Getting Stranger by the Hour | THE POLITICUS

Getting Stranger by the Hour

 

When I was young, oh so much younger than today, I believed that the United States would become completely unhinged at some point in my lifetime. This idea dawned on me in the waning months of 1980 when the voters of Idiot Nation decided that sending a failed B movie actor to the White House would be a really cool idea. This is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. You see, I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980. My only excuse (and it's a pretty lame one) is that on Election Night of that year I got quite intoxicated. Ask anyone who knows me: I'm capable of highly idiotic behavior when I've had one-too-many.

 
I was working as a reporter for W-ALL in Middletown, NY. Assigned to cover the Conservative Party Headquarters, I arrived at their place to discover that they had chartered a bus for New York City to whoop it up at the Waldorf. Although the polls had not yet closed, it was obvious early in the evening that Jimmy Carter was going to be badly trounced by the Gipper. I wandered across the street to where the Democrats were stationed and proceeded to imbibe pretty heavily with them (it was an open bar). By the time I wondered over to the town hall to cast my vote, I was eleven-and-a-half sheets to the wind. For some reason (was it a sick joke or my utter frustration with Carter?) I cast my lot that year with Ronnie. I regretted it in the morning. I didn't make that same mistake again in 1984. I’ve been stone-cold-sober every Election Day since.
 
“Mothers Against Drunk Voters”. Does such an organization exist? It should, you know. It really should.
 
After casting - I mean - wasting my vote. I wondered back to the bar to watch the returns. Sitting there glued to the tube was Dr. William Byrne, a professor from the local college who five months earlier had been my sociology instructor. He once told his wide-eyed class, “In the years to come, this country will move so far to the extreme right that, by the time the twenty-first century gets here, you won't recognize it”. Although I respected and admired him, I thought that he was exaggerating. In hindsight, I am floored by his prescience.
 
A little after 9:00 PM, when CBS News officially announced that Ronald Wilson Reagan would be the next president of the United States, the good doctor sighed, bowed his head, and walked out of the place. That was the last time I ever saw him.
 
Although his eight-year reign depressed the hell out of me, I never for a moment doubted that we would survive Reagan's two terms. To be honest with you, compared to what's come along since he left the White House on January 20, 1989, the old bugger doesn't look half as bad as he used to. Hell, even Dubya is starting to look marginally palatable when placed in comparison to the buffoon we are now forced to refer to as "the commander-in-chief". The very fact that a full one/third of the people of this country still support this clearly unhinged abomination is something that we all need to contemplate seriously. It is now clear that the Trump White House will not survive a full term. That many of his supporters are threatening national unrest should impeachment ever occur should also give us pause. Recently, the disgraced preacher Jim Bakker (Remember that knucklehead?) threatened civil war should the Donald ever be forcibly removed from office. Nice! It would appear to me that the next year-or-so is going to be quite the ride. I've already purchased my ticket.
 
To be honest with you, I'm not sure that Donald Trump's presidency is survivable. I do hope it is, but I'm not absolutely certain of that. It will take a long time to recover what right wing governance has done - and is doing - to this once-great nation. There's room for optimism. In the life-span of people who still walk among us, Germany endured twelve years of Hitler and the Nazis. Today they survive as one of the most stable and thriving nations on this troubled planet. It might take years; some of us might not be around to see the ultimate transformation, that "new birth of freedom".
 
Still, as the adage says where there's life there's hope, ay?
 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
 
SUGGESTED VIEWING:
 
Requiem for the American Dream
 
This essay/interview by and with Noam Chomsky is better than anything I've ever seen or read that describes what has happened to America. I just watched again late last night. I cannot recommend it enough.


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