I have been silent for a while, largely due to my unwillingness to contribute to the overheated political rhetoric that dominates our media during this dysfunctional primary season. It’s not my place to try to tell you who to vote for, or even if you should vote. I realize that many of my readers are thoroughly disenchanted with the political system in this country (as how could you not be after Florida in 2000?), and consider politicians from both parties to be equally corrupt and the difference between the parties largely one of cosmetics and spin and not one of substance.
But I have been writing about political and historical issues for some time, and the events of the past few weeks have caused me some kind of psycho-spiritual embolism, so in order to relieve the astral pressure on my embattled cranium I feel the need to vent.
Issue Number One:
Watching MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight (Thursday, April 24, 2008) I was startled to learn that yet another Republican has decided to meet with Nazis. Olbermann prefaced his remarks by saying, in effect, that one should resist any attempt to link Republicans with Nazis as a matter of course. I only wish the Republicans exercised the same restraint. Readers of my books are aware that the Republican Party has a long history of tolerance where Nazis and other assorted fascist fellow-travelers are concerned. It’s a matter of documentation, Keith, and for some reason damned few Democrats feel the need for the same warm and fuzzies that only a leather jackboot and a cracked monocle can provide. We can talk about the World Anti-Communist League; about Ronald Reagan’s wooing of anti-Communist ex-Nazis; of Richard Nixon’s defense of Romanian Nazis; etc. etc. Check out Sinister Forces, or Unholy Alliance. I’ve laid it all out there.
But today we have a new crease in the uniform. A Republican candidate for the Indiana State Congress – Tony Zirkle – has attended a meeting of the American National Socialist Workers Party in Chicago on April 20 of this year: Hitler’s birthday. Photos of the event show Zirkle standing before a painting of Hitler, making his own speech. Naturally, the GOP has called this “repulsive” and “nauseating,” but the damage is done. Now, we might be tempted to give Zirkle the benefit of a doubt: maybe he was trying to convince the Nazis to leave the Dark Side and embrace the Light. He did, after all, talk about Jesus and Christianity. However, Zirkle has also suggested in interviews with Indiana newspapers that “segregating African-Americans in separate states” is something that should be discussed. Thus, one more Republican name is added to the list of those who had tacitly or implicitly supported Nazism, a list that begins with Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker in the 1930s …
Issue Number Two:
I can’t even begin to express my disbelief at the fact that Richard Mellon Scaife has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President ... and that Mrs Clinton has apparently accepted the endorsement after criticizing Louis Farrakhan’s endorsement of Barack Obama.
Anyone who has read Sinister Forces knows the story of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” against Bill Clinton that was financed and spearheaded by Scaife and all the dirty details surrounding this national scandal.
I’m speechless. Just … without words to express the surreal nature of this scene. Is this Hillary’s way of getting back at Bill for his infidelities, by waving Richard Mellon Scaife in his face? I dunno.
So, America, this is why you are so cynical, I guess.
Issue Number Three:
Rev. Jeremiah Wright. I hate having to contribute to this brouhaha, but here it goes:
Hillary has attacked Barack Obama because of his pastor, Rev.Wright, who – in snippets of a sermon that showed up on YouTube – made the controversial statement “God damn America.” This is an issue that will probably dog Obama for the rest of the campaign, and it’s pathetic. Leaving aside all the arguments about this for just one moment, though, let’s look at another piece of evidence.
What about all the psychotic fanatics of the religious “right” that surround Republican presidential hopeful John McCain? Why is that not an issue? Not for McCain or for Hillary Clinton?
Well, it isn’t, I guess. It’s different. If John McCain has a weird pastor, that’s just eccentric. If Barack has a weird pastor, well … Barack is black, you see … and had an African father … who was a Muslim … and … and … and Barack lived in Indonesia for a few years as a child … so … it’s like … it’s like … well, it’s just different, that’s all. Black men with weird pastors are scary. White people with weird pastors are funny and kinda cute.
This whole campaign is starting to look like outtakes from Blazing Saddles.
Issue Number Four:
Barack Obama is not a Muslim.
Issue Number Five:
Barack Obama is not a Muslim.
Issue Number Six:
Barack Obama is not a Muslim, but I kinda wish he was. You want to keep America safe? Elect a Muslim president. That’s gotta make the Al-Qaedas of the world sit back and take a breather. How would they react to that? The Great Satan with a Believer president? Yikes.
But the fact is, he’s not. And you would not believe how many people I come across who think he is! It’s beyond belief and, once again, I am rendered speechless over the incredible stupidity of so many of my fellow Americans over this issue.
Jack Kennedy was a Catholic. No matter how you felt about Catholics and a “world-wide Catholic conspiracy” in 1960, at least you started from an incontrovertible fact: John F. Kennedy was undeniably a Catholic.
But Barack Obama is not a Muslim. His father was a Muslim.
I am not a segregationist. My father was a segregationist, though, as you can read in the declassified FBI documents reprinted in The Sinatra Files and in books about the Gary School Strike of 1945. My father was a John Birch sympathizer. He was also a Goldwater Republican (which actually looks sane compared to the neo-cons who’ve been running this country for the past seven years). But I am not a segregationist, and Barack Obama is not a Muslim.
Sorry to disappoint everyone (including Hillary, who cynically expressed some confusion on this point about a month ago).
Issue Number Seven:
Blue States. Red States. Enough already.
This dualistic characterization should have been jettisoned a long time ago. This is the one point – and the only one – on which I find myself in agreement with Lyndon LaRouche. It’s antiquated and meaningless, especially when you can no longer identify which party is more left or more right anymore. True conservatives despise the Bush administration and all it has done to damage the country by employing non-conservative principles: big government, big spending, invasion of privacy, etc. So … is the Bush administration really, really a right-wing administration? I dunno. Is fascism right-wing, or is it a radical deviation from the right? Doesn’t the right need a left in order to be right? Where is the left wing in America? It sure isn’t the Democratic Party. Not anymore.
So forget Blue States and Red States. It’s only a device to make us feel complacent about our differences which – using this system – seem mythically insurmountable. This is not the Civil War. This is America trying to understand itself, and figure out a way to survive with honor after two terms of dishonor and incredible breaches of the Constitution, in spirit if not in the letter of the law. We will disagree, that’s what happens when people are allowed to express their differences. But that does not mean we have to be divided, like children in kindergarten, into two separate camps and made to take naps while the “teachers” plot the rest of their afternoon.
On Henry Clay’s tombstone, you can read the following inscription: “I know No North -- No South -- No East -- No West.” Amen to that, brother.
As for me … no, I will not tell you whom I am voting for, or if I am voting. I don’t want to influence anyone in either direction. I realize you all have good reasons for voting – or not voting – the way you do. You can be participants, or observers. Or both. That’s your choice.
It’s up to you. Just don’t bitch about the outcome later if you are only an observer. Otherwise, you’ll start sounding like a commentator or a pundit, and we really don’t need any more of those. Right?
great to hear from ya, peter. missed ya. couldn't agree more with your feelings and thoughts.
so many 'obama is muslim' emails have been around and i've been pointing people to the truth, but i also felt like 'so what?' but since he isn't, that's moot.
and then his pastor. i'm not sure which bothers me more, the way what he said was taken out of context or that obama seems hypocritical (yeah, i know, really unusual for a politician) to separate himself from the remarks when he's heard them for years. and i agree with many of the pastor's remarks.
so, anyway, what have you been up to? workin on a book?