It is a new year. C’mon, smile. Be happy.
We live in the greatest country on Earth. We are free to ridicule it, disrespect it, criticize it, burn its flag and refuse to stand for the national anthem. But in my long years on this Earth, I have yet to meet anyone who wants to move to another country to get away from our way of life.
There were some Hollywood puff-ups who threatened to move out when George W. Bush was elected president but that was just empty talk by a bunch of irrelevant weenies. Don’t forget that these are people who make obscene amounts of money pretending to be someone other than who they really are. They wouldn’t know reality if it kissed them on the lips. And, by the way, they all stayed put.
I find it ironic that people from other countries are always trying to sneak into the United States, but nobody ever seems to be trying to sneak out. I can give you a list of those I wish would. I would start with anyone who see nothing wrong with people trying to sneak into the country illegally.
We have a presidential election coming in November and it should be a doozy. Currently, we have a gaggle of Democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination who have all pledged they will not work with the Republicans. How that helps the country, I’m not sure.
They will likely run against an incumbent president who has been impeached by the House of Representatives and has about as much chance of being removed from office as I do becoming a broccoli farmer.
Our Constitution says it takes two-thirds of the members of the U.S. Senate to remove a president from office. Let’s do the math. That would require 67 senators. Currently, there are 53 Republicans in the Senate, 45 Democrats and two independents. That means that all the non-Republican senators would have to vote for removal and be joined by 20 Republicans. If you think that is going to happen, I will be happy to sell you shares in my broccoli farm.
One enduring myth these days is that politics has suddenly gotten very mean in this country. Not true. It has always been that way. If I am not mistaken, didn’t the Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, up and kill former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804? Now, that’s mean.
Compare that with Vice President Dick Cheney who accidently shot a lawyer in the fanny while quail hunting in 2006. (Insert lawyer joke here.) That’s not mean, that’s just embarrassing.
You want to talk about your fake news? Try this one: It was common practice in the early days of our republic for rival politicians to start their own newspaper and viciously attack the other side. Thomas Jefferson, whose self-serving image-polishing would make Jimmy Carter blush, was involved along with James Madison in supporting and writing anonymously for The National Gazette and The Aurora, attacking the policies of President George Washington’s administration while Jefferson was still serving as secretary of state.
Not to be outdone, Hamilton financed his own rag, the Gazette of the United States, which strongly supported the Washington administration and continuously attacked Jefferson, personally and professionally. Jefferson, of course, responded in kind with Hamilton. And on and on it went. Libelous and slandering would be too kind a description of those dueling newspapers.
Today, we have MSNBC and CNN versus Fox News, both appealing to those who have already made up their minds politically and philosophically, but are much tamer versions of the papers of the Jefferson-Hamilton era.
If we are missing anything today, it is a sense of humor. Gone are the days of Red Skelton and Bob Hope and Jack Benny. Instead, we have the likes of Kathy Griffin, who saw nothing wrong with gleefully exhibiting a mask that resembled the severed, bloody head of President Donald Trump. Or Bill Maher, who in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks called us “cowards” for firing cruise missiles and the terrorist “heroes” for crashing their airplanes into the Twin Towers and killing thousands of people. Both are about as funny as earwax. And about as disgusting.
Today, I enter my 23rd year of this accidental career. I was supposed to retire after my stint with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and prior to that as a suit in BellSouth’s corporate offices. That was some 2,000 columns ago. Time flies when you are having fun and I am still having a ball.
I have no intention of slowing down and I hope you will hang in there with me. There are many fools we have yet to suffer. In the meantime, enough with the lectures. Let us take a break, watch a few hundred bowl games and scarf down our black-eyed peas and collards. It is a new year. C’mon, smile. Be happy.