Hillary and Donald: The Inevitables
If you'll be kind enough to recall (or if you know your history) 1968 was the year when the American electorate were presented with a choice between Richard M. Nixon and Hubert H. Humphrey, which, to put it as mildly as possible, was really no choice at all. On Election Day '68, I was ten-years-old - too young to cast a ballot. Had I been of-age during that horrible year, I have little doubt whom I would have voted for. There were two comedians running as write-in candidates that year: Pat Paulsen (a featured player on the Smothers Brothers program) and Dick Gregory. Paulsen's candidacy was a perfectly sick, cynical (and brilliant) joke, while Gregory was in earnest. I probably would have voted for Greg over Pat - but it would have been a tough call, I assure you. 1968 was that kind of year. With respect to Nixon and Humphrey, what thinking person gave a damn?
That was the year that Bobby Kennedy was murdered in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, minutes after winning the California primary. All hope died at that moment. Perhaps he would have been our political salvation; or perhaps he would have turned out to be the prototype of Bill Clinton. Shit! We'll never know.
Here is (yet again) another example of the Democrats' genius for turning champagne into donkey piss. They were handed - on a silver platter - the most visionary candidate in their history (more than FDR even) and they have told him, in effect, to take a flying leap. Someone like Bernie Sanders comes around only once in a lifetime. Here's the good news: The next time a candidate of Bernie's vision comes down the pike, the Democratic and Republican parties will both have been long-past consigned to history's garbage bin. There's a dandy thought for you.
Good riddance to them all.
And please don't mistake my trepidation regarding Ms. Clinton as sexism. My first choice as candidate (before any politician including Bernie Sanders) would have been Elizabeth Warren. She chose not to run and I have no doubt she had perfectly good reasons not to. I hope she changes her mind in 2020. She's the best thing to happen to progressive politics in this warped country in a long time.
I might vote on Election Day. I might not. I'm seriously tempted to cast a write-in ballot for Bernie Sanders. I live in New York. Hillary Clinton will win this state handily. I would not be so careless if I lived in a so-called "purple state". A choice between Clinton and Trump is a choice between Tweedle Bad and Tweedle Badder. While it's a horrible thought to visualize her as chief executive, Trump would be a catastrophe, probably signifying the end of the United States as we once knew it. You think I'm being an alarmist? Fine. I've got a really nutty idea: Let's all vote for Trump in November and see what happens.
Are you at least able to understand my exasperation? What's the point of believing in the system when so many so-called "liberals" are willing to cast their lot with a corporate shill like Hillary? Why bother caring when a plutocratic whore like The Donald is on the verge of receiving the nomination from a party that (at one time) was the ideological base of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight David Eisenhower? The people of this idiotic nation are going to deserve everything that happens to them.
Tonight I have a serious buzz. Desperate times require desperate measures, as they say. This country will only be saved by taking a hard turn to the left. Don't hold your breath waiting for the electorate to wake up. Americans don't get it. They never will. This is the place where, nearly forty years after the invention of photography, slavery was still a legal and cherished institution. In fact it still is. Just take a look at the Prison Industrial Complex. We have more people rotting in prisons than any other industrialized nation on this planet. We're about as much "the land of the free" as we are the land of the purple unicorn. Get a grip.
Thanks to Frances Ruth Harris for providing me with the Weekly Standard cover.
By William Least Heat-Moon
In the early eighties, William Least Heat-Moon (it's a native-American name) lost his job as a professor at a Missouri college and took off in his van to discover America. What he did was quite interesting: During his journey he avoided the interstates and traveled only by back roads and two-lane highways. He encountered a great country filled with kind, thoughtful and hard-working people; a country that is worth saving in other words. This isn't a travelogue. This is great literature. In some ways it reminded me of Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond, the difference being that, while Thoreau's observations were written within the confines of a pond in the New England wilderness, Heat-Moon covered a continent. Another difference is, to be completely frank, Blue Highways is a lot more readable. At times, Walden seemed the literary equivalent of drinking saltwater taffy out of a paper cup.
Blue Highways is still in print. If it's not available from your friendly, independently owned book store (like they really exist any longer) here's a link to order it off of Amazon.com:
Thanks to friend, Brian Sager, for making me aware of this one. I'm embarrassed to say that I had never heard of it.