Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dumb Act Of Courage

Damn it. He did it. President Barack Obama today pardoned a turkey named Courage he preferred to eat but was vetoed by his two daughters. This is one presidential custom I hoped the president had the audacity to change.

At least Obama conducted the ceremony with dignity. No turkey slaughter in the background a la Sarah Palin's press conference last year in Alaska.

Some presidential customs are dumb and pardoning a turkey the day before Thanksgiving is one of them. If you have raised turkeys you will believe me when I say they are the dumbest creature on earth with sheep and lemmings tied for second.

These aren't wild turkeys our ancestors discovered after setting foot at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Somewhere in the archives of my family history is a letter written by a great-great grandmother who described the beast as tough, greasy and smelled gamy. Today's turkeys are bred for eating, a mutation of their former selves.

But, Americans in their short history cling to customs established by our ancestors. Face it, some are really dumb. Remember how ridiculous Calvin Coolidge looked wearing an Indian headdress while campaigning at an Indian reservation in the 1920s.

Flash forward to several years back when an unknown Barack Obama was photographed wearing African garb. His 2008 presidential campaign went bonkers trying to quash the photo that circulated the Internet and fanned by Republican attack teams.

I admired President George H.W. Bush when growers presented the White House with a crate of broccoli. He said he hated that veggie and refused to eat it. Good for him. At least he was being honest even though broccoli is my main vegetable of choice.

The problem with American customs played out by our leading politicians is that they kowtow to a particular constituency. Hillary Clinton in New York said she was a life-long Yankee fan when in fact her roots had her heart with the Chicago Cubs.

Next up on the dumb presidential custom list is the ceremonial lighting of an imported Christmas tree. As if our nation's retailers didn't plant that idea of buy buy buy weeks earlier.

Bah. Humbug.

Actually, I consider Thanksgiving the best holiday in the year. It is a time for families to unite and give blessings for themselves and their fellow countrymen. That is the message our presidents should convey.

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