Barry Saunders

Beware of slicksters who come a-courtin’ in big fancy cars – Saunders

An American flag along the base of the Washington Monument.
An American flag along the base of the Washington Monument. AP

Fellas, proceed with caution when you say to a woman what I’m fixing to say. Make sure, also, that you’re out of frying-pan-throwing range, because utensils will surely fly if they’re close by.

On second thought, just don’t say it: Let me be the sacrificial lamb. Remember, though, that no matter what happens to me, I did it for you.

OK, here goes: Old girl, you’re beginning to show your age and you’re behaving in a most unseemly, undignified manner.

There, I said it.

Sexist? Not at all. None of us is as sharp, as vibrant, as winsome as we used to be, and no matter how much moisturizer we use, our skin just isn’t going to be as radiant and supple as it was when we were younger.

Disregarding your face, it’s understandable that at 240 years old, your brain wouldn’t be as sharp and as supple as it was, say, 40 years ago when we pitched that epic wang dang doodle to commemorate your bicentennial.

In recent years, though, America, you’ve become less discriminating – in a sense, that is – about with whom you’ve allowed yourself to be seen. Who knew that at this advanced age you’d be susceptible to some blinged out, fast-talking cat that you used to laugh at? He’s now seen as a serious suitor.

Remember, girlfriend, when you used to could take on other nations’ tired, their poor yearning to live free? Not all of them qualified as members of the upright citizens’ brigade, either. When they didn’t measure up or violated your laws, though, they were regarded as individuals, not as representatives of an entire race or ethnic group. (OK, some of them had that benefit of the doubt; others of us didn’t.)

Now, though, after a few years of having to cinch your belt – and despite improved conditions the past several years – you’re being wooed by a guy whose courtship ritual includes telling you your best days are behind you, that you’re washed up, that nobody wants you but him and only he can make you what you used to be.

I’ve checked: That’s straight out of the domestic abusers’ playbook.

That’s not surprising, because despite their professions of love and unparalleled patriotism, many of them have turned out to be the kind of dudes that require magistrates to issue restraining orders, the type of guys who say – and mean it – if they can’t have you, nobody will.

This isn’t by a longshot the first time you’ve had your head turned by a slickster seeking to blame all of the nation’s ills on “them” – them being anyone of another color, from another country, who held a different political viewpoint, who worshiped differently.

How else can one explain the destructively punitive policies many politicians have adopted since you took up with that big-eared fella who, truth be told, wasn’t half bad?

There’ve been wild-eyed, wild-haired demagogues before who came a-courtin’ with big fancy cars, big fancy promises, sometimes even their own airplanes. This isn’t by a longshot the first time you’ve had your head turned by a slickster seeking to blame all of the nation’s ills on “them” – them being anyone of another color, from another country, who held a different political viewpoint, who worshiped differently.

Some of the silver-tongued seducers have even come close to securing a toehold with their false promises of nirvana – if we’d only get rid of them, build a wall to keep them out, ship them back to where they came from.

So America, as you celebrate your 240th birthday anniversary, try to remember the words of two great Americans – Neil Sedaka and Benjamin Franklin. Sedaka, in his 1975 song “The Immigrant,” wrote:

There was a time when strangers were welcomed here

music would play, they tell me the days were sweet and clear.

It was a sweeter tune, there was so much room

The people would come from everywhere.

Franklin, equally eloquently, said, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Happy birthday, America. I’m glad we could have this talk and – hey, what are you doing with that frying pan?

Barry Saunders: 919-836-2811, bsaunders@newsobserver.com, @BarrySaunders9

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