There is a common story to our lives; it is a story of love and loss,
joys and regrets. We all share in these things equally and we are all
locked inside of our times. It began as a simple conversation about how
much things had changed in America since the mid nineteen nineties. They
were times of economic optimism or perhaps were only the sunshine of my
own economic optimism, that's why I say, we are locked in our times.
I was talking to a young guy at the Occupy Portland office and I
couldn't help but to notice how well versed he was in Socialism but when
the subject of Richard Nixon came up, his eyes kind of glossed over. He
told me that he was born during the Reagan administration and it was
one of those moments, sort of an epiphany for me. It occurred to me how
vastly different this man's world experiences were from my own. This is
neither good nor bad and it isn't meant with any sort of hard intentions
it is merely the luck of the draw, our own place in the universe marked
My own father was born in 1920; his life experience was dictated by the
events of his own time. The Great Depression, the introduction of radio
and Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic were the mileposts in his
adolescent life. He told me once, "When Franklin Roosevelt said, "This
generation had a rendezvous with destiny" don't think that we didn't
know what that meant." These were his times and you and I can only look
back and see history's incomplete pictures of those events.
My own life experience would be of the Kennedy Assassination, the murder
of Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War and the assassination of Robert
Kennedy. When men landed on the moon it was something which had to be
experienced to be properly understood, to understand what the world was
like before and then after the event and then to see the benefits. That
part of history is well documented but now Nixon, Nixon is under
represented but it is Nixon who most clearly illustrates that time.
Nixon was a turning point, to see the world both before and after Nixon.
Nixon blatantly violated the law and lied with a straight face to the
American people and international bodies. Nixon was a horror show of
wrong doing yet at the same time, by modern political standards Richard
Nixon was a choir boy. Nixon set precedents, Nixon bombed civilian
targets and Nixon bombed and invaded neutral countries.
At the same time Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency and
Nixon banned off shore oil drilling. Nixon proposed a healthcare reform
package similar to, but superior to Barack Obama's Health care reform
and Nixon's plan was DOA in Congress. Nixon was the last Pro- choice
Republican President. The Republican Party hadn't yet developed a
woman's rights as a wedge issue. Nixon called the Christian right, "The
silent majority," yet Nixon never would have signed Bill Clinton's
welfare reform bill.
So when we look back at Richard Nixon we see the worst the Republican
Party had to offer America in 1969. Yet when we look at the policies of
the Nixon administration we find a Richard Nixon politically to the left
of our own Barack Obama. Richard Nixon illustrates our slide, the
erosion and decomposition of American politics sinking into the quagmire
of Neocon Fascism.
Richard Nixon was forced from office by the Congress of the United
States could that even happen today? Without the life experience to
understand how the Watergate hearings were televised for hour after hour
without spin and drew a huge audience of American's who cared. Could
hearings such as this ever be arranged today, let alone televised? There
is no way in hell either political party would tolerate unlimited hours
of television air time attacking their Presidential administration in
this day and time.
They ran Nixon out of office because of a bungled office burglary, a
burglary. Nixon didn't commit the burglary he simply knew about it and
signed off on and then lied about it and for that he was run out of town
on a rail and deserved to be. Bush and Cheney weren't even under oath
when they testified before the 9-11 commission let alone televised. I
know that such things as that might sound small but they are not, they
Nixon is the train wreck and from that scattered debris are the building
blocks of Reagan, Bush & Bush. Reaganism is the root cause of Bill
Clinton's"New Democrat" which actually meant "Less" Democrat. We see a
complete and total capitulation of the American left which has been
co-opted by the Democratic Party machinery operating as franchises to
the highest bidder while the actual brand it self means nothing more
than perhaps, the other side.
There was no CNN, there was no Fox news and no MSNBC in Nixon's time,
only the three broadcast Networks, a couple of wire services and the big
city newspapers. It makes me question 24 hour news television as a
concept the explosion of media coverage has created a fog and a partisan
fog at that, rather than clarity. Case in point- the coverage of the
first Gulf War by the news media versus the coverage of the second.
We see the rise of media savvy, no more Vietnams. Embedded journalists
with minders at their sides, no more My lai massacres. Hearts and minds,
flowers and candy, paid expert analysts regurgitating Pentagon talking
points. Not that that Nixon didn't try to spin the media but their
efforts look so quaint by modern standards. Nixon was lying and was
caught in a lie and kept on lying until even the Republicans in Congress
were forced to vote against him. Could that happen again today with a
Fox News bleating for Republican's round the clock?
The world has changed so much since Nixon, today Barack Obama can launch
cruise missiles or drone attacks in other sovereign nations around the
world with barely a raised eyebrow. Indefinite detention and
Presidential death warrants, Barack Obama ordered a hit squad to attack
and murder a civilian foreign national accused of a crime. Osama Bin
Laden was executed without trial and was never even charged in
connection to the events of September 11th.
These are the experiences which will be the mile posts for another
generation of young lives; they have little or no knowledge of a time of
peace. For the rising generation perpetual war is a normal state of
being, a president arbitrarily murdering suspects for reasons multiplied
and magnified by a sophisticated media apparatus.
They will have almost no comparison to understand how far we have fallen
as a nation since the Nixon era. From a constrained economic super
power locked in a cold war to crippled amoral fascist regime where
political ideology means almost nothing. The first term of Barrack Obama
is clearly that of a right wing corporate fascist who has kept most of
the campaign promises of his Republican rival John McCain.
Today's life experiences are of before we lost the house or before I
lost my job, with little experience of rising wages, quality healthcare
or economic opportunity. History is our teacher and each of us are
encapsulated in the times of our life experiences. From Richard Nixon to
Barack Obama is a frightening chapter and if we were to prognosticate
where such a state will eventually lead us to is even more frightening
Technology and mass media from a trickle in Nixon's time pour forth a
raging torrent. A distraction, an abstraction, an obfuscation of the
truth of words in the new media dark age, the truth is whatever you want
it to be, if not, change the channel.
Cable, Internet, phone and pad, we are immersed in mass communication we
are light years from Nixon in communications. There is a noise in the
world as now the inescapable cell phone follows us. We sit and talk to
people who aren't there with us while we ignore the people who are, how
strange is that? The hundreds of millions of dollars raised by the
Presidential candidates are intended to be spent on media
Fascism is the fruit of the unholy union of money and government; it is
the government of the few at the expense of the many. A government of
greed Über Alles which sets its own unsustainable agenda as it plunders
society. Fascism always ends because it is bastardized unsustainable
form of government which generally ends badly with a bang rather than
with a whimper.
"There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being
right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation
that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making
love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon
can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in
front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless
masturbation. It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat
sh*t and die."
- Hunter S. Thompson