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    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Politics, sort of
      To: CIS  
    Date: 2/25/1998 4:38:00 PM  

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Robert A. Matern <> asks:
> Tell me, I'm just curious...what color is the sky in the world
> where you live? How many even understood it at the time?

That Nixon got his butt on a plane and went to China doesn't do
a whit to change the fact that he damn near tore the country apart. If
anything, he was pushing the foreign aspects of his administration
because he simply couldn't lead here at home...everything he did, he
did for Nixon, and Nixon's perceived place in history. He was a mean,
spiteful, venal little man who was also more than a little bit nuts.
No president since him has stirred so much chaos and hatred at home, or
seen such dramatic social turmoil erupt as the result of his actions.
It started with LBJ, who just couldn't handle the burden of it all, but
it spiraled out of all control with Nixon.

The tone of a country is set in some measure from the top, and
this was a tone that empowered the Howard Hunts and the Joe Haldemans
and the Gordon Liddys, the creeps (historical pun intended) and the
thugs who used the FBI to harrass anyone who spoke out against the
administration, bugged offices illegally, broke into psychiatrists
offices, and created the us vs. them paranoia that set the stage for
Kent State. Under red-baiter Nixon, if you criticized the government
for any reason, you were a Commie stooge, and should be treated
accordingly. He engendered an atmosphere of fear and distrust the
likes of which I have never seen since, and hope never to see again in
my lifetime.

Up until Nixon, there was still a vague, tenuous sense, or hope,
that the government was still sorta kinda on our side...his behavior
pretty much drove a stake into the heart of that idea, and the events
of Watergate so tarnished the office that it bred a cynicism about our
elected leaders that is still profoundly present in the American

Whatever Clinton did or didn't do in this current situation --
and let us still remember the policy about innocent untli proven
guilty, odd how those who most support the constitution forget that
part of it when it is convenient -- NOTHING he has done has torn the
country apart so vividly and so violently as what Nixon did during his
years in office.

To me, this isn't a democrat/republican, liberal/conservative
thing; I had little patience with Carter, who was a good man but
absolutely inept as a president, Ford was a crash-test dummy ahead of
its time, basically harmless and good natured but a doofus, the less
said of Reagan the better, Bush just didn't get it, and Clinton's about
middle of the road for presidents, in my view, kind of in the
Eisenhower mold, maybe...for me, this is a reality thing and a non-
revisionist thing.

I remember the Nixon years...and this ain't *nothing* like them.


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