Friday, August 27, 2004

THINGS THAT ALMOST MAKE ME CRY: I feel bad about the lack of posts. I've been trying for over a month to write something about Vietnam and its continuing legacy, but the news of the last ten days or so (the Swift Boat controversy) has put me in a dark hole of frustration and ill-humor. But let me throw out something short.

I was reading Gore Vidal today. His latest collection of essays is titled Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia. Many of the essays date from the '80s. It must be a beautiful thing to have a 40+ year body of work and be able to go through and cherry-pick the essays that make you look the most clairvoyant. While I realize that and try to discount for it, some of his statements from decades past still leave me gobsmacked in their accuracy or applicability to today's political scene.

The concluding section of the book must have been written around March. The Howard Dean candidacy had pretty well blown up, Kerry and Edwards were two horses left in the Democratic presidential derby, and both of them were looking good in the polls vis-a-vis Dubya. In a fit of optimism (not Vidal's most characteristic attitude) he writes:

So, if nothing else, the feckless Bush has not only given new meaning to
the equally feckless Democratic party but he has, despite the best--that is,
worst--efforts of the media, given new meaning to our corrupt political system
as the United States is now starting to divide, consciously, between
imperialists, eager for us to seize all the world's resources, and the
anti-imperialists who favor peace along with renewable sources of energy. The media is furious at this departure from their norm--baroque lies
about the personalities of the contenders.

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