Saturday, September 08, 2007

Fear and loathing at breakfast

"This is the horror of American politics today -- not that Richard Nixon and his fixers have been crippled, convicted, indicted, disgraced and even jailed -- but that the only alternatives are not much better; the same dim collection of burned-out hacks who have been fouling our lives with their gibberish for the last twenty years."
I often wish Hunter S. Thompson were still around. Anything I've tried to write about what has happened to the country we both mourned has owed something to him. I've recently begun to read and re-read his voluminous work and Fear and loathing in the Bunker, which appeared in the New York Times on New Year's day 1974 was this morning's breakfast.

Our feelings about Nixon's villainy, his dishonesty, his ambition to rule can easily be transferred to George W. Bush, whose coven includes many of the accessories to Nixon's crimes and in a way, looking at what we're enduring now with only small traces of the reaction that forced Tricky Dick out of office, produces more of those signature emotions than all the fear and loathing of the early 1970's.

On that New Year's day, Thompson was taking some pleasure at the discomfiture of " the main villain of my political consciousness for as long as I can remember." He correctly predicted the coming resignation, but speculated on what tactics President Nixon might chose to remain in power, including:
"A long-term treaty with Russia, arranged by Henry Kissinger, securing Moscow's support of an American invasion, seizure and terminal occupation of all oil-producing countries in the Middle East. . . and give the Federal Government unlimited Emergency powers."
Of course we don't worry too much about Russia any more and don't need their support for the other part of the plan which was a nuclear strike on China. Yes we have some different pawns on the chessboard. China is more threatening for making plastic toys now, but we have Iran and its "terrorists."

Nixon did of course resign, but Nixon's entourage re-entered the mainstream and Pat Buchanan and Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and all the Neo-cons and ex cons and Nixonians who populate the Republican Party are carrying on the legacy aided by a much more scientific and powerful ability to manipulate opinion and create false scenarios.

Pat Buchanan compared the Nixon debacle to the tale of Sisyphus. "we rolled the rock all the way up the mountain . . . and it rolled right back down on us." Pat has certainly found other rocks to roll and Bush has rolled that same rock nearly all the way up a new hill and rolled it over us in the process. The fear that he will succeed where Nixon failed and the loathing I feel thinking about how we have done nothing to prevent it and much to promote it must be emotions I shared with the late Mr. Thompson who of course finally succumbed in that second year of Bush's war on Democracy and ended his life.
"Despite all the savage excesses committed by the people he chose to run the country, no real opposition or realistic alternative to Richard nixon's cheap and mean-hearted view of the American Dream has ever developed."
Yet there was optimism in 1974:
" It has been a failure of such monumental proportions that political apathy is no longer considered fashionable, or even safe, among millions of people who only two years ago thought that anybody who disagreed openly with "the Government" was either paranoid or subversive."
It didn't last.
" Political candidates, in 1974 at least, are going to have to deal with angry, disillusioned electorate that is not likely to settle for flag-waving and pompous bullshit."
Perhaps he underestimated the memory of our born-yesterday, dumbed down, entertainment oriented and gullible fellow Americans and the power of our eternal enemy.

I don't think I'm the suicide type, but I understand the Sisyphean horror, the frustration, the hopelessness that comes from loving the country this should have been; that we hoped it was; that we thought we could make it.

1 comment:

Weird gone Pro said...

I really don't believe that Thompson ended his life out of despair over our current political position, but right on to the rest of your work here, man, right on.

If only people would step back and realize that the pig is doing us on all fronts, maybe something could be done. Maybe It's possible.