Tonight, perhaps troubled by the anarchistic remarks today of our Secretary of State, I find myself watching the 1968 presidential election returns on YouTube, and drinking.
Won’t you have a touch?
When Richard Nixon died, his most lurid journalistic critic Hunter S. Thompson wrote that “it was Richard Nixon who got me into politics, and now that he’s gone, I feel lonely.”
“Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.”
That’s understandable. Nixon was a force all of Thompson’s life and Thompson began writing about him when he was only in his twenties–made much of his career writing about him.
It was probably George W. Bush who really got me into politics, by invading Iraq in a move that was so transparently imbecilic that even a dumb writer could tell.
My hatred of Bush helped to bond me with some people back then. It radicalized me a bit. One night I was saying things in Laschett’s bar that even my radical friends told me to stop saying out loud. That hatred of Bush has dissipated with time, and with Bush’s public tiddlywinks with Michele Obama. Goddamnit, he seems like a nice guy.
My hatred of Trump, deep and visceral as it is, has not been particularly good for my social life. It has strained relationships with people I love who think I hate Trump too much—and people who I love who think I hate Trump too little. Or that I hate Trump’s supporters too little, more like.
There was no term, “Bush supporters,” of course. There were Bush voters, who could redeem themselves (as my own father did!) simply by voting the other way the next time. Trump “supporters,” on the other hand, carry a more permanent burden. A vote can be reversed; support must be renounced. When was the last time you renounced a thing? Really: When? Goddamnit, I’m trying to be careful with these people, because the only alternative that I can see to loving them is to be ready to kill them.
In any case, I’m pretty sure I won’t miss Trump, when he dies, the way Thompson missed Nixon.
Anyway, it’s early, and Hubert Humphrey is down only eight points so far in the popular vote, and I’m hoping for the best.