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Burt Prelutsky / Sep. 5, 2020

Revisiting Lt. Philip Nolan

In case Nolan's name escapes you, he was the protagonist in Edward Everett's 1863 short story, "The Man Without a Country."

In case Nolan’s name escapes you, he was the protagonist in Edward Everett Hale’s 1863 short story, “The Man Without a Country.”

Written during the Civil War, it was loosely based on a Ohio Democrat named Clement Vallandigham who spoke out in favor of the Confederacy and was exiled as a result. I always found it interesting that a war fought to save the soul of the nation quite often ignored the Constitution that best represented its soul.

In any case, in the story, Nolan plots to overthrow the government and is placed on trial for treason. During the course of proceedings, Nolan denounces the United States, stating “I wish I may never hear of the United States again!”

Taking him at his word, the judge sentences him to live out the rest of his life at sea, being moved from one American warship to another, never being allowed to set foot again on his native soil. In addition, the sailors on all the ships are under strict orders to pass along not a single word about events taking place in America or to answer any of his questions.

In the end, with age and the wisdom of hindsight, he comes to miss his homeland as he would his own mother.

When I see the goons in our streets lotting and burning and using obscenities to describe the United States, I wish we could send them off to sea or, better yet, to the nations — China? Cuba? Russia? North Korea? Iran? — that they must surely prefer to our own. So long as it meant they could never again return, I would happily contribute to their travel expenses.

And if the politicians, media hacks, teachers and professors, who shared their hatred of this country cared to join them, I would dig a little deeper to make their dreams come true.


People keep sending me polls that show that Trump is gaining on Biden, hoping to lift my spirits. I appreciate the thought, but if I didn’t believe the polls when they had Biden leading by 10 or 12 points, why would I believe them when I’m told the lead has declined to three or four points?

For one thing, the election is less than two months off, so I can wait for the only poll that matters. For another, no poll is going to let us know how successfully the Democrats will be able to cheat this time around.

I confess, I have a small personal poll going and I hope it’s indicative of a trend, but, again, I won’t know until November rolls around. But I did have a second illuminating moment the other day, similar to the one I had when I struck up a conversation with the middle-aged Latina who was foraging through the neighbor’s trash barrel, searching for plastic and glass bottles. If you recall, she said she and her son were both eager to vote for Trump.

The other day, I was picking up dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant. I hadn’t been there since my wife died 19 months ago, so I was surprised that the manager recognized me behind my mask.

While waiting for my order, I told her I hoped she would be able to reopen for business soon. She then said she had been closed down for sit-down dining since March. I then said that it’s a shame particularly since it has nothing to do with health concerns, everything to do with politics. She agreed, and then in the subtle way that Republicans sniff each other out, she wondered who I was supporting. I’m as brave as the next guy, but I’m betting the next guy also doesn’t want to risk having a disgruntled Democrat spitting in his curry shrimp. “("Hold the peas, the carrots, the MSG and the saliva, if you please.”)

Fortunately, when I worked up the gumption to say “Trump,” she brightened up and said “Me, too.”

I was greatly relieved because it meant yet another member of a minority group that generally goes overwhelmingly for the Democrats is breaking ranks this time around. Unless I found the only two outliers in Southern California, it could mean that we might actually make inroads into the Democratic base in November.


I had heard about President Trump pardoning former bank robber turned Christian activist Jon Ponder, but until Dan Parker reminded me that it was available on Utube, I hadn’t seen it.

I have to admit I was let down. No doubt it was because I was led to expect much more, especially as many of the speakers at the RNC convention had moved me to tears.

Ponder’s story of redemption through Christ and his ensuing friendship with the FBI agent who arrested him was uplifting. But I expected to be exhilarated when President Trump tells the ex-criminal that he’s granting him an executive pardon. Instead, unlike the scene with the five people being sworn in as new citizens, there was no emotional payoff. Ponder lowered his head slightly, but there was no emotional embrace. They didn’t even shake hands. Clearly, someone didn’t know how to stage the scene. I guarantee you, Frank Capra would have turned it into the sort of cinematic gold he achieved when he had Harry Bailey lift his glass and toast his big brother George, “the richest man in town.”


Bob Hunt shared a meme of the President holding one of those two page booklets with which he displays his signature on things like Ponder’s pardon: On the first page, it reads: “Joe Biden’s biggest fear of Covid-19 is….” On the second page is written: “Losing his sense of smell.”


Pelosi complained that by allowing Secretary of State Pompeo to address the convention from Jerusalem, it made it appear that Israel was taking partisan sides in the election. So quickly Madam Speaker seems to have forgotten that during Bibi Netanyahu’s 2015 re-election campaign, Obama displayed his personal animosity by sending his political operatives to Israel to work on behalf of Bibi’s opponent.

As usual, whenever Obama takes a personal interest in an election, whether it involves Stacey Abrams, Hillary Clinton or, in Israel’s case, Yitzhak Herzog, the other side nearly always wins. Perhaps God takes more interest in politics than I’ve given Him credit for.


While exchanging deep thoughts — well, deep for me — with Madalyn Polak, I mentioned a couple of things she found interesting. On the off-chance, they’ll be of interest to you, I’ll share them.

I started off by repeating something I had written about some months ago. One of my favorite living authors is a man named Alexander McCall Smith. Since first discovering him seven or eight years ago, I have read about 60 of his books. I haven’t enjoyed them all equally, but I have only hated one. But if that had been the first of his novels that I picked up, I would never have read a second.

I think it must work that way with people, too. You meet someone, a man or a woman, and if they’re in a good mood or at least being their normal selves, you might become the man’s best friend and she might become your wife. But if they’ve recently had an emotional setback you know nothing about — having lost a job, a parent, a friend, a sibling, a pet — you might never want to see them again.

That led to my realization that “so much of our life is determined by accidents, happy ones as well as the other kind. Sometimes having a certain teacher at a certain age can determine the future course of our lives.

Something that has always intrigued, and, I confess, terrified me is that we leave it up to 18 and 19-year-olds to determine our careers.

I personally don’t know a 50, 60 or 70-year-old who would trust his kid or grandkid to pick out his ties, order his dinner or decide what TV shows he’s going to watch. But the world is full of grown-ups selling life insurance, working on an assembly line or telling strangers to open wide, say ‘ah,’ and reminding them to floss, all because some teenager made a decision for God knows what reason several decades before.”


The DNC is trying to convince us that Joe Biden is so moderate he could almost run as a Republican, but just not one as brash and uncouth as that vulgarian currently in the White House.

The problem is that Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden refuse to go along with the gag. Sanders, who was a Socialist before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made it cool to be one, happily admits that Biden’s agenda isn’t all that different from his own and that Biden will be the most progressive president since FDR. And if you recall, Roosevelt prolonged the Great Depression for a decade until World War II came along and saved our economy.

For his part, Biden gives the game away by announcing that he will eliminate the coal and oil industries, keeping the promise Hillary made but had no opportunity to fulfill.

Biden also says that he will raise taxes, but only on the very rich to pay for all the stuff on Bernie’s wish list.

It’s time for someone to explain math to Biden and, as usual, the responsibility falls on these old frail shoulders.

Raising taxes on billionaires won’t come close to getting the job done. As rich as the likes of Bezos, Gates, Bloomberg and Soros are, if you forgot about raising taxes on them and all the other American billionaires, and instead confiscated everything they own, including their gold fillings, you would wind up with $3 trillion, meaning you’d have to go find a trillion dollars lying around just to cover what Biden thinks he’ll need. And everybody knows those things always cost twice as much as the politicians say they will.

Therefore, in Biden’s administration, there will be the usual over-runs. But the things that will be over-run the most are the American taxpayers.

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