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Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2001 / 8 Tishrei, 5762

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Dissent is walking on red, white and blue egg shells -- IT took all of twenty-four hours. Questioning anything is now officially anti-American.

I asked a waiter if I could get my broiled chicken without skin and I was told to go back to Cuba. I said I was never attracted to Kate Smith and was accused of being against G-d, Bless AND America.

I happened to mention that Mayor Guiliani was looking kind of tired, and was asked what I had against those heroic fire-fighters. I can't even root against the Mets without feeling a sense of betraying America.

Now I'm just as patriotic as the next guy, as long as the next guy isn't Jerry Falwell. I mean, who can be that American? On the other hand, I'm no Bill Maher. Although paling around with Bill at Hef's is not beyond my patriotic duty.

This is not to say that I am against wiping out bin Laden and the demons who heaped the hell upon our land and people. I swear, if not for my bad knee, this darn crick in my neck and the flat feet I've been cursed with, I'd do it myself.

I'm actually writing this column with one of those red, white and blue pens, and other than the occasional eye-puncturing I get from the large American flag sticking out from the pen top, I feel this is the least I can do.

It's just that now you can't take any chances of appearing unpatriotic or supporting the ACLU. Those dern, left-wing extremists actually issued a press release, urging Congress to follow "a deliberate and democratic process." There's just no call for that type of thing in a...democracy.

And after a good two to three hour hiatus from partisanship, the radio talk shows have returned to the old tried and true. If you question what a host purports to be the truth, you could be labeled a commie or worse, a liberal. You know the talk show process of digging for the truth. A caller says that a brother-in-law of a friend heard it from a gas station attendant who was actually there. If the anecdote supports the host's point of view, it is now...The Truth. If you question that truth you are pounded unmercifully until you get asked the inevitable question: "Who did you vote for in the last election?" If your answer does not start with "George," you will get hung up on with a resounding, "I thought so." I thought Hillary's applause during the President's stirring call to arms was a proper nonpartisan sign. Talk radio told me it was insincere and not enthusiastic enough.

If you do not have an American flag on your car, you risk getting el finger de your eye.

If you don't take that $57.00 you've been socking away for building that dream house by the lake and put it into some stock that's falling faster than well, the stock market, you're agin' us.

If you don't wear red, white and blue, you risk wearing back and blue...just under the eye.

It ain't easy, I tellya. I held up one of those PM candles that NASA was going to take a picture of from a satellite (seemingly every night). Not sure whether they meant 7:00 Eastern or Pacific, I held the candle up for three hours. I still can't get the wax off my fingers.

I didn't want my kids watching the September 11 horror that was being repeated over and over again on the television. So no more TV. I told them that our house now had a telly-ban. My five-year-old turned me in for harboring a terrorist.

Isn't it enough that we've pulled Schwarzenegger's newest gem. But now peace rallies are deemed un-American. Joan Baez has to be hunted down and stopped. "Give Peace A Chance" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" have been relegated to the Clear Channel black list. Not only has "Ghandi" been pulled off the rolls of acceptable films, but Ben Kingsley can no longer get a decent table at Spago.

Perhaps we've become a wee bit too sensitive. Perhaps it's time to remind ourselves that part of being an American is having the freedom to dissent. Perhaps it's time to put a stop to the constant churning of vitriolic radio talk. Perhaps it's time to...nah. Pass me the flag, put the kibosh on dissent and get me a beer. We're goin' to war!

Steve Young is a Prism Award winner and a Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing and is author of "Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful. (Tallfellow Press). Comment by clicking here.

09/21/01: OPEN LETTER THE MOST HIGH (RE: Falwell and Robertson comments)
09/17/01: Gary, we miss ya
09/10/01: Smelling out a real hero
09/04/01: Don't give up on that dream!
08/24/01: Pitch day at the Mouse
08/21/01: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Unlimited" Is


© 2001, Steve Young