Tipping Our Fez to Egypt

In recent months, there were two presidential elections of historical importance. In Egypt, they had their first ever democratic election for president. It was won by Mohammed Morsi over Ahmed Shafiq.

Here in the United States, we had our 55th presidential election, and re-elected a man who had inherited a bad economy and made it worse; insulted our friends and coddled our enemies; and spent most of his time golfing, throwing parties and taking vacations. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he compounds his sins by insulting Republican congressmen for no better reason than that they’re Republicans and refuse to rubberstamp his fiats.

The reason I bring all this up is to point out the irony that in spite of the fact that Morsi defeated his opponent by 3.4%, whereas Obama only had a 2.8% advantage over Romney, and in spite of the fact that Egyptians are novices at this, when Morsi started behaving like a Pharaoh, the voters stormed the streets of Cairo and reminded him he was just another politician.

Here, Obama wins a squeaker, and immediately starts talking about having a mandate to raise taxes and pass another stimulus bill. And not only is he not talking about cutting spending, but wants to increase it by over a trillion dollars. Playing to his base of college freshmen, welfare recipients and New York Times columnists, he even tries to get away with vilifying those earning over $250,000-a-year as the super-rich. Not since the glory days of Joe Stalin has any national leader played the class card as blatantly as Barack Obama.

The way that Obama incessantly goes about dividing Americans along race, gender, religion, income and political lines, it’s as if he’s trying to incite a second Civil War. It merely highlights how naïve people were when they heard the candidate talk in 2008 about a future in which there would not be a blue America or a red America, but a united America, and believed he actually meant it.

Speaking of the earlier Civil War, I can’t help noticing that there seems to be a renewal of interest in Abe Lincoln lately. He is suddenly the subject of movies, books and TV specials. What confounds me is that he is invariably depicted as a saint. While it’s true that he talked a good game, and it always helps burnish a politician’s reputation to be assassinated, I frankly don’t get it.

For openers, he didn’t wage the war in order to end slavery, but to preserve the Union. And we’ve all lived to see how well that worked out. These days, we’re about as united as the two Koreas.

Not only was Lincoln not out to free the slaves, but he disciplined those generals who tried to liberate them in the four states that did not take part in the rebellion. They were Kentucky, Delaware, Maryland and Missouri.

I have no way of proving it, but I have never believed that the Founding Fathers would have approved of a war that pitted Americans against one another, even in order to preserve the Union they created.

In 1861, there were roughly 31,000,000 people in the U.S., four million of whom were slaves. When the War was over, roughly 700,000 Americans were dead. That doesn’t count the enormous number who had been maimed and mutilated. It is estimated that 10% of the North’s population of men between the ages of 18-29, were killed during those four years; 30% of the South’s.

Imagine comparable numbers today. Imagine a war that left seven million dead, all of them Americans. And yet in spite of those horrific facts, we all have to pretend that the man with all that blood on his hands was our greatest president, the conscience of this nation.

I can only imagine that because he looked like a biblical figure, especially once he grew the beard, and delivered decent, albeit self-serving, speeches, and was finally gunned down by John Wilkes Booth, he has become bigger-than-life, someone, who more closely resembles a legendary figure like Robin Hood, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, than a savvy politician, which is what he was, once you get past the Oz-like curtain.

Getting back to 2012’s most memorable contests, one thing worth noting is that in Egypt’s election, Morsi took 51.7% of the vote and Shafiq, 48.3%. That adds up to a nice, neat 100%. In our election, Obama got 50.6%, while Romney garnered 47.8%. That only adds up to 98.4%. Even all the cheating by Democrats doesn’t quite explain that odd discrepancy.

For me, as frightening as it is to realize that a slim majority, but a majority nonetheless, of the American electorate would vote for a schmuck like Obama, I can at least make sense of it. After all, between those who voted for him because they share his pigmentation, those whose votes were bought and paid for with our tax dollars and those who thought they were voting for Osama bin Laden, it figures he could eke out a victory. But how do you make sense of the nearly two million people who didn’t vote for either him or Romney?

Can you wrap your mind around the fact that those we might refer to as the bottom 1.6%, actually took the trouble of going out to vote for the likes of Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Stewart Alexander (Socialist), Virgil Goode (Constitutionalist) and Ron Paul (Last Hurrah), knowing full well that by doing so, they were actually helping Obama get a second chance to destroy our nation?

But as pathetic and irresponsible as those voters were, especially with the future of America and the Free World hanging in the balance, they are examples of mature and prudent judgment when compared to the 50,000 twits who voted for Roseanne Barr (Peace and Freedom).

One can only hope that those loons voted by way of absentee ballots, and were not running around loose, the result of somebody’s forgetting to lock the doors at the asylum.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.

Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
  • sjangers

    I often agree with what you write, Burt, and always appreciate the way you express yourself, but I have to respectfully disagree with the conclusion you reach about Lincoln and his presidency. Your observations are reasonably accurate, but I believe you miss the larger picture in your characterization of the man and his motives.

    Lincoln’s main purpose in resorting to armed conflict with the rebellious states was to preserve the Union, a goal he openly acknowledged, but he also firmly opposed the institution of slavery and hoped to bring about its end. He just wasn’t willing to do so if the Union was destroyed in the process. His discipline of subordinates who issued proclamations freeing slaves was never due to opposition to the principle but rather the process that was employed. The case involving Gen. Ambrose Burnside (in the Department of the Ohio, late 1863, iirc), for example, had to do with poor political timing and concerns that it might inflame political opposition (southern sympathizers in Kentucky and a simmering Copperhead sentiment in Ohio) to his policies, doing much more harm than good. And of course Lincoln was concerned that emancipation be an instrument of deliberate public policy and not enforced randomly, depending on the sentiments of military leaders exercising quasi-dictatorial powers under martial law. Despite apparent contradictions (e.g., his suspension of the writ of habeas corpus), Lincoln was determined that political change be as much a part of “normal” public policy as practical.

    Your rumination about the intent of the Founding Fathers notwithstanding- and you may be correct about the sympathies of many individuals- the fact is that Lincoln’s primary objective was one that became deeply ingrained in the character of the nation as we matured, embraced our manifest destiny, and eventually became a significant power on the world stage. Lincoln’s goal became our goal, and for that he was revered for more than a hundred years in most parts of the country.

    Critically important to our appreciation of Lincoln was his ability to communicate his objectives (and ours) elegantly, with a simple eloquence that connected viscerally with his contemporary audience and with posterity. People understood and identified with his purpose. They shared his objectives. And those who knew him understood that he bore fully the responsibility for his decisions and the psychological burdens that went with them.

    Lincoln knew what he was asking of his people. He suffered along with them. But he believed that their sacrifice and his was worth it because of the great cause for which they struggled. It’s true that he was a pragmatist and capable of being a calculating and brutal politician, but he also bore a deep well of empathy for the suffering of his people and he fully embraced the moral responsibility for his decisions. And most Americans did believe, and have believed since, that his goals were good and ultimately worth the price we paid.

    It’s only in the past twenty years or so, as the collective consciousness of our nation has become fragmented and our sense of purpose unclear, that some have started to question his ends and his means, as well as his place in the history of our nation. And it may be that his place in our history will further erode with our sense of national purpose if the balkanization, perhaps even dissolution, of our society continues along its present course. But for those of us whose self-image and sense of this country is tied to the ideal of a noble social experiment and shining example to other nations, Lincoln remains enshrined in memory as one of our greatest national leaders and his ideals as a beacon for future generations.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Dear Readers: I am, thanks to my wife, on vacation until next Saturday. So, until then, I’ll be off my computer. Regards, Burt

  • Michael

    Thanks for pointing out the truth about Lincoln and slavery. It’s amazing how many people refuse to accept it. It’s easier for people from north of the Mason-Dixon line to be self-righteous when they can pretend their forefathers fought to free slaves, rather than to protect the territorial assets of a growing nation.

  • DOOM

    You have to remember, also, that Florida had a 141% voter turnout. Joe Stalin only dreamed of those numbers.

  • Souvoter

    The nit-wit voters you refer to can safely be labeled Obama’s Hussein Asylum!!