I Like Ike

by A. Jay Adler on April 2, 2010
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Most people don’t know what they’re talking about. Have you noticed that?

You and I know what we’re talking about. I’ve noticed that.

I’ve also noticed that most people, if you’ll forgive my Farsi (hey, I live in Los Angeles, also known as “Little Tehran”) are fucking crazy.

Not you and I, though. You’ve noticed?

But, you know, God created the universe – I figure Its Gendered Otherness can handle six billion people who are almost completely meshuggah. If not, we’re in a lot of trouble.

Then, again, the closing line of JFK’s inaugural address tells us, “Here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”

So, to paraphrase New York’s own Ed Koch, “How’re we doin’?”

Well, I was set to thinking, on a subject I’ve considered before, after reading this post by Matthew Yglesias. Yglesias considers, after Ron Brownstein, how polling demonstrates that many of the working class whites with less than a college education who oppose Obama think that his health care reforms are intended to benefit not themselves, but the poor. Many of the same people think that his policies have benefited “Wall Street, big banks, and the wealthy.” Nutty contradiction, no? Yglesias demurs from Brownstein on cause and effect and concludes that what is identified is a group, more simply “that doesn’t like Barak Obama.”

So I got to thinking about Americans, some Americans, regularly not liking their president. I mean really not liking their president. I mean actually believing him to be a criminal.

Obama, we know, from recent polls, and basically from turning on the TV, is considered by many who do not like him to be socialist, fascist, un-American –that is, literally, not American – treasonous and, quite deliciously, the anti-Christ. And not just by non-college-educated white people. Some college-educated white people think these things too. Figures the first black president would top all comers. Still, let’s review some others. There’s a point here.

George W. Bush – well, we know he was a war criminal. (Where have you been?)

And Bill Clinton, you know, actually had Vince Foster murdered in the first days of his presidency. Or was it Hilary? As recently as 2005 Rush Limbaugh, not for the first time, was insinuating as much.

So, in fact, if you are eighteen years old – and if you’re eighteen years old (I seem to dimly recall), you may know that you have most of your life ahead of you, and a fair amount still to learn, but you also feel you’ve been around awhile and that you know a thing or two – you have never lived in a country in which your President was not fervently believed by some of its citizens to be some kind of criminal.

But it did not begin there.

The U.N. General Assembly and many others thought George Herbert Walker Bush’s “Operation Just Cause,” the U.S. invasion of Panama to capture and arrest General Manuel Noriega, to be illegal. And let us not forget that Bush senior is, like, the father of the New World Order. How criminal is that? Spawn of Satan, I think.

Ronald Reagan illegally traded arms for hostages with Iran. And funded and supported an “illegal” Contra war against the Nicaraguan Sandinista government.

Jimmy Carter – well, no, no one ever thought him a criminal, unless the Republicans forever thinking him to have been criminally incompetent counts. His pal, Gerald Ford – no, not criminal. You know, the lights? Upstairs?

We might consider Carter and Ford the brief legal interregnum – because just before them we had the petty criminal – or crook – Richard M. Nixon, father of scandal fixes and suffixes.

And before Nixon, “Hey, hey, LBJ” presided over what is in the popular historical commentary the original “illegal” war: Vietnam.

Which returns us to the sermonizer of God’s work on earth, JFK, who we now know was bedding Mafioso’s girlfriends in the White House – you small time, William Jefferson – and assassinating heads of state, or maybe dying trying.

All of which leads us back to what was, friends and readers, truly another world (you have seen Mad Men?) the America of Dwight David Eisenhower, five star general, leader of the Normandy invasion, and the last two-term president of the United States not to have been thought a criminal by somebody. The low key Texas-born, Kansas-reared mainstream Republican who also, to happy liberal memory, warned, upon taking his leave, of the military-industrial complex. Who presided over the decade of boom and Boomers, of America ascendant. A good and halcyon time to be alive.

Unless, perhaps, you were an injun, a nigger, a spic or a wetback, maybe a kike, and certainly a faggot, a trans-what? or a woman looking around in a man’s world. In which case, maybe criminal had a different definition.

And maybe things really did change when JFK was assassinated. Or maybe it’s all coincidence.

What, I’m supposed to have a definite opinion every day?

AJA


1 comment

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

MaxedOutMama April 5, 2010 at 10:03 am

There are times I suspect we come from different planets or speak different languages.

In my experience, most people DO know what they are talking about. They only get off base when they are relying on memes and not their own experience.

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