Burt Prelutsky
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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.

Speaking of speaking, a reader sent me an e-mail in which she happened to mention how difficult it is to get her young daughters to talk to their grandmother, even to call and thank the old woman when she sends them gifts. It’s a common enough problem, and one I generally attribute to the way kids tend to be raised these days, when even common courtesy seems to be asking too much of them. But for once, for some inexplicable reason, it occurred to me to look at it from the kids’ point of view. While I don’t personally know these particular people, I have noticed that there is generally a lack of communication not only between kids and their parents, but between youngsters and other adults. To a certain extent, at least, I’ve decided that grown-ups are to blame.

What takes place when uncles, aunts and grandparents, get together with their young relatives? Nearly always, the adults ask the kids what’s new, how do they like their teachers and what sort of grades they’re getting. It’s a wonder the kids can stay awake long enough to say, “I’m okay. The teacher’s okay. My grades are okay.” If you really want an honest answer -- and why would you? -- you’d be better off handcuffing them to a chair and working them over with a rubber hose. Even then, the answers would probably be lies, but at least you’d have a good time.

If you have the slightest desire to talk to these young savages, spill your guts. Tell them all the stupid, embarrassing and dangerous things you did when you were their age, decades before you turned into an old fogy pretending you were interested in their grade point average. At their age, chances are you probably weren’t all that interested in your own.

Democrats in the House are stirring up a kettle of disgusting gruel they’re calling universal health care. Naturally, they are egged on by the evil little imps at AARP, a group nearly as left-wing and despicable as the ACLU.

Leave it to liberals to promote a program which will cost trillions of tax dollars and which has already proven to be a disaster in England, Cuba and Canada. And please don’t believe for a second that when he needs serious medical attention, Michael Moore seeks it in any of those three countries. If you think otherwise, you are probably the sort of person who believes that Sen. Charles Schumer will wait patiently to have his number called if he ever needs to be treated for a life-threatening disease or that Rep. Barney Frank will sit twiddling his thumbs in some crowded clinic if he ever decides to have his over-active salivary gland removed. And in spite of his advanced age, Sen. Robert Byrd isn’t going to be told that he’s too old to have that overdue brain transplant operation.

When a massive spending bill strong-armed by the President can only squeak through in the House, one has reason to hope that the members of the Senate will see the writing on the wall. At least you can hope that those members who are up for re-election in 2010 will see it.

We keep hearing about people who don’t have medical insurance. What we don’t hear is how many of those people are in the U.S. illegally or how many people simply prefer spending their discretionary income on booze, drugs, porn and electronic toys. I don’t know a lot of young people who budget for health care, but, then, I also don’t ask them what kind of grades they got in school.

What truly confounds me is the blind faith that liberals have in their government, at least during those years when left-wingers are running the show in Washington. What, I constantly ask myself, is wrong with these people that they’re dying to have the feds in charge of their health care? After all, these are the same bureaucratic dunderheads who mailed out at least 10,000 of those $250 stimulus checks to dead people. Just in case you were wondering, it didn’t stimulate even one of them back to life.

However, maybe it wasn’t a $2.5 million goof, after all. Maybe it was simply Obama’s way of rewarding 10,000 of Chicago’s most loyal voters for past services to the party.

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