Burt Prelutsky / Apr. 12, 2021

My Conversion

To me, Trump represents the best reason in my lifetime to be a Republican.

After I quoted from the AP story regarding my resigning my post as movie critic for Los Angeles Magazine, I heard from Stephen Hanover.

He wrote: “I find it interesting that they singled you out in such a negative way. Is a critic supposed to be a cheerleader? In reading the reference to your age [31] at the time it caused me to wonder when your political epiphany occurred. Had you seen the light by that time? Could that have been part of the reason you were seen as a pariah?”

I pointed out that the AP reporter hadn’t trashed me. He actually called me clever and the fastest barb in the West. He was merely reporting that the studios were happy to see me stiletto take our leave.

“But to answer your question, I was still a registered Democrat in 1971. But never a liberal. I usually thought both presidential candidates were awful. If I was a Democrat, it’s only because my parents, being Russian-Jewish immigrants, were Democrats who thought the sun rose and set on Franklin Roosevelt.

"It was in 1980 that I became a Republican. It wasn’t because I was enthralled with Reagan, whom I had regarded as a mediocre governor (raised our taxes, shut down the insane asylums, signed the most liberal abortion bill in the nation), but simply because I had come to despise Jimmy Carter.

"I never thought Reagan was as great as many people did. I thought he had terrific writers and, as an actor, certainly knew how to deliver a line, and he had a nice amiable personality. But I will never forgive him for signing the amnesty bill simply because Tip O'Neill promised the Democrats would build a border wall. I still can’t figure out how Mr. Trust-But-Verify was so easily snookered by a cheap political hack like O'Neill, whom he didn’t even like.”

I don’t really care for most Republican candidates any more now than I did when I regularly voted for Democrats, but I am nevertheless grateful that between them, the Bushes kept Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry, out of the Oval Office.

In fact, in 2016, I assumed the only reason I would have to be grateful to Donald Trump was that he kept Hillary Clinton from returning to the scene of the crime.

I guess others saw something in Trump that I didn’t. But it didn’t take me long to realize the great man represented an example of divine intervention.

To me, Trump represents the best reason in my lifetime to be a Republican.

I only knew about the AP story because Linda Posto found it and sent it to me. Unfortunately, I reported that it had been lurking for 50 years in Wikileaks. It was Arthur Lourea who alerted me to the fact that I meant Wikipedia. So, my apologies to anyone who went searching in the wrong Wiki.

During Mr. Lourea’s search, he came across a video of me reading from “Conservatives Are from Mars, Liberals Are from San Francisco.” I have a vague memory of doing it, but I don’t recall for what purpose.

In any case, he said the highlight came when I delivered “a great takedown of the execrable John Dean, referring to him as ‘the first rodent off the sinking ship.’”

I like the line, but it reminded me how disgusted I felt when Dean and his wife, Mo, were treated like heroes just because Dean, who had been as slimy as any of Nixon’s other cronies, snitched on his former friends and allies.

Here in L.A., they were feted like English royalty. Which is exactly how Harry and Meghan, another couple of unsavory celebrities are being treated.

After I mentioned that the Democrats are calling for an increase in our defense budget even though they’ve spent trillions of dollars, but still can’t defeat the Taliban after 20 years of warfare, Dennis Stockton came up with a reason for the additional expenditure by the military: “It must be to pay for sex change operations.”

I know that sounds silly, but this is the same bunch of loons at the Pentagon who have turned their attention to designing combat flight suits for pregnant women.

Wesley Forgue wonders if Evanston, Illinois, has its heart set on turning itself into Detroit, Michigan, and if that’s the reason the city leaders have decided to pay reparations to black people.

He assumes there will be a mass migration from Chicago, which would only be logical. At least as logical as thousands of Central Americans responding to Joe Biden’s siren call. Although I was born in Chicago, we left at six and, so, Evanston is just a name to me.

So, I looked it up. It is a city of 74,587, 60% of whom are white. Blacks make up 16% of the population, Asians 9% and Hispanics 8%.

There are so many weird aspects of this story, it’s hard to know where to begin.

How are those Asians and Hispanics, who comprise 17% of the population, going to feel about opening their wallets to the 16% who are black? Since the numbers are almost exactly equal, will they each adopt one black person and pay him personally?

Since the reparations are supposed to be in payment for the sins of slavery, do blacks whose ancestry traces back to Africa and the Caribbean get their share of the gravy?

Do white people whose ancestors fought and perhaps died on the Union side get a bye or do they also have to ante up?

Finally, who decides how much money has to go into the pot? If people balk at the notion of paying moral blackmail, on what charge will the city prosecute them? And if the case ever reaches the Supreme Court, will the justices once again decide they’d rather not get involved?

The question is whether there are enough patriots in Evanston who will respond the way that Samuel Adams and his cohorts did when the Brits raised the tax on tea.

Those men responded by tossing the stuff into Boston Harbor.

We can only hope that these modern Sons of Liberty will toss the city elders into Lake Michigan.

Suzan Reiner observed that “You’re taking your life or your job in your hands if you use the word ‘niggardly’ or the expression ‘let’s call a spade a spade’ because the Language Police are everywhere.”

I know she’s correct, and I acknowledge how fortunate I am that the cancel culture crowd can’t do anything to me. I am truly the Teflon man because I don’t have an employer, I don’t own a business and I’m not on a platform.

But it does occur to me that if there was an actual Language Police department, a savvy officer could meet his monthly quota of tickets just by monitoring me, sort of like the traffic cops who lurk behind billboards lying in wait for unsuspecting speeders.

When it comes to using insensitive language, I figure I’m the equivalent of the guy driving a Ferrari while drinking from a bottle of Chianti.

You can email Burt directly at [email protected]

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