Old Friends

Larry Jones

Remember when we kidnapped the President?

George Bush is an insufferable, smirking twerp, of course. His time in office has brought shame to our country, damaged the environment, staggered the middle class, looted the treasury, weakened our constitutional protections and killed hundreds of thousands of people on the other side of the world. These facts are not arguable, except by a tiny number of wild-eyed dittoeheads. Those in power — Bush’s handlers — are too smart even to pretend otherwise.

But before George II and his father, before the smooth-talking Bill Clinton, before that senile wholly-owned-subsidiary-of-General-Electric Ronald Reagan, in the days before most of you were born, there arose from the boneyard of washed-up, burned out, tossed aside and left-for-dead politicians perhaps the craziest dude ever to claw his way into the Oval Office: Richard Milhous Nixon.Nixon bowling

Nixon’s fear-mongering, pandering, smearing, hypocritical Congessional campaigns in California after World War Two are the templates for Lee Atwater’s and Karl Rove’s, the “architects” of all the Bush victories, both father and son. In order to win, Nixon simply tried to destroy his opponent personally. Sound familiar?

He tried to disguise it with his safe blue suits and double-V-for victory arm signals, but his soul was tainted with a streak of craziness. It slipped out one day after Pat Brown (Jerry’s dad) kicked his ass in the 1962 California governor’s race. Nixon was convinced the press hated him and treated him unfairly, and in a famous rant told them that they were going to be sorry, because they “wouldn’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.” Good riddance, but it was not to be.

First John Kennedy went and got himself killed, taking a popular Democratic president out of the running. Then LBJ chickened out of the ’68 campaign, Bobby Kennedy had to drop out to spend more time underground, and next thing you knew, all the Democrats could think of was Hubert Humphrey. Nixon beat him by less than 1% of the popular vote, and suddenly, we did have him to kick around again — only now he was rested, ready, and The President.

Make no mistake — today’s neocons would see Nixon as a liberal. He went and talked to the commies in the USSR and China, negotiated nuclear test bans, started the Environmental Protection Agency, even appeared on “Laugh-In.” He’d probably be to the left of Hillary.

But there were millions of angry, disillusioned hippies, yippies and assorted radicals abroad in the streets of America. The Protest Train was in full runaway mode, and even though some of us had forgotten exactly why, we knew in our hearts that The Establishment was the enemy, no matter the problem. We were determined to pin our outrage on someone, preferably the smug face of The Man. Nixon.

My roommate, Scott, and I were beside ourselves every day. Each evening there he would be on the nightly news, making pronouncements, ignoring reality, shifty, sneaky, fucking entitled. Our marijuana intake, never conservative, ballooned out of control. We were going through a lid a week, just trying to make Tricky Dick, whom we saw as the embodiment of all that was wrong in the world, go away. What had we accomplished with our sit-ins, our marches, our activism, our Revolutionary Brotherhood, if this man could be the boss of us?

It was not a time for reflection. It was a time for action.

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Next time: Something must be done.


7 Responses to “Old Friends”

  • kStyle Says:

    OMG, weed! That’s what would have helped me through the Bush presidency. But I broke up with the guy who provided the weed in early ’02, and the world has felt raw since.

  • Ron Says:

    I THOUGHT I’d seen you somewhere before! You were that guy in the road getting kicked in the guts and refusing to turn loose of that joint. I was there, but I was thinking about Darwin and better flashlights.

  • Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    AG over from Kathleen’s site and your comments about high school reunions…

    Do you think we can see a day in August 2008 when much like before AG was born, on that sunny day in 1973, we saw Nixon on the lawn with Kissinger sitting on his brief case as the photos snapped?

    I wished for it for Hanukkah and my birthday last year. I hope it comes true!

    P.S. I love that you have spell check. Could you teach a few from RoD (AG’s blog) how to add this function?!!

  • Larry Jones Says:

    kStyle – It was illegal then, but quite effective at helping me cope. Now, however, corporations test you, and they won’t let you earn a living if they find a trace of it in you. My advice: Shave your entire body before going for an interview.

    Ron – Welcome back, my incomprehensible friend.

    Adorable Girlfriend – I’m afraid that sun won’t shine for us this August. Must…hold…breath…until…January.
    Geektalk: Republic of Dogs uses WordPress (like revision99), so you can use the same spellcheck plugin that I use, which is available for free here. There are other free spellcheckers available here. I don’t know if any commenters actually use it, though.

  • vikkitikkitavi Says:

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. Nixon more than deserved your scorn.

  • Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    Thanks, LJ. Now I extra heart you!!

  • Michael Bains Says:

    He’d probably be to the left of Hillary.

    Oh, definitely! Nixon, other than being a paranoid and seriously nasty-assed competitor, had some damn good ideas for governance.

    Too bad he was also about as Elitist as Hil when it came to Teh Wealthy. If he’d not thought himself above the law, he might’ve got some good stuff done.

    Too bad Bobby K didn’t have a chance to get the gig, though.

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