Monday, November 8, 2010

A Once Golden, Now Tarnished, California

by Burt Prelutsky

My more compassionate readers often write to me, wondering how I can stand to live in California. Believe me, I feel very shallow when I start describing the weather, but 320 really pleasant days a year mean a lot at my age. It means I can expect to play tennis just about any day I feel like it. It means I don’t have to worry about putting up and taking down storm windows, driving on icy roads, concern myself with cyclones and tornadoes or deal with humidity or condor-sized mosquitoes.

On the other hand, people like to point out that I miss out on the change of seasons. Which, translated, means I don’t have to suffer through three awful seasons in order to better appreciate the fourth.

We Californians do have an occasional earthquake, and drought is a constant concern. But no place is perfect. At least no place you can get to without first shuffling off this mortal coil. Drought is bad, but I’ll take it over, say, Seattle’s constant deluge. If the choice comes down to brown grass or the persistent aroma of mildew, I know which one gets my vote.

Speaking of voting, I’d really rather not, at least when it comes to California. But when discussing the pros and cons of my home state, it’s impossible to avoid our moronic voters and our sleazy politicians. I have no doubt that people all over America woke up on November 3rd, checked the election results and concluded that their spouse had had one of those phony newspapers printed up as a belated April Fool’s Day gag.

Surely we didn’t once again elect Jerry Brown to be our governor. No way we returned Barbara (“Don’t call me ma’am”) Boxer to the Senate. But, indeed we did. Missouri may be the “Show Me State,” but California is the “We’ll Show You State.”

Unfortunately, what we insist on showing the rest of you is how brain-dead we are when it comes to voting. We are in the midst of a financial meltdown that rivals Greece’s, so, naturally, our response is to keep re-electing the morons who caused it in the first place.

It’s like a weird game of poker. New York opens the betting with Charles Schumer, Anthony Weiner and Charley Rangel. California not only sees the bet, but raises with Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown, Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, Gavin Newsome and Brad Sherman, and hauls in the pot.

Propositions are one of the zaniest aspects of our elections. The way these things are written is so confusing that you might think that James Joyce returned from the dead in even-numbered years to compose them. More than once, if you favored a specific proposition, you were required to vote NO.

While it’s true that the election booklets contain pro and con arguments, they occasionally read like treatises written by a committee consisting of Jesuit priests, Talmudic scholars and Groucho Marx. For my part, I skip all the flapdoodle and check out the groups supporting or opposing the measures. If the Teachers Union or La Raza is for it, I’m against it.

In conclusion, I should state that months ago, when Bill O’Reilly’s favorite seer, Dick Morris, insisted that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina were certain to defeat Jerry Brown and Mrs. Boxer, I said that, while marijuana wouldn’t be legalized in California, perhaps it already was in Morris’s home state.

What I don’t know is if he made an honest miscalculation or simply decided to take a wild guess, knowing that if his predictions came true, he would be hailed as the new Nostradamus, and if they lost, nobody would remember.

In either case, that’s show business. It’s quite a different thing when, one day, Obama tells Hispanic voters that Republicans are their enemies, and the next day he claims he’s anxious to work with Republicans for the good of all Americans. That’s not show business, folks. It’s not even politics as usual. It’s cynical racism at its worst.

The guy in the White House is constantly trying to divide Americans, and it doesn’t seem to matter to him whether it’s rich against poor, blacks against whites, Latinos against non-Hispanics or 49 states and the U.N. against Arizona. This is the creep who promised to bring us all together? Liberals used to wail about Nixon’s notorious enemy’s list. How is it they’re not the least bit concerned with this creep’s?

It seems that, instead of modeling himself on Washington, Adams and Jefferson, Obama decided to use Yasser Arafat as his role model. Arafat enjoyed nothing better than sounding reasonable and conciliatory when hoodwinking American presidents, and then showing his true bloodthirsty colors when addressing his followers in Arabic.

The disadvantage for Obama is that while he has a forked tongue, he can only speak one language.

©2010 Burt Prelutsky>

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