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Thu., Nov. 24, 2011, midnight

Presidential pardon can’t preclude processing

This commentary from the Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph does not necessarily reflect the view of The Spokesman-Review’s editorial board.

A grave injustice took place Wednesday. President Barack Obama, following in the footsteps of his predecessors in the Oval Office, pardoned two criminals who deserve no such favoritism. That’s right. Obama appeared at the White House lawn with two turkeys, whose inexcusable crime is being delicious.

He should not have committed the foul act of commuting their sentences. Why not? Is it not William Shakespeare who wrote the following?

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

Frankly, Shakespeare didn’t know what he was talking about. He’d probably never had turkey. True, an English explorer named William Strickland introduced the turkey to England in the 16th century – but he also had a turkey placed on his family’s coat of arms, so what does that tell you? Turkeys weren’t common English fare until later in the 17th century. And it remained a delicacy until much, much later – remember, Scrooge called out for a Christmas turkey, not a Christmas goose, for the Cratchit family.

So Shakespeare aside, the question is mercy – and the politically correct conscience. Oh, and gravy.

Let’s discuss mercy first. Is it mercy to deny American tables the roasted goodness of a crispy-skinned, juicy-breasted turkey? Is it mercy to force us to victimize other fowl, whose crimes of delectitude are not nearly so great? What paltry poultry reasoning is this? No one can deny that the domesticated chicken is a bland, tasteless substitute. Do not the greatest minds remark that everything tastes like chicken? If that be so, then can chicken be made to taste like anything greater than itself?

Of course not. Yet we will admit that turkey, prepared by unskillful and hurried hands, is not always the peak of perfection we admire in that famous Norman Rockwell painting. Too often the public rushes to the table, desiccating the beautiful bird with high temperatures, unprotected roasting pans, and the hang-fire waiting for the little red timer to pop up. But this is no reason to dismiss the turkey; it is call to fire the cook (or at least to record a “Good Eats” episode for reference).

Now, about the politically correct conscience. We are fools to believe that any president spares the life of a turkey out of kindness, for that president will be carving up that turkey’s cousin today (and yes, there’s always a photo op). The act of pardoning two turkeys is done merely to placate those Americans who would rather think of their food as produced in the freezer section – not starting out someplace else, as something kind of cute.

Man up, we say! Face your food! Admit your dinner once had a face, hopes, dreams and turkey ambitions! And then dig in.

And finally, gravy. That’s enough of a defense right there – just saying the word. Gravy. Done.

So we call upon the president to do right, to seek justice, and to then roast it at no higher than 325 degrees.

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