Right Opinion

Repeal, Don't Replace!

Burt Prelutsky · Oct. 23, 2017

With that title, you would expect I was referring to ObamaCare. And you’d be right if I thought there was the slightest chance of that ever happening. But, I haven’t taken total leave of reality, so I am actually referring to the United Nations.

The last time there was a similar organization filled with such a repulsive group of members, it was the League of Nations, the brainchild of that fatuous prig, Woodrow Wilson. When the League failed to do anything to defend Ethiopia’s spear-chuckers from the Italian planes and machine guns of Mussolini, everyone realized the organization was a total washout and everyone went back home to prepare for World War II.

By this time, most sensible people realize that after 70 years, the UN is equally useless. The only difference is that it has gotten to be extremely expensive for the United States. Why on earth would we want to play host to the various gangsters and vile bureaucrats who fill the building that resembles one of those glass ant farms that kids usually lose interest in after five minutes?

The problem is that as soon as people begin speaking seriously about getting out of the UN, they begin promoting the notion of creating a different organization consisting only of our peace-loving allies.

The problem is that a lot of the nations that could probably worm their way into that new organization are irredeemably socialist, and why on earth would we want to surrender even an inch of our sovereignty to countries so stupid they continue rolling out the red carpet to Muslims and promoting a financial system that has brought so many of them to the brink of bankruptcy and, in some cases, over the brink?

I mean, to the extent that we may share mutual interests, say in regard to North Korea, Iran and Russia, there’s nothing to prevent our presenting a common front. But why on earth do we have to draw up a laundry list of rules, hold endless meetings and sign a bunch of mutual-defense treaties?

You don’t need to do any of those things with friends. You merely trust that you have each other’s back in case either of you gets in trouble. If you have to sign a paper, you’re not friends; you’re merely business associates in desperate need of lawyers.

To make my point, I’ll present a couple of examples. Years ago, a friend of mine, Hank Hinton, had a neighbor who was working in construction and wanted to go out on his own. So, Hank and I both pitched in a little money, enough for the guy to open a small office, put in a couple of phones and pay for stationery.

The fellow got a few small jobs, but only enough to keep his head above water, so Hank and I didn’t get a return on our investment that first year. But we had our hopes.

Unfortunately, it turned out that one of the ways that the other guy managed to keep from submerging was by not paying his taxes. I forget if it was the state or the feds who got wind of that fact and came calling. After questioning us about our involvement, the investigator determined that Hinton and the other guy would be fined, while I came out of it clean as a whistle.

It made no sense. Hinton had been as unaware as I that the guy had thought it was a good business decision to ignore the taxman. So, I naturally coughed up half the money to pay off Hinton’s obligation, knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that he would have done the same for me.

The other example of the way such things are supposed to work began in the 1930s, during the height of the Depression. One night, a guy was sitting in his room in a Hollywood boarding house. Suddenly, he heard music. Intrigued, he took the stairs to the roof and found a guy about his own age strumming a guitar and singing softly. After a few minutes, they got to talking. It turned out the singer didn’t have an agent or a manager. On the spot, the fan said he’d like to represent him. They shook hands.

The agent was a young man named Mitchell Hamilburg. The singer turned out to be Gene Autry. In case you don’t know, between movies, TV, records and real estate investments, Autry became, along with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Fred MacMurray, one of the richest men in show business.

And for all those years, Hamilburg continued to represent the singing cowboy and continued to get his 10%. All on a handshake.

In the midst of the fires that were ravaging the wine country in northern California, I received an email from a subscriber who was concerned that my wife and I might be in jeopardy.

Grateful for his concern, I assured him we were about 450 miles south of the fires. I let him know that ours is a residential area where the only natural disaster likely to leave us homeless would be an earthquake.

I added that, being in California, our greatest danger was from unnatural disasters, of which we had an overabundance; namely, Jerry Brown, Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Xavier Becerra and Maxine Waters.

After writing about children born with Down’s syndrome, I heard from a subscriber who was the father of a 53-year-old victim of Down’s. He wrote: “Sometimes in the night, I wonder if giving him life was really doing him a favor. His is a very sad life. As he sinks into old age (at 53, he is in many ways older than I am at 80), I reflect on how really unhappy his life has been. I just have no idea if we’ve done him a favor. Now I have to set up the computer to softly play classical music, currently Paganini’s ‘Suites for Violin and Guitar,’ which he likes to have on as he sleeps. No need to reply.”

I, on the other hand, saw a need, and acknowledged there was no easy answer. “But,” I went on, “the truth is that a lot of people have sad lives; lives, in the words of Thoreau, of quiet desperation. At least your son has had loving parents, and that is not as commonplace as you might think.

"Did you do him or yourselves a favor by letting him live? I’m not sure that’s the appropriate question. If you had not allowed him to live, he wouldn’t have had a sad life. He would have had no life. As for yourselves, I can only imagine you would have had your lives and even your dreams haunted, never knowing what might have been.

"In your position, I would have made your decision. If in time, I came to rue it, it wouldn’t be the first decision I have regretted and I’m sure it won’t be the last. At least your son loves good music. That’s something he would have been denied if you’d gone with Plan B. Best wishes, Burt.”

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