Wait a minute! Your valiant scrivener has not gone around the bend to cloud cuckoo-land. No, that is not it, at least not yet. What is beyond a doubt, however, is that the U.S. was more governable back then. There was civility in the air, and oversimplified labels didn’t stick. Remember when Nixon proposed a plan for health care reform that was stronger than what today’s President signed last year, indeed stronger than liberal Ted Kennedy’s version. What’s more, Nixon’s political party is backing away from pushing large corporations to offer health insurance to their workers. For his part, Nixon proposed requiring that all corporations, not just large companies, offer insurance.
Moving right along, Nixon signed a basket of environmental laws telling audiences that as far as protecting our skies, rivers, oceans, wildlife and ourselves from toxic pollutants it “was now or never.” Imagine his shock to learn that many of those laws leaders in his own party are blasting gaping holes in. At the same time, Nixon also advocated tighter regulation of insurers requiring states to create annual audits and hunt down shenanigans,
What happened? Day after day, the mainstream press, some with circulations larger than the penny dreadful you have in your hands, all aquiver from reading the truth for once, blame rightwing wing nuts and men, both large and small, that go bump in the night. Gentle reader, that’s not the half of it, not even a slice of it.
The truth is a simple as a snowdrop: The Soviets became Russians again so that they’ve become friends not enemies in many respects, though not all. American leaders have lost the threat of World War Three without the USSR to rally voters around and pump up defense budgets and reduce taxes to corporations. Simply stated, a new enemy was needed to unify the people.
True enough, Nixon had an enemy’s list when he was president. But it was pretty short and busy with the names of harmless, underpaid reporters. These days, however, longer enemy lists are being assembled by governors, legislators and D.C,-based inheritors of Nixon’s programs regarding aiding the poor, punishing lawbreaking businessmen, and cleaning-up dirty air. They include the following dangerous Americans:
- government employees
- medical professionals
- small-business owners
- Public safety officers.
- Unemployed workers
All are “parasitic bloodsuckers,” in the words of one elected official in a certain state in southwest where I.Q.s are dropping faster than winter temperatures in Montana.
No one can say for certain, but were he alive today, Nixon might asked a aide why members of his own party be driving voters to the other party with such a vengeance like lemmings racing toward a cliff.
And were he around today, how would he regard the Internet? Well on the bright side, there’d be no need to ask his secretary to erase any tapes. Also, there’d be no need for enemy lists given that few magazines have real reporters anymore. Some are driving jeeps now; others are acting in porno films for seniors. Anyway, everything is on Facebook, You tube and other new conveniences, he’d quickly discover.
Chances are he’d order up an ice cold gin martini and order computers removed from the White House—pronto. Leading the report on his desk would be news that in the past five years, Americans have doubled their hours online, exceeding TV. By the age of 21, the average young American will have spent three times as many hours playing video games as reading. Wait, there’s more according my guru, Elias Abouja0ude: Americans spend 200 million hours a week playing the World of Warcraft. Our worst instincts are being unleashed says my guru. “It connects you with whatever you want, gambling, sex with strangers, overspending, impulse buying. In short, everything we know about, what we thought was good is bad,” Nixon would be told by senior staff aides.
“Call in the plumbers,” he might yell.
“Too big a job even for them,” he’d told.
“OK, then a double martini on the double. Sorry some of our past didn’t make it into the future. Hold the twist.”