Burt Prelutsky

I’m sure that most of us have heard the inspiring story of the Boston Tea Party. At least when I was in school, they were still relating the tale of a handful of American patriots, including Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, who, weary of taxation without representation, dumped large amounts of English tea into Boston Harbor. Well, if I could include time travel among my many talents, I just might go back to 1773 and try to persuade them to reconsider. "Boys," I’d say to them, "I understand your frustration. But you have no idea what this is going to lead to down the road. I know that King George is as crazy as a loon, but a couple of hundred years from now, your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren are going to have to answer to Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Compared to them, King George looks as wise as King Solomon and as congenial as Ben Franklin."

I mean, when you start adding up what it costs the typical taxpayer to keep councilmen, aldermen, mayors, assemblymen, state senators, governors, congressmen, U.S. senators and the president -- not to mention their legions of secretaries, assistants, consultants, pollsters and assorted mistresses -- clothed, housed, fed and pensioned, the colonists were getting off dirt cheap. I’d gladly pay a few extra cents for a cup of tea if it meant that these thousands of freeloaders would be forced to leave their cushy fiefdoms and go find honest work.

The bottom line is that taxation without representation is bad, but taxation with representation is worse.

Speaking of politicians, in a letter to the editor, a reader of the New York Times grumbled: "It’s amazing that Andrew Cuomo, who owes his whole career to his dad, may not get the Senate seat of Hillary Rodham Clinton (who owes her whole career to her husband) because David Paterson (who owes his whole career to his dad) may give it to Caroline Kennedy (who owes her whole career to her dad). You would think a state as large as New York could find someone who deserves something on his or her own."

This merely points out how far America has come in recreating a monarchy of our own. But instead of our kings and queens relying on the European rule of progenitor to inherit their crowns, they have chosen to adopt the Hollywood version, better known as nepotism.

As I sit here, nobody is certain who is going to be the senator from Minnesota. That hasn’t prevented Al Franken from claiming victory with a margin of 225 votes, in spite of the fact that in at least 25 precincts, there were more ballots than voters!