(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
And yet it only stood to reason that if you believed your opponent was neither sensible nor sober and would do anything to win, and his victory would destroy civilization, a certain insobriety was permissable to beat him.
Thus a more inclusive definition of Nixonland: it is the America where two separate and irreconcilable sets of apocalyptic fears coexist in the minds of two separate and irreconcilable groups of Americans. The first groups, enemies of Richard Nixon, are the spiritual heirs of Stevenson and Galbraith. They take it as an axiom that if Richard Nixon and the values associated with him triumph, America itself might end. The second group are the people who wrote those telegrams begging Dwight D. Eisenhower to keep their hero on the 1952 Republican ticket. They believe, as did Nixon, that if the enemies of Richard Nixon triumph = the Alger Hisses and Helen Gahagan Douglasses, the Herblocks and the hippies, the George McGoverns and all the rest – America might end.
~Rick Perlstein, Nixonland
“While you are 100 percent certain that your preferred candidate’s stance on issues such as foreign policy and the economy would appeal to any human being with half a brain, there is, in this very same country, an equally large voting bloc which believes that you and your candidate of choice are absolutely insane,” the report’s co-author Dr. Mark Grier said during a press conference. “Every single thing you love about your candidate’s personality, vice presidential pick, and family, 60 million other registered voters absolutely deplore.”
“What you consider to be this country’s ruin,” Grier added, “these other people actually consider to be this country’s savior.”
With the second Presidential debate behind us, the outcome of the election is essentially clear: Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.
This is, relatively speaking, a good thing, in my opinion. I prefer Obama to McCain. But I want to talk for a moment about something that I consider important to recognize: it would suck if things had turned out the other way, and John McCain was elected President of the United States. But it would not have been the end of the world, much less the end of our country.
Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland is the political book of our season, of course, and many people have already expounded on it with greater insight than I can muster. But at the heart of the book is the simple conclusion quoted above; the change of the political atmosphere to one where the battle for executive control of one relatively small aspect of our lives, the federal government, has become for both sides a battle between the forces of good and of evil, as starkly so as the combat between Lucifer and the angels of Heaven. Between these forces, there can be no quarter. Obama (or McCain) must win; anything else puts everything in jeopardy.
Ultimately, I consider little to be of greater importance than for us to escape Nixonland. I consider it ridiculous. Our nation survived a civil war and a depression so deep that few of us can really even imagine the scale of it. We survived Nixon himself, not to mention eight years of George W. Bush. The notion that we cannot survive a McCain Presidency, or for that matter, an Obama one, is ridiculous. The Dow may be well below 10,000, but people are still packing the multiplex to see animated talking dogs spew nonsense. There is no shortage of people emailing sports shows for fantasy football advice. These are bad times, and lots of people are being hurt by the events going on in the world. But bad times are still, for most people, relatively ordinary times. It is little more than our own narcissism which leads us to believe that we are living in the pivotal moments of history. Those who prophesy the end of America under John McCain are little different than Sarah Palin’s pastor, proclaiming that these are the “end times” and we will soon be living in the days of revelation.
With the pending victory of Barack Obama on the near horizon, I’d like to think that we can focus a bit less on how awful it is that people we will never meet or talk to in Utah or Alabama think differently from us about everything. I’d like to think that we can start brainstorming about what I consider the real issue: how can we finally exorcise the demon of Richard Nixon from our politics, and from our policies? Is there an escape from the hell that this one twisted man helped midwife? Do we have the will, and the good sense, to seek freedom from his dominion?