Friday, September 27, 2013

IF I WERE PRESIDENT

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by Burt Prelutsky

Let it be understood that I don't want to be President, and for a variety of reasons. For one thing, I don’t like pomp. At state dinners, I would probably fall asleep even before the soup plates were cleared away. For another, I don’t like dressing up. I don’t recall the last time I wore a necktie, and the next time will probably be at my funeral, when I won’t have any say in the matter and I won’t have to tie the darn thing.

I also wouldn’t want to have to spend all my time with whatever dunce wound up being my vice president, and I certainly wouldn’t want to confab, as they say, with politicians. The ones in my own party would be bad enough, but having to be civil to the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee and Dick Durbin, would be calling for the impossible.

For another thing, I am short and bald, and while I wouldn’t say I possess an excessive amount of vanity -- and why would I, being short and bald? – I really wouldn’t want to see my shortcomings magnified on a daily basis by 500 political cartoonists.

Then there’s the matter of political division in this country. For no other reason than that there was an “R” after my name, millions of people who had never even met me would hate me. I mean, millions of his fellow Americans hated Ronald Reagan, and God knows he was much more personable than I am.

All of that being said, even I have fantasized being the commander-in-chief.

And although I generally get hung up at the point where I picture myself in the Oval Office wearing tennis shorts and sneakers, I know there are certain things I would do if I had the authority.

For openers, I would get America out of the United Nations, and I would get the U.N. out of America. There are about 200 nations in the organization and, outside of a dozen or so, I wouldn’t give two cents for any of them. The very idea of not only belonging to it, but providing most of the wherewithal to keep the thing afloat is obscene. Everyone yammers about its moral authority, but this is an organization whose members include the likes of Cuba, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Venezuela, Cambodia, Syria, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Turkmenistan and North Korea. Hell, the Mafia has higher standards than that.

For good measure, Russia sits on the Security Council, and thus has the power to say nyet to any measure that fails to meet with Vladimir Putin’s approval.

Next on my agenda, I would revoke the right of federal employees to have a union. Even FDR, who put into practice everything that perennial Socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas preached, knew the very idea of unionizing civil servants was insane. Previously, the trade-off for bureaucrats was that they would have security so long as they did their job, and not have to compete in the marketplace. Even Mr. Thomas could not have envisioned an America where it would not only be nearly impossible to fire civil servants, but where they would receive higher salaries, bigger pensions and better health care, than the people whose taxes keep them in beer and skittles, as the old expression goes.

Finally, I would vow at my inauguration to never engage in a military action in which I had any other intention but to crush the enemy. I would never send a message to an enemy. I would never send a shot across the bow. Although I would only fight a war when I felt I absolutely had to, I would put the safety of my troops before my concerns about the enemy suffering so-called collateral damage.

As for the weapons I’d use, I don’t happen to believe that military weaponry have morals. Like handguns and rifles, it all depends on who’s using them and for what purpose. My idea of an immoral war is one fought to a draw, not one in which chemical weapons or nuclear bombs are used.

Instead of fighting Iran by proxy in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, I would have nuked Tehran a long time ago. The nice thing about opposing a dictatorship is that if you kill the tyrant, you’ve accomplished your mission. The problem we have is this gentleman’s agreement among national leaders that it’s okay to lose a million soldiers in combat, but we mustn’t harm a hair on the head of the guy who’s the real problem.

Many people feel that the lesson to be learned from the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was that such weapons must never again be used. I feel that the real lesson is that no democratic republic should ever refrain from using whatever weapons it possesses. That’s because the real sin is to allow a war to last one more day than it has to.

Besides, whereas nuclear strikes on Tehran, Moscow and Pyongyang, would bring a quick end to a war with Iran, Russia and North Korea, if an enemy ever wiped out Washington, D.C., not only would some of us be leading the applause, but they would still have to deal with Florida and Virginia, Oklahoma and Illinois, Wyoming and California, Oregon, Utah and Alaska.

And by the time the poor schmucks got to Texas, they’d wish they’d never been born.

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.

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