American politics — at least since Richard Nixon left this vale of tears behind — is a terrible bore at the best of times, but a presidential campaign drags it yet farther down, to hadopelagic depths of tedium — lightless realms where only tube-worms can survive. Nobody has a thought to spare on anything but the horse race, or rather the horse’s-ass race. Please check your brain, and your autonomy, and your self-respect, at the door.
This is surely one of the many good reasons to loathe electoral politics.People talk as though it were a very detached and bloodless choice between Evil and Eviller, but it’s not. Once you start giving a shit, you’re in the Roach Motel, mentally and emotionally. You’ve been pwned.
The only real choices you have are whether to participate or not, and whether to care or not.
Speaking of Nixon, I was talking the other day to a friend of my daughter’s, a chap in his early 20s, if that. Daughter had mischievously told the lad about my Nixon obsession.
Lad was raised in the usual dogmatic New York liberal context and he found this appalling and inexplicable.
Maybe you had to be there? I mean, back in the Nixon years? It’s hard to convey what an intensely interesting madman Nixon was. Every president since has been a cipher.
Oh, people say Clinton has some personality, but I don’t buy it. I’m from the South myself. I know his type. He’s the big loud confident glad-hander down at the feed store, always trying to sell a lawn mower that doesn’t work.
Say what you will about Nixon, but he was always willing to go off-script and show you just what a nut he was. And his particular kind of nuttiness found an echo in many of us — it certainly did in me: his provincial chip on the shoulder; his resentment of the cool kids and the in-group; his somewhat excessive confidence in his own unaided brain-power and autodidact’s flimsy erudition; and of course his dislike of Henry Kissinger — though he was, at the end of the day, too impressed by qualifications to turf the guy out, as I would have done after thirty seconds.
Hell, these days, I’m, like, the President? I could send Kissinger to fuckin’ Gitmo, man. And I would, too.