Burt Prelutsky / Nov. 23, 2020

A Biden America

If this were a movie, most of us would avoid it because it starred a pair of mediocrities like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

The prospect of the nation going from the stewardship of Trump and Pence to Biden and Harris is rather terrifying, even for me, who will suffer less than most Republicans from the change.

The reason for this is that I don’t have children, or more importantly, grandchildren who will suffer from a regime that promotes climate change; open borders; resumed flights from Muslim hot spots; pointless wars; increased taxes; pandering to racial and sexual minority groups; and an acceptance of China’s despotic ways.

My objections to the changes that lie in wait have mainly to do with love of country. We have increasingly become a nation that accepts corruption in our election process; censorship by Silicon Valley technocrats; one set of rules for politicians and another for the rest of us; and a tolerance for radical beliefs that encourage mobs to run wild and attack the police.

If this were a movie, most of us would avoid it because it starred a pair of mediocrities like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the supporting cast, we’re being told, will feature the likes of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, Gavin Newsome, Eric Garcetti and Stacy Abrams.

If there’s even a glimmer of a silver lining, it’s that if Sanders gives up his seat to head up the Department of Labor in Biden’s administration, Vermont’s governor, Phil Scott, a Republican, could choose his replacement. However the vote in Georgia turns out, it can only help to have an additional Republican in the Senate, to act not only as a buffer against the Democrats, but as an insurance policy when the likes of Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins, decides to vote with the other team.

Of course, the Democrats will holler “Foul!” if Governor Scott doesn’t appoint a Democrat, but they’d have no justification since Bernie Sanders isn’t even a Democrat. Along with Angus King, he is officially an Independent. Therefore, the Governor would be well within proper political protocol to exhibit his own independence by choosing anyone he likes.

For someone who is not religious, I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about religious matters. Maybe it’s because I have grown so old that when I die, nobody will say things like “I’m shocked” or “taken in the prime of life” or “we’ll never know what he would have done if only he had lived a little longer.” “Premature” is not a word anyone will utter in somber tones.

So it is that I have been pondering Heaven. What I have concluded is that nobody really has a clear picture of what it’s like. I know that some people imagine a floor of clouds, a golden gate and God sitting on a throne. After that, it gets a little fuzzy, with cherubs floating around and people with wings playing harps. But that all comes from paintings by mainly Dutch, French and Italian artists, who used their imaginations to conjure up life in the after-life.

When you get right down to it, it seems that everyone wants to go there even though nobody really knows what it’s like.

But even if we knew what was in store for us, we’re not all the same. Even husbands and wives can’t always agree where to go on their yearly vacations.

Some people want to go to Paris or Vegas, some want to spend the week golfing or fishing; others would prefer to go hiking or on an ocean cruise.

Also, it’s only in secular writing that we find any mention of animals being in Heaven, although there are those of us who’d consider it Hell if we somehow managed to sweet talk our way past St. Peter only to discover there were no dogs, cats or horses, to greet us.

I have never been a joiner. So, for instance, it never entered my mind in college to try to join a fraternity. For one thing, I had heard about certain rites that went under the heading of hazing that involved having to do something as embarrassing as appearing in public dressed up to look like a streetwalker or as dangerous as being dropped off in the woods wearing only shoes and underwear. The come-on was that whatever the upperclassmen did to you, you would get to do to others next year. Since I was neither a sadist nor a masochist, I didn’t find the rationale the slightest bit enticing.

Besides, I figured shared interests would bring me together with potential friends, and so they did.

My late wife loved to join groups, probably because she was very shy and she found that being in a group made it easier for her to interact with people.

The last group she joined was the one that most disappointed her. Because of her interest in genealogy, she made the proud discovery that she had ancestors who had fought in the War of Independence. That led her to join the Daughters of the American Revolution (the D.A.R.), but she was doomed to disappointment.

It became a sticking point for her that every time she proposed doing something overtly patriotic for our veterans, the group’s officers would shoot it down as being politically partisan. Even though this pre-dated Trump’s election, the Daughters felt that patriotism was controversial and that the Democrats in the group would feel themselves under siege.

Apparently, the feeling was that the only veterans it was safe to openly respect were those who had died some 200-odd years earlier.

Recently, while trying to analyze why Trump didn’t do better than he did, even in spite of the cheating, I concluded that he spent too much time energizing his base at the rallies and not enough time reaching out to the soccer moms who had deserted the Republicans in 2018, handing over the House to Nancy Pelosi.

It was no secret that those suburban white women found Trump unpresidential. They considered him a boorish loudmouth who spent most of his time insulting Democrats and members of the media. So, instead of cutting him some slack because of his multitude of accomplishments, they focused on the fact that they didn’t consider him a proper role model for their kids.

That’s why I kept wondering why he spent so much time giving pep talks at his rallies to those who would have walked through fire to vote for him and never even tried to woo back those millions of white women.

I wondered why he never took advantage of photo ops of him visiting kids in hospitals or at orphanages, urging Americans to adopt these forgotten children.

I finally decided that he was so addicted to the ego-rush of having thousands of people wearing MAGA hats and chanting “Four more years” that he simply assumed he had the election in the bag.

But while thinking about it, it also occurred to me that if I picked up on the subliminal message that the President and the First Lady can barely tolerate one another, millions of American women were getting the same message. And for them, the message would have been that in spite of all his money, he was a lousy husband.

I don’t think I am overly sensitive to this stuff, but after the presidential debates, Jill Biden would rush on stage and give Joe a congratulatory hug and kiss. For her part, Melania would reluctantly walk up the stairs and then take her place standing a foot away from her husband, as if posing for an official photograph or an enactment of Grant Wood’s famous painting, American Gothic. All that was missing were the overalls, the plain brown dress and the pitchfork.

You didn’t have to be a suburban codebreaker to get the message that if even his wife can’t stand his guts, why should I vote for him?

A lady who prefers to remain anonymous sent me a few pages of memes, from which I’ve gleaned the following:

“Never confuse education with intelligence.” (To which I would add: “Never confuse intelligence with wisdom.”)

“How to stop time: kiss. How to travel in time: read. How to escape time: music.”

“When he wanted to take her picture, he didn’t tell her to smile, but told her ‘I love you’ and her smile was breath-taking.”

“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” (To which I would add: “If you don’t like who you are, change. You are not a rock.”)

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should begin to live a life you don’t feel the need to escape from.”

“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.”

“Having a soulmate is not always about love. You can find your soulmate in a friendship, too.” (I know this to be true because I am lucky enough to have such friends.)

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