Is America Ready?

I spend about 20 minutes a day following the Democratic and Republican presidential races. I do this for a number of reasons. First of all, I consider it my duty as an American. Second of all, I want to see if Mitt Romney’s hair will split from his head and run as an independent. Thirdly, and I cannot stress this enough, there is nothing else on TV because of the writers’ strike. And by nothing, I mean that I watched Conan last week and was completely intrigued by a promotion for a National Geographic special called “Undercover Hippo.”

I was hoping “Undercover Hippo” would tell the story of a young hippo fresh out of the academy who goes undercover into a life of mud wallowing, dung flinging and organized crime. When the FBI freaks out and tries to pull him out of the savannah, Undercover Hippo has a decision to make – go back to the wife who loves him or continue his adrenaline-fueled dance on the razor’s edge of hippo insanity.

(Above: No-no-no! He’s in too deep. He’s already formed a symbiotic relationship with three oxpeckers. Get him out of there!)

Well, no such luck. In reality the show is about a guy with a death wish who hides inside a 200-pound hippo shell. The special premiered over the weekend – and I missed it. I hope to catch it on a rerun or whenever they decide to make it into the greatest movie of all time.

Back to the column…

To follow the 2008 election, I read every morning and watch Fox News and CNN while I eat lunch. Over the last month I have noticed some distinct trends in the presidential race that I feel compelled to write about.

1. The theme of change. The race in the Democratic Party to see who can bring about the most “change” – whatever the hell that is – has become hilarious. The high point of ludicrousness occurred during the New Hampshire debate when Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-Angryville) made her eyes glow yellow-red while gurgling, “I want to make change, but I’ve already made change. I will continue to make change.” She then proceeded to make change in nickels for a ten-dollar bill, change a baby on stage and sing David Bowie’s “Changes” while erotically stroking an arcade change machine.

2. This guy – Chuck Norris – could alter the course of a presidential election in his role as Mike Huckabee’s celebrity wingman.

If Norris can do to the GOP field what he did to Vietnamese soldiers, terrorists and drug kingpins in films such as “Forced Vengeance,” “Lone Wolf McQuade,” “Missing in Action,” “Missing in Action II: The Beginning,” “Braddock: Missing in Action III” and his magnum opus, “Invasion USA,” then all those things we read about Chuck Norris on the Internet will be proved true.

3. CNN keeps asking if America is ready for a black president. The cable news network has asked its experts. It has commissioned polls. It has created entire segments out of the question.

The weird thing is, CNN has already answered its own question. Here’s a link to a 2006 CNN article that quotes a poll commissioned by CNN that says that 62 percent of Americans believe we are ready for a black president. A new poll published this week reveals that 72 percent of white Americans believe that the U.S. is ready for a black president. Support is increasing – except, it seems, among CNN producers. It is entirely possible that they are confused by numbers that go up. All of this is forgivable. They are, after all, journalists.

Are there parts of the U.S. that are not ready for a black president? Yes, there are. But these are generally the same parts of the country that are not willing to tackle the heady world of dating outside the cabin. So take their opinion for what it is worth, which is to say, spittle.

I think America is ready for a black president. Know how I know? Because most of America is ready, willing and accepting of a black everything else.

A black man has run our armed forces and served as secretary of state – Gen. Colin Powell. The most powerful woman in the world – according to Time magazine SpaceCamp movie – is a black billionaire woman – Oprah Winfrey. The last Super Bowl was won by an African-American coach – Tony Dungy.

Non-black Americans read black authors. We watch and listen to black entertainers. We work for companies run by black men and women and in departments run directly by black men and women. We marry black men and women. We respect black priests, police, lawyers and judges. And we buy and sell products and services from companies that employ or are owned by blacks.

I could go on. Blacks and whites interface every day. A trust has been built. We live in a world in which hipster white people brag about having black friends and the black friends actually put up with these people, for the good of race relations.

What’s more, as Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein correctly pointed out, two of this nation’s finest fictional presidents have been black men – Morgan Freeman in “Deep Impact” and Dennis Haysbert in “24.”

Stein wrote:

“The Freeman and Haysbert administrations, which endured Carter-level challenges such as a comet headed toward Earth and working with Kiefer Sutherland, have specifically prepared us for (Barack) Obama.”

I am a huge fan of President David Palmer in “24.” He is strong, decisive and smart. Frankly, it’s hard to believe he’s a Democrat. No, he did not marry well. And all “24” fans suffered as a result – there is a special place in “24” hell for Sherry Palmer – but the bottom line is that the guy got results.

I think America is ready to elect a black president.

Here’s the real question – and it’s the one nobody is asking. Except me. Right now.

Is America ready for an Italian president?

Lost in the hubbub of whether or not we are about to elect our first black president or our first female president is any mention of the fact that Rudy Giuliani could be our first Dago president.

I fear that we are far less ready for an Italian president. There is no Italian Colin Powell. There is no Italian Oprah Winfrey. When the producers of “Deep Impact” needed a president, they passed right over Danny Aiello, Sylvester Stallone and Tony Danza and went to Morgan Freeman.

Why? Because in their ignorance, deep in their heart of hearts, I think they fear a Danza administration. Oh, no! It’s an Italian president. He’ll probably eliminate Social Security and replace it with sports betting. Oh, look, it’s that Italian president. He’ll normalize trade relations with a 1985 IROC Z-28. President Danza? The wop who cleans houses for a living? I can’t believe HE’S the fucking boss.

Face it. This country is ready for a lot of things, but a president who calls his boss/love interest “Angelar” just isn’t one of them.