Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Politics would be a helluva good business
if it weren't for the goddamned people.
What starts the process, really, are laughs and
slights and snubs when you are a kid. If your
anger is deep enough and strong enough, you
learn that you can change those attitudes by
excellence, personal gut performance.
Richard Nixon, the only American President to resign.
On this night, 1973, Nixon abolished the office
of the Special Prosecutor (looking into Water-
gate), accepted the resignation of the Attorney
General (who refused to carry out Nixon’s
orders), and fired the Deputy Attorney General
for the same reason.
In some ways, I am mellowing with age ….. but I have to say in all candidness that this is a relative marker when it comes to me, arrogant bastard that I can be! Until recently, I have had nothing but scathing contempt for Richard Nixon. Now, I see his battered, shattered humanity, mostly a result of self-inflicted wounds erupting from his self-delusions ….. but also from his agonizing woundedness as a human being. That agonizing woundedness comes from early depths; you can “hear” it in the second quote: “laughs and slights and snubs”. Oh, I remember those from my youth.
Immediately, my mind and heart go to the several young Gay men who have killed themselves recently ….. and in whose memory I will wear purple tomorrow. It was the “laughs and slights and snubs” – and woundingly much deeper things – that these Gay youngsters suffered that undermined their sense of Self and led them to suicide. They have died victims of a cruel and ignorant and hateful society. Nixon died too as a person the day he resigned …. but lived on in a living death for some years. He learned that you can’t change those attitudes by “excellence” and by “personal gut performance” ….. some may, but most are defeated by society’s cruelty. Nixon was defeated by the contempt he adopted – his contempt, nurtured by pain, for “the goddamned people”. I know how he got there. I now see Nixon certainly not as blameless: he was the worst of politicians, full of the worst characteristics that political power, and the lust for it, can create. But I see his lack of spiritual guides – and am not at all surprised by it, having watched “God in America” and seen how American Christianity has not only betrayed the Gospel but also planted within itself the seeds of a hideous and fatal sickness.
Do we want America (or the World) to be a land inhabited by, and more frighteningly, governed by human beings stunted in their Humanity? A Humanity barely rising above barbarism spiritually, morally, intellectually? Turn on the TV: we are surrounded by it. I have talked with friends in Canada and in Europe. They are stunned by the spiritual corruption they see on American media. And by the venality and shallowness of political and religious leaders throughout the World. It is breathtaking ….. and frightening.
Think about this. There is something that each of us can do – and be – to counter this. Today, if you believe in the beauty of human beings and in kindness and compassion: