Burt Prelutsky

Conservative pundits keep lecturing us about treating Barack Obama with respect instead of following the example of those nasty liberals who, not satisfied with trashing George W. Bush for eight long years, are still at it. As if we were a bunch of brats misbehaving in church, we are constantly admonished to always respect the office. To which I say, hooey!

To me, that makes about as much sense as saying I should respect the Nobel Prize because, after all, over the years it has gone to the distinguished likes of Albert Einstein, Elie Wiesel, Enrico Fermi, George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, John Steinbeck and Milton Friedman. On the other hand, not only didn’t Jonas Salk, Maurice Hillman or Mark Twain, win one, but Jimmy Carter, Le Duc Tho, Al Gore and Yasser Arafat did. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that Che Guevara was never an honoree.

As far as I’m concerned, respecting the office of the president has nothing to do with loving America and everything to do with the man occupying the White House. The way I see it, it makes no sense to respect a man whom I believe is single-handedly destroying the country simply because he won a beauty contest last November.

Furthermore, I’m getting tired of hearing what a magnificent orator he is. Every time he starts spouting his hypocritical platitudes in that radio announcer’s voice I am reminded of an Academy Award show I watched several years ago. Sir Laurence Olivier was being celebrated for his lengthy career in motion pictures. As he began to speak, I thought either he or I had taken leave of our senses. I couldn’t make head or tail of anything he said as he rumbled on for three or four incoherent minutes, yet the camera kept cutting away to an Oscar-winning actor in the front row who was totally in awe, obviously entranced by Olivier’s every high-sounding syllable. Moses on the mountaintop couldn’t have been more enthralled when God handed over the tablets. At a later date, when asked about it, Sir Laurence confessed that he had blanked out on his prepared remarks. To make up for the brain freeze, he essentially wound up speaking balderdash, but in much the same fashion that in an earlier time he had delivered Hamlet’s soliloquy. So it was that the fellow in the front row was responding to theatricality and cadence, not content, much as Obama’s besotted groupies do these days.