The post-mortems have begun. An amazing number of people I know are in bad moods. The twentysomethings, especially, are angry, or depressed, or outraged. Can't fault them for that, really. At a comparable stage of life, there was a war on, we DID have a draft, people I knew were going, and I seriously contemplated relocating to another country (many did that too). Difference was, believe it or not, McGovern was a real candidate, more comparable in terms of this cycle to Howard Dean than to John Kerry. He was (almost) going to bring in the Revolution: end the war, decriminalize pot, restore sanity to government.
What history mostly remembers about the McGovern candidacy, other than the fact that the only state he carried was Massachussetts, is what his opponent did to try to make sure it went nowhere, and why that effort was made: a break-in to the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. The noble reason: National Security.
All the hallmarks of the Nixon presidency have their echoes, some almost deafeningly loud, today: the secrecy, the paranoia at highest levels, the "enemies list", the powerful cadre of close presidential advisers, the political dirty tricks, and most especially the Noble Cause which justified everything: National Security. Trusting the man with the plan. Re-electing the President, at all costs, including perpetration of third-rate burglaries if need be, was required in order to keep the country safe. As it turned out, all that political paranoia was unnecessary. Nixon won in a landslide, at least of electoral votes, in 1972, he was above politics, he was "King Richard." Nothing could touch him.
Nothing but the truth, which eventually came out. Four years later, he was long gone, his henchmen in jail, the war was over, the draft was ending, the system was undergoing major reforms, and a Democrat was on the way to the White House.
Now I share a simple faith with the likes of George McGovern, who was the son of a Methodist preacher. That faith is in another country preacher from long ago, a rabbi whose wisdom led him to say, among other things:
What you say in darkness will be spoken in light. What you hear whispered in the ear will be proclaimed from the housetops. For there is nothing covered, which will not be revealed, nor hid, which will not be known.
So, yes, the people, or perhaps those cleverly programmed voting machines, have spoken. For progressives or people interested in real American values like life and liberty and justice for all, things seem pretty bleak. And there's no guarantee that things will get better before an even greater disaster befalls us. Living near Washington, DC, I don't relish the fact that We the People have just painted a big red bulls-eye all over my general neighborhood. If I'm vapor in a year along with the whole Potomac watershed, it'll be no huge surprise. And yet, and yet....
I also won't be surprised if I live to see this house of cards come down. Till then, in my small way, I'll do my best to live like every moment is precious, because it is. May mercy and truth and peace triumph. May God forgive America, though the way to forgiveness be harsh indeed.
Stay tuned for another post in which I will quote myself.