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Right Opinion

The Virtue of Gratitude

Burt Prelutsky · Nov. 30, 2019

If there is one thing I wish I could instill in America’s youth, it would be a sense of gratitude. I first became somewhat aware of this deficiency about 20 years ago when my wife and I would bring gifts to the children of our hosts instead of the usual flowers, candy or wine. Sometimes, it was in addition to that standard stuff, but either way we began to notice the youngsters never said, “thank you.”

One might expect that Queen Victoria or the Aga Khan would assume gifts to be their due, but 8 and 10 and 12-year-olds? On occasion, the parents would notice and prompt them to express their thanks. Naturally, after a while we ignored the kids. Their rooms already resembled a Toys R Us outlet, so why add to their clutter or our resentment?

The problem is that by now, we’ve had a couple of generations who aren’t grateful for anything. They take all the benefits of modern technology for granted. Even though they can’t add a column of numbers, write or speak a coherent sentence or begin to grasp the genius of the Founding Fathers, they feel fully entitled to take their good fortune — whether it’s possessing all the modern technological gadgets, having painless dentistry available to them or having all the rights and freedoms that other, better, braver, people have bled and died for — available to them.

Worst of all, they not only aren’t grateful for having been born in America, they have been taught and have come to believe that their nation is the vilest on the face of the earth. One can surely blame the media, the school system and in, many cases, their parents and grandparents for raising the ungrateful little pinheads, but that’s letting them off too easy.

If they possessed even the slightest bit of intellectual curiosity, the least desire to separate themselves from the herd, they could easily enough educate themselves. Surely, in their own personal lives, they must recognize that there are no slave-supported plantations, no concentration camps for homosexuals and transgenders, no oppression of women.

And yet, they blithely absorb the falsehoods told to them by those who will blatantly lie and fill their heads with fairy tales about free college, free health care and a living wage, in exchange for their votes.

If you gave toddlers the presidential vote, they would elect Santa Claus. Their older brothers and sisters will line up to vote for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg.


By now, I expect we’ve all seen those photos of bizarre shoppers at Walmart, referred to in some quarters as Walmartians. More often than not, they’re 350-pound women wearing spandex or mini-skirts that would fit equally well on oxen. The thought that invariably runs through my mind when I see these ladies with tots and toddlers riding in their shopping carts is that somewhere there are men who actually had sexual relations with them as recently as two or three years ago.

It doesn’t bode well for the human race.


It’s amazing how short the memories of Liberals are. Today, they’re prepared to hang President Trump from a lamppost because, they insist, he is Vladimir Putin’s puppet. But it never troubled them when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed the reset button with her Russian counterpart, handed over a quarter of our nation’s uranium resources to Russian oligarchs or accepted massive donations from Russia to her family’s favorite charity.

They even chuckled right along with Barack Obama when he teased Mitt Romney for insisting that Russia was our major geo-political enemy in the world in 2012.

Speaking of Mitt Romney, when he ran against Obama, the Democrats used his connection to Bain Capital, to accuse him of letting women die of cancer so long as it improved Bain’s bottom line.

I wonder if they will now bash Obama’s good friend Deval Patrick, who succeeded Romney as governor of Massachusetts and is now the latest entry in the Democratic primary race. After all, since leaving the governor’s office in 2014, he has made millions working as the managing director of (a drumroll, please)… Bain Capital.

I’m pretty sure that Obama will not cast the first stone.


According to Bloomberg News: “The first public impeachment hearing against Donald Trump laid out how a handful of loyalists led by Rudy Giuliani wrested control of U.S. foreign policy from seasoned diplomats.”

That is certainly one way of presenting the news

Another way, and one that happens to be in sync with the U.S. Constitution, would be to report that the first public impeachment hearing against Donald Trump laid out how a cabal of partisan traitors burrowed into the dim, dank recesses of the State Department, the CIA, the FBI and the NSA, in concert with their cohorts in Congress and the media, attempted to wrest control of foreign policy from the one person with the constitutional authority to oversee foreign relations, the President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump.


After I recently mentioned a few malaprops, Ray Kasey recalled that in the fourth grade, he wrote a report about some country that depended on tourism for the lion’s share of its economy. He wrote that it relied on tourists who did a lot of shit-seeing.

Having done my share of sight-seeing in the distant past, I assured him that what he wrote was quite often the literal truth, as it is today for misguided tourists who decide to vacation in cesspools like L.A., San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.

The malaprops reminded Frank Balkin that his grandmother, Anna Gruber, once told his mother, “I want to create a family tree; you know, a gynecological chart.”

It was also Mrs. Gruber who referred to a neighbor of hers, Mrs. Boshwitz, as “Mrs. Auschwitz.”

That, in turn, reminded me that once, when Mr. and Mrs. Walter Matthau, were touring Europe, they had an argument in their Polish hotel room the evening before they were due to visit a concentration camp, and in the heat of the moment he actually said: “Now you’ve gone and ruined Auschwitz for me!”


Someone recently asked me if I had ever been guilty of infidelity. I didn’t even have to fudge on the answer. I never had and never would.

For one thing, it would have entailed breaking my word to my wife. Divorce always was and continues to be an option for unhappily wedded men. For another, it would have been mean to the other woman; if I intended to remain married, it would mean I could never spend weekends with her or share holidays, including her birthday. For a third, it would mean that I could never legitimately lay claim to the moral high ground and look down on anyone else. Does anyone who knows me imagine that for an hour or two of sexual frolic, I would forego a lifetime of being judgmental? Fat chance.

As it is, I did get divorced twice, but there was never another woman waiting in the wings.


Orson Bean, who is wise beyond his years, which is pretty impressive, seeing as how he’s 91, recently let me know that “Without hope, there can be no true despair.”


When Maralyn Polak ran a conspiracy theory past me, I said that although I had come around to believing in a few ever since I’d seen what the Deep State has been up to in recent years, I still tend to be skeptical because I think it’s next to impossible for most people to keep a secret.

She then asked about the Reichstag fire that helped Hitler take the reins of Germany. I acknowledged that it was a conspiracy carried out by the Nazis in order to lay the blame at the feet of Jews and Communists.

“But,” I continued, “the reason that Germans believed the lie was because they chose to believe it. They wanted to believe the reason they were suffering in the aftermath of losing World War I was because of those two groups of treasonous scapegoats and, if only they got behind Hitler and allowed him to carry out his promise to rid Germany of Communists and Jews, all would be well again.

We see the identical mindset among Democrats today. They want so much to believe that Trump has committed a slew of impeachable offences that they are only too happy to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the lies and deceptions of Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff.

So far as the Democratic base is concerned, Trump’s first and least-forgivable impeachable offence was defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016.


Finally, we arrive at one of those moments I truly hate, when I have to confess to a mistake. In the article I recently wrote involving the role that Sen. Edmund Ross played during the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, I made a glaring error that some people, much to their unseemly delight, have called to my attention.

Even though I devoted a good deal of attention to President Johnson, I was mainly focused on the heroic act performed by Sen. Ross in preventing his party from impeaching Johnson on spurious grounds for strictly partisan reasons, paralleling the shenanigans the Democrats are up to these days.

That singular focus led me to suggest that it was Ross who had been taught to read by his wife when he was in his 20s. It was actually President Johnson.

I just hope that nobody lost a bar bet thanks to me.

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