessed that for an hour or so during the State of the Union address, he actually forgot that Obama was black, they were expressing — perhaps for the first time in their lives — exactly how they and their fellow liberals actually feel about black Americans. Some might call it patronizing or condescending, but I, for one, prefer honesty to political pandering.
What’s more, a half century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and after two of the last three secretaries of state, the current attorney general and the president of the United States, have all been black men and women, liberals continue to insist this is a racially oppressive society. They continue to push for affirmative action and preferential treatment for black Americans. If that doesn’t say everything you need to know about the way white liberals regard blacks, you’re either not paying attention or you have a stake in keeping 14% of the population on the plantation.
On the other hand, considering the fact that 90% of blacks continue to vote for left-wingers suggests that blacks, themselves, share that same low opinion and wish, for reasons of their own, to validate it every time there’s an election.
I forgot to mention another minority group to which I belong: sane people, otherwise known as conservatives. But I have a hunch their numbers are increasing on a daily basis and will soon become a majority. And I will then have to fall back on merely being short, bald, Jewish, male and as cute as a button. CRO
copyright 2010 Burt Prelutsky
Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.