Archived Story

Time to say C’est la vie, America!

Published 9:19am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bonjour, America! It was a great week, no? President Obama has won a second term. The transformation into a French-style democratic model shall commence!

Comment allez-vous? You are not doing so well? Be happy, my friends!

It is true that America was founded on a very simple idea: liberty! Liberal thinkers of that time distrusted government and saw its expansion as an encroachment on freedom.

When America’s Founders declared their independence from Britain, these are the radical words they used: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness … .”

Your Founders believed government should defend the basic rights of the individual, so the individual could pursue his or her passion freely.

An amazing concept, liberty! It unleashed the most energetic, inventive economy in the history of mankind for many years.

It was the dream of millions of immigrants to come to America. They fled lands that inhibited their abilities to pursue their passions, but America did not.

So they came and worked hard, thankless jobs in mills and coal mines — so their children could embrace an even greater American dream.

The early immigrants were proud people. They could not accept handouts and government assistance — even if they were desperate for them. They asked for nothing but the opportunity to work and make their own way.

They taught pride to their children. Their children would go on to get educations and become doctors, teachers, business leaders — pursuing their own passions at a higher level.

All institutions thrived in this free land. Religious institutions were free to build and grow, to believe and preach anything they wished. The government was forbidden to intrude and religion flourished.

But America is changing, no? Très bien, merci!

In this new America, pride is a dying concept. So many younger people have no shame in accepting the government assistance their great-grandparents shunned.

College kids from upper-middle-class homes are eager and happy to accept government food cards. The government advertises the free food in their college newspapers. Only a fool would turn it down.

Americans have long been generous in helping the truly poor and destitute, but how many of you know of others who take advantage of this generosity?

What of the young man, 21, who works as a cook? He has two children with his girlfriend. She lives in a very nice apartment paid for by the government. She has free health care for her kids, free utilities, free food.

Do not tell the government, my friends, but the young man, a source of unreported income, lives with his girlfriend. A family should be together, no? Marry her, you say? You fool! And lose the benefits?

Such is becoming the norm in America. It is a key reason why more than 40 percent of American babies are born to unwed mothers.

It is true that immigrants still come and some are proud and ask only for the opportunity to pursue their passions freely.

But the majority of them, hardworking though they may be, very much enjoy government benefits now. Working menial, hard jobs does not pay so well. The government can make life so much easier — so why not vote for the politician who promises to give you the most, as more than 70 percent of Latino and Asian American voters did?

There is no shame in this, my friend! A new era has arrived. America is much more like Europe now. The growing number of people who happily depend on government benefits represent a powerful voting block that can be the deciding factor in any election, as it was on Nov. 6.

Why fight it, my friend? Pour some cognac in your tea and join in on the fun!

C’est la vie, America!


Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist. Email Tom at

  1. mickakers

    As a PS: I have a problem with someone advocating the killing the unborn, endorsing same sex marriage and advocating the disregard of freedom of consciences when it comes to religious beliefs. Recalls to mind the rise and mindset of National Socialism in Germany.

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  2. mickakers

    A “political party” is made up of people and the people of a society represent the moral fabric of said society, therefore the politics of a country is representative of the countries moral fabric. Morality cannot be separated from public life and more importantly, public life (politics) has the responsibility of moral leadership. Morality does not stop at the Church door.

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  3. I think that looking for a political party to provide the “moral fabric” is just a fundamental mistake. That’s not what politics is for and it’s not what government is for. That’s what the church is for.

    By the way, did you hear Mitt’s new secret tape from this last week when he spoke to his campaign contributors? He blamed his loss on Obama giving gifts to:

    - Blacks
    - Latinos
    - Women
    - The Young

    What he didn’t say outright but is beginning to become apparent is this. People like Mitt Romney see the world as two groups and it’s not the “makers” and the “takers.” No, the two groups Mitt sees are “servants” and “those who are to be served.” Obviously, Mitt sees himself in that latter group.

    I have a problem with someone thinking that just because you’re a Latino…just because you’re a woman…just because you’re black…just because you’re young….then you’re a sucker with no principles and easily bought off.

    Let them keep running with that strategy. Let’s see where it gets them.

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  4. mickakers

    indie; The statement of a countries morality is not a statement of the church, it is a statement of the people as you exemplify.

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    • And exactly how is it you mean that I exemplify that, Mick?

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  5. mickakers

    indie; I concur with your comment “the world view and predictions of right-wingers on this forum are always misleading and lacking in depth.” Also, with due respect, the world view and predictions of left-wingers and independents on this forum are also misleading and lacking in depth (always? I think that may be an exaggeration). I find the moral fabric of both sides of the aisle weak and unstable. The recent election highlights this fact.

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  6. Mick, it’s not the fault of the democratic party that morality in America isn’t what you’d like it to be. The state of morality is more of a statement on the church. If we’re at the place where we have to have government legislate what you can’t accomplish at church, it’s a sad day.

    You know, Mitt Romney just the other day talked about how popular free contraceptives were for college aged women. That’s not really an issue I followed or recall us talking about much, but wouldn’t that reduce the number of abortions??? Are you for that?

    Now maybe it would be great to just expect all those young women (and men…it takes two) to just not have sex at all until they’re married, but that’s not gonna happen. Just like you’re not gonna put down that bourbon or cognac because my interpretation of the Bible says that maybe you should.

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  7. Mick, the world view and predictions of right-wingers on this forum are always misleading and lacking in depth. Remember that one guy in the empty chair who gave us poll after poll, swearing that Romney would win in a landslide. As usual, he was absolutely wrong….and he wasn’t alone here.

    I, for one, don’t care if some here still try to demonize President Obama unfairly. You have to take it with a grain of salt. These are the same people who still try to make you think Clinton was a bad president.

    None of the “righteous” people who talk on abortion here are going to go out and make a new commitment, on top of anything else they already do, to help at risk mothers choose something other than abortion.

    I think they’ve become like the politicians who’ve manipulated them for years into voting against their own economic interests…it’s just a talking point for them.

    If they really wanted to stop abortions they’d be lining up to donate time. Instead they pose and try to demonize the other side.

    America decided on November 6, 2012. America decided that Barack Obama is doing a good job and kept him as its President. After the next 4 years, it won’t even be a close call. Down the road in American politics, Barack Obama will be a BIGGER factor than Bill Clinton was in this last campaign. Think about that.

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  8. mickakers

    keta; You disappoint me. You failed to correct me. Tim/Tom. I am still in need of a teacher. God’s Speed.

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  9. mickakers

    indie; As further food for thought, MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT.

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  10. mickakers

    indie; As a follow-up. My intention is not to glamorize the Republican Party. As you so aptly pointed out, the Democratic Party has been more sympathetic toward the interests of the vast majority of Americans. This being said, the Democratic Party has fallen on hard times and has forgotten it’s roots in regard to it’s representation of the most helpless of our society. I am a member and have been for fifty one years now, of the Democratic Party, Reform is in order.

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  11. mickakers

    indie; Headlines and press articles can be misleading and lacking in depth. As I mentioned, the Air Traffic Controllers fired themselves by breaking they’re contract. President Reagan was just enforcing the law. The Democratic Party and President Obama are sadly lacking in representation of the most helpless members of our society, the unborn, by promoting abortion. The Democratic Party and President Obama are sadly lacking in moral fortitude by promoting Same Sex Marriage and the disregard of Freedom Of Conscience when it comes to religious beliefs as demonstrated in Obama Care. You fail to take notice of the hierarchy of values as do a great many Americans.

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  12. Don’t take my word or his. Here’s the actual news clip from ’81.

    “1981 Reagan fires air traffic controllers ”

    I would also note that Reagan increased the national debt more than any president before him, just like both Bush presidencies resulted in huge national debt. The only president in the modern era to leave us with budget surpluses is Bill Clinton. That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact.

    Seems pretty clear to me that the democratic party is the one that’s for the middle class and those who strive to rise into the middle class, for the elderly, for organized labor, for policies to reduce global climate change and a lot of issues that, one way or another, actually makes an impact on people like us.

    The republican party is for the rich. Period. They throw out a little big talk with now action now and then, but it’s been enough to con the religious vote to side with them…but against their own financial interest.

    Did you hear Mitt’s new “secret tape” that just come out? It’s him talking to his donors on a conference call after the election. He was saying how Obamacare coverages for families making 30 or 40K per year, who don’t have insurance, who’ll get free coverage soon under Obamacare. Romney said it’s like a 10,000 benefit to these families. I think that’s going to be a very popular program as the final phases kick in.

    Now you can call that redistribution of wealth if you want. You know what? That’s fine by me, even though it’s a distortion. Do you really think the difference between a hard working college grad trying to climb the corporate ladder and a multimillionaire is how hard they work?

    He– no! It’s whose family they were born into, who they put the screws to, how well they cheat and lie, how easily they manage what should be a moral dilemma between what they did to get to get what they’ve got vs who they want to believe they are (and who they want others to believe they are).

    I’d say the idea of “getting rich” via good ideas and hard work covers maybe 2% of those who actually are rich in America, or the world for that matter. The other 98% got their stuff by unethical, ruthless behavior rooted only in the love of money…by themselves and by their ancestors who left it to them.

    So do I mind that people like “the 99%” here in Lawrence County will get health insurance worth $10K per year from now on, and that the rich will get a 3.6% tax hike back to what it was under Clinton….heck no I don’t shed a tear for them.

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  13. mickakers

    indie; President Ronald Reagan would have been the last man to break a Labor Union. The Air Traffic Controllers had a No Strike Clause in they’re contract. In effect, they broke they’re own union by disregarding the commitments they had made. Ronald Reagan was president of the Screen Actors Guild (a union) 1959-1960. As a side note, Railroad Unions can strike but must return to work if ordered so by the Federal Government due to public interest and safety. In my forty two years of railroad service, I was involved in two or three strikes, the longest lasting for three days before being ordered back to work. Negotiations were also ordered to continue, if nothing could be resolved by these talks then binding arbitration would be invoked, supervised by the Feds.

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  14. mickakers

    keta; Your comment “Democrats, on the other hand, deal with a president they can’t stand by winning the next two presidential elections.” Sharp and to the point. My compliments.

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  15. There are two republican parties today.

    One republican party is interested in “fiscal conservatism” which sounds good but, in reality, has amounted to deregulation, low taxes for the rich and ironically budget deficits. That’s what we’ve got under every republican president in the modern era, for example. From Reagan breaking the air traffic controllers union to Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, the thread runs from the better republican presidents to the worst in modern times.

    The other republican party is the party of traditionalism, fundamentalism and faux outrage over the diminishing liberties in America…as spun to best fit their current political needs.

    Somewhere in the middle there, those two parties overlap a little and they get together every 4 years to try to elect a president.

    That’s why the only successful Republican of the modern era was Reagan, who was strong enough to buck all the inside parties under that “big republican tent” and make them all get along. Nobody since has been strong enough to overcome the internal mess they have. I think it’s very possible the Republican will split at some point in the future, forming new factions wits sub-demographics from the democratic party and independent voters.

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  16. keta

    Sigh. I’ll bet Tom was all for “Freedom Fries”, too, tee hee. How tone-deaf is it possible to be and still sell your “humor column”? Pretending that everybody who receives government assistance is a lazy moocher turned out so badly for republicans, by all means, keep it up. Tom sounds mad as fire; I think he should try to get his state to abandon the union, which apparently is how republicans react to a disappointing election result. Democrats, on the other hand, deal with a president they can’t stand by winning the next two presidential elections. Seems much more patriotic to me.

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  17. mickakers

    Tim Purcell; As a PS: “pour some cognac in your tea and join in on the fun!”, what a degradation, shame on you for even suggesting this. The waste of good cognac is sinful. However, I do see the comparison.

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  18. mickakers

    Tim Purcell; A great tongue in cheek article. French-style Democratic Model? God save us, I hope not. The French, historically speaking have been rather deficient when it comes to true democracy. A very complex and thought provoking article. My compliments, I do recognize the comparison between President Obama and the French style of democracy. Your insight is to be commended.

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  19. I think there will be a lot of jobs created over the next few years, instead of everyone going to the soup lines. For one thing alone, rebuilding New Jersey, especially Atlantic City and the underground subways/electric lines/phone lines/everything for them. A lot of that stuff will be rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy.

    I do, however, wish when government dollars are spent in a region, that more of those jobs went to people who live in that region. At least when you see orange cones, you know that some family here in our county is putting food on the table and paying the bills. Maybe that’s just selfish but I think it puts things into perspective, including when people talk about big government. Not everything is best done based on profit. Bridges, for example.

    Although, no, Barack Obama had no say in that storm taking a hard left turn into New Jersey and the other states, that would be an act of God if you asked an insurance guy. And since that came up, no Barack Obama never said he’d personally be responsible for the lowering of the waters. I think most sharp folks have figured out how each of the news channels uses sound bites to give its target market what they most want to hear. I don’t want to get back into that Fox vs MSNBC stuff now that the election is over.

    I expect President Obama to lead more strongly, to accept little partisan obstruction of his mandate and to deliver what will ultimately be a 8-year gain of about 12-15 million jobs in America before Obama is done. I don’t want him to act like he’s leading with an iron hand but, and here’s the surprise to my republican friends, he won’t. He’s going to do what’s right and what’s fair. He might even survive what should be an all-out effort from the right to work up some scandal to link to him. That will be less effective than what they did to Clinton, as you see how he’s received when he goes on the big stage, still to this day.

    That’s my prediction. I know there’s at least 7 million to go, but he’s got a mandate.

    If you wanna jump on board with Paul Ryan, the republicans have a little mandate in the House because the demcorats didn’t beat them badly enough to take an absolute majority.

    That will come soon enough if they continue to think like that and, when it happens, the democrats will say…by Ryans own argument…the democrats in the House will have a mandate when they take back the House in 2014 and/or 2016. This is a turning point for the republican party

    I think that the republicans nominate another inspirational presidential candidate. That means they have to do something rare in republican politics…and not have a Bush on their ticket in 2016. I won’t single out the names right now that I’d like to see run, but there are some I like and could support…even if it’s against the Clintons…but only if the republicans pulled it off perfectly with their next great candidate. I’m for that, actually. I was with Reagan in the 80s and I think it’s good for America to have an actual two party system.

    Given that, I hope we see some actual bipartisanship in DC and see some good things get done by enough of them working together to implement the best ideas for America, its economy and its people.

    As “red and blue” as things are, you can’t really single out one particular program or idea without inciting an impulsive feeding frenzy. Some of those radio talk shows and news channels and the media in general play up everything and it’s often to the detriment of our country.

    I believe the truth of the matter is that there is more that unites us than divides us. We have to work together and even Reagan believed in principle compromise when he worked with Democratic Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, to help get passed legislation good for America. We need more of that.

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    • mikehaney

      Many of the Taker class do very well for themselves as a result of being employed in what Evan Sayet terms “The Rhetorical Industries”—that is, they are master manipulators of rhetoric, of words—such as media pundits, politicians, journalists, academics, and so on. They have polished the art of bulls—t to such an extent that it dazzles with its sheen. Because all they produce is words, when they are wrong (as they often are) they pay no price for it—but “we the people” pay for their mistakes, and do we ever.

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      • Mike, while I may not have used that quote myself because it’s a little question, ironically i kind of agree with you. I think there are partisans out there who’ve done a lot of polishing of their bull, but on this website it was guys like you and that other guy…I can’t recall his name…but you two were the most duplicitous people on here in a political sense.

        As long as the republican party continues to say stuff like this, and not just get honest about their own party and its viability and/or strength going forward, it will delay their eventual progress to once again becoming a more popular party.

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  20. Bluemule

    “If you can’t beat them, join them”. Become one of the 47 percent. It would be easy to say “No Thanks”. But that is what the 47 percent is counting on….the rest of us to keep working and supporting them, and finish turning the country into a socialist nation. Too bad Romney did not take the above approach when the 47 percent video came out, too bad he chose not to have a backbone and stand up for what he really believed in. The rest of us might have voted for him, had he stood by what he had first said!

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