Thursday, May 23, 2013

What possible harm in yet another dynasty?

Two of my earliest childhood memories were of the Watergate hearings and the fall of Saigon. Or rather, two of the earliest memories I have are of my mother's reaction to those events. I remember her being very angry at the corruption, the open audacity of the abuses of power, the very challenge of Executive Privilege

"No one is above the law!" she would scream at the television. 

The hearings occupied the hours of daytime tv, hours she normally might have spent watching soap operas and Dialing For Dollars. For many years afterwards my mother could not speak of Richard Nixon - or the criminal midget who pardoned him, Gerald Ford - without complete contempt. It would astonish me, the way her body would transform in anger at the wretchedness of their corruption, the flagrancy of their abuses.

She would implore the airwaves, "How was he ever permitted to appoint the very man who would pardon him!"

Likewise, she was deeply embittered at the loss of the Vietnam war, the many men and boys that were coming back in pieces, or not at all. She would discuss Canada with me, or other places, if the war dragged on into the 80's, or if a new one started. She was not a woman who was ever in need of a crazed life-plan involving midnight flight, she might have possessed those in excess of others. The impulse was to protect my brother and myself. She never let us forget that.

For me, it was the Iran-Contra scandal, though my reaction was quite different. I was happy that they had finally caught the rotten fucker, and that they were going to nail his stinkin' carcass to the wall with it this time. Then, the country actually seemed to accept that Ronald Reagan had reached a point in which he simply didn't remember what had happened. This wasn't after his presidency, remember, it was during. We allowed a person to remain in office even though he was experiencing the beginning symptoms of dementia. If you watch the 1984 Reagan-Mondale debates you can already detect a sense of loss and bewilderment. 

So, I do believe that he couldn't remember. I just can't believe that we accepted it.

Then it was Bill Clinton perjuring himself to a grand jury and obstructing justice. It very well may have been a witch hunt, but let's not forget that a witch still escaped.  He might have been acquitted by the Senate but he still should have been brought before a judge to stand trial for perjury, obstruction, and contempt of court, where he likely would have been hauled off to jail were he not the President, at the very pinnacle of the executive branch of government, overseeing the department that presumably administers and applies justice

At the time, nothing would have made me happier, the jailing of a president. I've never been saddened by the failings of supposedly great men in high office. Their desire to be there alone raises deep suspicions in me. Clinton was no different, he is and was sleazy, politically and otherwise. His efforts in charity are applaudable but also seem an apparent attempt to divert historical examination towards his accomplishments after office.

Who can blame him, really? 

It's not as if he could easily return to any substantial form of legal work. The Supreme Court has barred him from practicing in their court. It is mostly a dishonor, a shaming meant to admonish, but he's become quite familiar with those. He seems to almost relish in them.

About this time, in the mid 90's, I began to realize that many of the people around me who were older didn't seem sufficiently outraged at this recurring political behavior, at least to my sensibilities. These were the people in whom I had felt had fought the good fight along the way. These seemed to me to be the people that understood the high ideals that need be cherished to survive, those who were willing to fight injustice even when it wasn't committed against them, those that... blah, blah, blah... I began to understand. It was corruption fatigue, in all directions, long before I had arrived there. There is only so much fighting, then there is mostly silence.

And now this....

Obama. His presidency will be remembered for a few things among the many, like most others; drones, assassinations, surveillance, paranoia, scandal, corruption, the jailing of journalists, spying on the media. He did not reform the health care industry he merely streamlined the revenues. Until we are able to shop for health insurance across state lines, in a competitive market, then there has not been substantive health care reform. It is only tyranny divided, so that it can later be multiplied. I would have preferred a little less audacity this term, a little more hope, a little less myth.

But I have tired of it also. I find myself less and less engaged, less willing to take partisan stances, even though I do so somewhat playfully, to prevent relaxation. I enjoy the excitement of an argument, especially when I am down and scraping, after having been gutted by facts. It is an ailment that is fed every two and four years, like the Olympics, and the World Cup. It is a form of team sickness.

I have run out of time again today....

Hunter S. Thompson described Richard Nixon's departure from the White House as well as it can be. I am paraphrasing here, so don't hate me: He should be well on his way to Easter Island by now, in the belly of a hammerhead shark...

All this being said, I would probably vote for Hillary; she's proven herself to be capable of this level of corruption. She deserves a chance just as well as anybody else does, any man that is. I don't care that some might call it sexist but I'd like to see a woman attain the highest political office this country has. If for no other reason than to dispel the absurd myth that men are the only ones susceptible to the power of corruption, and the corruption of power.