Beer Summit, Anyone?

As I sit here, it has not yet been determined what actually took place in Sanford, Florida, and whether George Zimmerman will be arrested and tried for shooting Trayvon Martin. Except for Mr. Zimmerman and his friends and family, that will be of little concern. What really matters is that America’s leading racists, Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the Black Panthers, have all had the opportunity to showboat and to show their true colors.

For good measure, as radio talk show host Dennis Prager pointed out, for the first time in its history, the New York Times identified someone, in this case Zimmerman, as “a white Hispanic.” After all, it wouldn’t be front page news if a Hispanic had shot a black or vice versa, or, as is more typical, a black had killed a white. Only by emphasizing that Zimmerman’s father was white, while ignoring the fact that his mother was Peruvian, could the Times turn this unfortunate incident into the only kind of hate crime they really care about, one in which a white man can be portrayed as evil incarnate.

Barack Obama, just as he did when there was the incident in Cambridge, Massachusetts a few years ago, immediately jumped to a racially-based conclusion. Just as Professor Henry Gates had to be right and Sgt. James Crowley and the entire Cambridge Police Department had to be wrong before anyone actually knew the facts of the matter, we had Obama solemnly intoning, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.” Well, I suppose he would unless, Mother Nature being the naughty pixy she sometimes is, he came out looking like your Caucasian mother.

Just in terms of public relations, wouldn’t it have been a good idea for Obama to have spoken a few well-chosen words after the 13-year-old white kid, Allen Coon, in Kansas City, was recently doused in gasoline and set on fire while the two black teenagers hollered, “You get what you deserve, white boy!”?

Isn‘t it odd that neither Sharpton nor Jackson thought it was worth their time to fly off to Kansas City and admonish the black community to shape up, and to urge the KCPD to arrest those young sadists and send them away for a long stretch? Instead, we had Al Sharpton leading a demonstration, during which he said, and I quote, “Don’t talk to us like we stupid. Don’t talk to us like we ignit.” He garnered loud cheers from a crowd of black Floridians, who clearly speak his language, even if nobody else does. He went on to say, “We love our children like you love yours.” Well, not exactly, Reverend Al. Not when three out of four black babies are born to unmarried women.

In a related matter, people seem to be in a big rush to try, convict and execute, Sgt. Robert Bales for murdering 17 Afghans, while in the meantime, Major Hasan, who massacred 13 Americans at Fort Hood in 2009, continues to await trial nearly three years after his bloody rampage, committed in the name of Allah.

In this country, it would appear, a hate crime is simply one for which a white heterosexual is responsible, never one in which he or she is the victim.

Speaking of the racist-in-chief, Barack Obama, when he’s not chastising white policemen, actually has the gall to travel around the country to promote his energy policy. Like Sharpton, who only addresses the choir, Obama makes certain that when he describes his policy as “all of the above,” nobody in his throng ever asks him why, in that case, he has declared war on the coal industry and shut down drilling for oil both offshore and on federal land.

Why does he lower the hammer on the Keystone pipeline and its 20,000 jobs, while at the same time throwing billions of our tax dollars at green energy, an industry responsible for a mere 2.4% of the jobs in America? And why does he keep insisting that we only have 22 billion barrels of oil in reserve when the government’s own geological experts put the figure at one trillion barrels? I mean, it’s one thing to employ guesswork when it comes to handicapping a basketball tournament, but quite another matter when you use a crystal ball when estimating oil reserves and miss by 978,000,000,000 barrels!

Finally, a while back, when asked to give himself an overall grade, Obama, while trying to look modest, gave himself a B+. Recently, when asked to do the same, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu gave himself an A-.

What I want to know is where were these easy graders when I was in school?


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

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At the Precipice

When I heard Robert Duvall speaking with Mike Huckabee last year about his film, “Get Low”, I knew it was my kind of movie.  It’s the story of a man who wants to throw his own “funeral party” while he’s alive and have people come and tell stories about him and is loosely based on a true story that took place in Roane County, Tennessee in 1938.

Sounds a bit quirky but the movie is anything but.  Mr. Duvall plays the main character, reclusive Felix Bush, who has lived the life of a hermit for the past 40 years on the outskirts of town.  He’s taunted by children who throw rocks at his windows, rumors have been spread about him and he’s feared by the town folk.  As the movie unfolds, we realize that it’s Felix who has a very dark secret, well hidden from everyone but his friend and minister, Charlie Jackson, who has to be coaxed by Felix into attending the “funeral party” to insure his story is told if he, Felix, is unable to unload the heavy burden himself.

Eventually, Felix’s secret is uncovered.  He slowly and painfully reveals to the hundreds of town folk who have assembled that, 40 years before, he fell in love with a married woman who planned to leave her husband and start a new life and family with him.  A tragedy results.  Spoiler alert: Move on to the next paragraph if you plan to watch the movie.)  When she doesn’t arrive at their pre-arranged meeting place, Felix goes to her home, confronts her husband, who sets fire to the lower floor of the house.  Felix rushes upstairs to find his love on the floor having been beaten by her husband.  The husband, who was able to make it up the stairs, attacks Felix who cannot recall if he leaped from the window or was pushed.  In either event, he is emotionally destroyed because, ultimately, he was unable to save the woman he loved.

He details his shame in having even looked at the woman, who, in his words, allowed him to feel love the only time in his life.  He admits that had he not done so, the tragedy would not have occurred.  The guilt he felt over the past 40 years was palpable and his public confession was excruciating to watch.  (Mr. Duvall’s performance was superb but overlooked at this year’s Academy Awards.)

I commend Mr. Duvall for having executively produced this film and bringing to the screen a story about old-fashioned ideas like shame, guilt, remorse, forgiveness and, finally, redemption.

As I watched the credits of “Get Low” roll, I thought about people similarly situated today.  Do the characters in these modern-day real-life dramas feel anything – remorse, guilt, shame, humiliation?  Do they ever seek forgiveness or redemption?

The latest in this long list of public offenders is, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who just this week publicly admitted to having fathered a child with a member of his household ten years ago.  After serving as Governor of California and leaving office in January, he finally told his wife.  He now asks the press and public to respect his wife and children.  How come he didn’t?

There was a time in America when any type of scandal would have and did destroy the careers of celebrities and politicians because the public was not as forgiving as today.

Celebrities and public officials like Woody Allen, Paris Hilton, Barney Frank, Roman Polanski, Al Sharpton, Jimmy Swaggart, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Kobe Bryant and Kim Kardashian, all who’ve done shameful things, breathe a sigh of relief because, in today’s America, they can continue to maintain political power or enjoy highly lucrative careers because of society’s acceptance of their “indiscretions.”  We’ll see how Arnold’s career goes after this.

On the other hand, I often wonder if the average Joe actually feels the kind of regret, dishonor or embarrassment felt by the character, Felix Bush.  In the real world, obviously no one is reduced to ashes because of their behavior, but lives and families are affected forever by bad behavior and are often destroyed beyond repair.

While celebrities and public officials often have no sense of shame, I’d like to think that there are those private individuals who do regret their actions and try to make amends.  But for those selfish, narcissistic people who couldn’t care less about the destruction they leave behind in similar circumstances, life goes on.

On good days, I have to believe there are more people in the former category than in the latter.  While seeing the public offenders continue to enjoy profitable careers and acceptance by the public, the pessimist in me says we’ve lost the notion of right and wrong, we’re circling the bowl and we’re going to Hell in a hand basket, but I’m hoping we haven’t completely lost our moral sense of direction but merely on the edge of the precipice, still able to take a step back.

Bottom line:  I get Felix Bush.