I remember reading this fantastic obit at the time it was published. Sadly, Nixon looks like FDR compared to the two most recent occupants of the White House, who have committed crimes against the American people that Tricky Dick would not have dared dream he could get away with. Watergate was small potatoes compared to the NSA scandal.
Too bad there will be no HST around to eulogize Bush Jr. and Obama.
In this man's honest opinion, this spinning rock we all call home is truly a shittier place without him (Hunter S. Thompson - not Tricky Dick).
Nixon was far from a saint, but at least he had the decency (if the term can even be applied in the context) to resign in the face of certain impeachment.
I would love to see the obits that HST might have written for any of the surviving former (or sitting) presidents. In my honest opinion, there are some real stinkers in that group.
I'm inclined to see those sorts of resignations as less decent than the alternative.
I first ran into the phenomenon when my parents put me in a private school(NE United States). The pattern, at that school and the others in the area that I had any familiarity with, was that 'expulsion' was something that happened only to the people who screwed up most blatantly, or who the school really wanted to get rid of, while more desirable or less noxious students would be quietly advised, off the record, that it would be better for all involved if they were to(depending on the point in the school year) either 'withdraw' or not seek readmittance for the following year. School gets them out, they get no disciplinary record and are free to move on, largely unencumbered by whatever it is that there were up to.
In institutional contexts, you see similar things. Peons get fired, real people get to resign when the situation looks untenable.
In something as blatant as Nixon's case, obviously, resignation wasn't going to 'hush up' what would have led to impeachment, it was just too big; but the use of 'voluntary' resignations as a "Gentleman's expulsion" oozes noxious privilege in my mind.
He was a giant in his way. As long as Nixon was politically alive -- and he was, all the way to the end -- we could always be sure of finding the enemy on the Low Road. There was no need to look anywhere else for the evil bastard.
I couldn't help but read that last sentence in his voice.
And a few years later, he wrote this, and appropriately so: "If Nixon were running for president today, he would be seen as a "liberal" candidate, and he would probably win. He was a crook and a bungler, but what the hell? Nixon was a barrel of laughs compared to this gang of thugs from the Halliburton petroleum organization who are running the White House today..."
I feel similarly about Governor Perry. He's not dead, but when he is I hope to read something like this about it.
I know Charlie Brooker's a Pom, but that aside, I'm sure he could focus his viciously sarcastic misanthropy into the searingly Thompsonesque laser of pure hatred that's required...
HST's Nixon job is up there with Mencken's evisceration of William Jennings Bryan. Both brutally honest, clear-eyed and make you laugh to keep from crying.
Every year that the anniversary of Nixon's death rolls around on my shift at the station, I recite HST's piece on the air - Ostensibly for laughs, but also as a warning.
I couldn't believe they lowered the flags to half-mast when he passed. honoring him was a confirmation that the powerful can always do as they please, and the elites will always rally around their own. it was like a kick in the dick.
We, up here in Quebec, had a famous union organizer who said something similar about a former prime minister when he passed away... He said, and I quote and translate freely, «I hope they bury him face down, so that on the off-chance that motherfucker wakes up after he's buried, he will dig down instead of up»...
One thing I found very interesting about Nixon was that:
Although Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1971, the policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 were a continuation of drug prohibition policies in the U.S., which started in 1914. Less well-known today is that the Nixon Administration also repealed the federal 2–10-year mandatory minimum sentences for possession of marijuana and started federal demand reduction programs and drug-treatment programs.
It was Reagan, Bush and Clinton that saw the most dramatic increase in incarceration rates. Tricky Dicky may have been tricky, but at least it seemed he had a somewhat less insane view on drug policy.
Nixon was to the left of, and spied on fewer Americans than, Obama. Truly a terrible world that we live in.
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