As I sat last night waiting for my meal to arrive at my table at Vulca I was inspired twice by diversity. First, I was joined by Majordomo Pain who floated across from me enjoying vodka infused anchovies, as this is Its favorite aperitif and then by John FitzGerald Kennedy my friend of the more than a decade here in the Afterlife. The Majordomo opened Itself up to me a glimpse of two American futures, one of gridlock that leads to a terrible dystopian conservative fracturing of America and then the world in which you live and the other a prosperous world with less violence and poverty driven by the beauty and intelligence that grows from the warm fertile soil of diversity.
I am not ashamed that both of these glimpses of an America, the former with Rand Paul in the White House and the latter with Hillary Clinton as leader of the free World, made me weep, though for wholly divergent reasons. They were mirror images; hate versus love, death versus life, greed versus generosity, blind faith versus the scientific method, inhumanity versus Humanity. I was wiping warm tears off my face with my black cotton napkin when I felt the warm strong hand of JFK on my shoulder who had been standing behind me watching Pain’s display of the possible futures of the world in which I was born, lived and died.
The 35th President of the United States sat down with his favorite drink, a bullshot, and smiled at me. “You know Blackie,” he’s called me Blackie since the very first day we met in the courtyard of the Arts and Sciences building at the Universitje di Dis in 1997, where he was the head of the political science department, “the more things change the more they stay the same. This thing going on in America is nothing new. When I was making my plans to go and visit Dallas, Texas back in mid November 1963 I knew I was going into a lion’s den. There were warnings that something would happen; that there would be protests and possibly violence from the far right. Now I didn’t think I’d be shot in the head and killed but I knew what I was doing was dangerous because I was the first President that could be ostracized and demonized in ways that were acceptable to the great mass of people who wanted the status quo both politically and racially in America. Now don’t take me wrong there was an equal amount of animus for me in places outside of the South but Dallas was the Ground Zero for the anti-Kennedy, anti-Civil Rights and anti-diversity movement.”
He took a long pull from the highball glass and my second Manhattan arrived and I took a quick sip, and Kennedy continued. “Today people aren’t as violent they were in ’63 but they are far more polarized which may be a portent to future violence as the far right loses. Back then LBJ and Ladybird got mobbed in Dallas by people who today would be respected as pillars of the community.”
“What?” I said having no knowledge of LBJ ever being mobbed.
“There was a group of so-called upstanding citizens in Dallas known as the Mink Coat Mob who were for lack of a better comparison the TEA Party of the age. These were wealthy degreed white men and their wives who were staunchly anti-communist, Protestant, constitutionalists who felt their nation was under attack from a presidential candidate who was in league with outside elements who wanted to destroy their way of life. Sound familiar Blackie? There’s a book you need to read written by Bill Minutaglio and Steve Davis called Dallas in 1963 I’ll have my girl send a copy over to your office tomorrow. You’ll run through it in a morning I’m sure because Truman, as you know was correct.”
“The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.” I said to Kennedy as he rose from the table his eyes sparkling I thought because he had planted a seed of inspiration in my mind. In reality he saw Marilyn coming in to the restaurant to meet him for dinner. Pain and I ate our meals in silence and then I went back to my apartment empty of the two women I love and sat and thought.
This morning I read MitchEtheKid’s brilliant piece at AllpolyticsNow from yesterday. This man gets it and now I have learned something about history, politics and myself from the fountain of Reason. Conservative politics haven’t failed they have just simply refused to understand the tectonics of American society. They have refused to accept that the status quo of the 1950s no longer exists. Their defeat in the political arena comes from their inability to pivot toward the needs of the American society as changes. Wait a minute that is too facile. Their demise will come from a variety of cancers the chief among them is their need to be tribal in all matters. No to Jews unless it satisfied their Rapture fantasies. No to blacks because they should still be in the back of roaring bus that is capitalism serving drinks and being inhumanely servile to people who have crowned themselves superior. No to gays, transgenders and lesbians because these people despite the fact that they serve the nation well in all the things they do cannot fit into the small biblical box of of how gender and sexuality are defined. No to Latinos because they threaten the superiority that comes from numbers no matter how hard they work for the masters of capitalist greed to literally feed a nation where many of its citizens loathe them. No to a woman wanting the same inalienable rights that men have had since time immemorial to have sovereignty over their very own bodies.
NO! This is the shout of a man who because a black couple moves into his middle class neighborhood; this is the self same shout of a TEA Party member that sees the first man of color elected president as “the Other.” I cannot say loudly enough that the right in America a mostly white, Protestant and male organ in the American political body that has begun to rot and harden against all organs that are unlike it and seeks to consume the rest of the body like a rabid pancreas. This cannot change because once conservatism was the leader in American life, society and politics. Today conservatism is seen as a backward and dysfunctional method of doing political business because it wishes at its very core to deny people the things they need to be free; jobs, health care, respect under the law as free citizens and above all the right to vote.
Conservatism now is fleeing the very center of American politics for the “safety” of a suburb carved out of a rural woodland where they can only see people who look like them, think like them and serve the G-d of Wealth they worship. Conservative leaders are no longer civil rights proponents or women’s rights proponents they are the new slaves of billionaire masters. They bring the sumptuous meals to the tables of the Adelsons and the Kochs and are satisfied making soup of napkins with which they wipe their drooling mouths and the bones that are left behind. Faith to them means waiting for some time after death to get their reward; in politics this cannot be the case. The real rewards of politics have to be making the middle class a force again, making people want to be a part of the political process vice trying to find ways to keep them out and truly having America be the nation that everyone respects rather than fears. No political movement can survive by making its base smaller and no community political or otherwise can survive by moving away from the central hubs of power, barricading itself behind walls of bigotry and refusing entry to anyone with new ideas.
Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork
145 Colnu 2 AS