Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

    Was his paranoia justified? I don’t think so, but if you do my main point remains. Nixon’s presidency was a pivot point in time that very well may be the seed that grew into what we have today: two parties that have gotten closer to a violent conflict since probably the Civil War.

    The year was 1967. I think this happened in White Plains, NY. I was with my father who was running on the Conservative ticket in Nyack, NY and we were at a big confab for next year’s election. Jim Buckley was there, and other activists on the right. Nixon was supposed to sit with us and plan for 68.
    Wasn’t going to happen. As I sat in an aisle seat I saw a mass of men in black rush him in. We stood and applauded. Nixon spoke briefly, then they rushed him into the wings and out the back door. As he spoke I noticed an odd glass-like appearance to his eyes. I have no idea why. Could be many reasons, however years later I wonder if paranoia already had started to set in.
    What if Nixon had won in 1960? I think his loss there, and later as governor in 62, may have driven him deeper and deeper into a mental maze that many defined as paranoia, including some conservatives.
    Would he have been a better president in 60 than 68? Maybe less bad, marginally, but then we have his participation in McCarthy-ism of the 50’s to add a, “But what about…?”-ism.
    Then we have all the timeline change questions…
    What about Nam? Is it possible Cuba would no longer have been a communist nation, OR would we have had WWIII? As The Butterfly Effect suggests there are always unintended consequences we never imagined to shifts in timelines. Hindsight is aptly named from whence that vision comes from.
    I know it was claimed the close 60 election was rigged via dumped ballots. I have my doubts. But Nixon did concede, as all presidents have until a few years ago.
    The pardon had consequences. What followed in the years after 74 should have been predicted. After Watergate the chances Ford would stay in office were pretty dismal. The nation, as Jimmy Carter said, suffered from malaise. That comment, and his refusal to discuss health care with Ted, were probably some of the many nails in Carter’s presidential coffin. A decade that grew so dark the less than thoughtful escaped into disco.
    Let it be noted that back then Democrats and Republicans eventually wanted Nixon to go: Barry Goldwater, the Buckleys and even Conservative candidate in Nyack Bill Carman who grew up listening to Father Coughlin. I found a “poem” he wrote the other day pretty much begging for Dick to go away. The others saw the presidential smear on the wall and asked him to resign.
    But Woodward and Bernstein sure didn’t go after “all the president’s men.” One might call what we have today as “the revenge of the leftovers.” Roger Stone, among many, left in their anger, planned a comeback. Reagan didn’t quite suit what THEY wanted. The sweeter side to Reagan’s disposition these days seems to me the flip of Stone’s more anger, sarcasm, prankster, plot-based, sneer-driven plans and plots.
    Looking back it’s easy to see which one won: less nasty or outright revenge.
    One can’t logically claim loner events are unconnected. More like outcomes that grew out of that toxic seed. Events like the hammer to Paul Pelosi’s head, the Dallas shooter who wore the Right Wing Death Squad patch while murdering 8 people, the trans shooter in Nashville, the bomber the Christmas day.
    One can argue both sides, to some extent. One might offer up the trans shooter, I suppose. Though when it comes to who is worse it’s hard to argue the left.
    No matter what side paranoia and anger seem to rule now more than even during Nam. Like a virus far more infectious than COVID it spread. It’s obvious… for way too many citizens suffer from out of control hatred borne out of paranoia, no matter who they target.
    What to do?
    Step back.
    Cool down. There have been so many attempts on Facebook and the web to have, as one FB group claims, a “polite” discussion. Most have failed, been shut down by their frustrated creators. So far anger still seems to rule.
    Perhaps one way to start to make this better is to slowly cut down on the what-about-isms and blaming it all on either side. Instead perhaps we should turn inward. How can we can be better, less angry? Point this out to those who go over the top on our side.
    There are obvious talking points for both sides. I can’t imagine ANY decent person approving of the worst violence on 1/6 or summer protests. Or the worst actions of the loners.
    How can we make it better for everyone? Stop trying to humiliate others into cleaning up their houses. They just double down. Clean our own.
    The other path is self destructive because people do double down.
    Once John McCain tried to split from the trend: “he’s just my opponent.” He got booed and I would argue boned by his own side.
    Looking back, perhaps instead we need more McCain, less of our side or you’re the enemy. This is no &%$! football game. Most of us we want things to get better, we just disagree how to get there.


    “Inspection” is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 50 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2023
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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