“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning,they shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid general applause from all the wits, who believe that it is a joke.” –Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or
– Edward Curtin
It was snowing hard in the days before Christmas in 1972 as I sat at my writing desk looking out the back window toward the woods that were filling up with snow. I felt trapped by the heavy snow that made the roads impassable, but even more so by the contemplation of the barbaric “Christmas Bombing” of North Vietnam carried out by Richard Nixon,Henry Kissinger, and their associated war criminals. I was filled with despair and imagined the snow turning red with blood. Earlier that fall, I, together with a thousand others, had been arrested for protesting the dispatching of these B-52 bombers that were indiscriminately massacring Vietnamese. The corporate media, accomplices to war crimes then and now, refused to report on the demonstration and the large number of arrests, despite repeated requests to do so. They were just doing their job.
So here we are again as Christmas approaches. The same corporate media obsess about Trump as if something has changed over the decades. Nothing has, except for a growing gulf between reality and fantasy, not a small thing. Between Nixon and Trump lies a vacuity of leadership and a history of evil war-making that the media have disappeared, just as they have disappeared the message of peace that connects Christmas to Good Friday, in favor of corporate capitalism’s favorite season of consumption and memory loss. Thus they have accompanied and promoted the growth of the malignant American empire and its violent expansion across the world. But if one knew the history of those years, one could perhaps find one’s way out of the forest of lies into the clearing of truth, a very big thing indeed. Here’s a bit.
Nixon was first elected in 1968 as a “peace candidate” and proceeded to wage savage attacks on Vietnam and secretly on Laos and Cambodia. He was elected after having treasonously sabotaged a Vietnam peace deal, but the American people in their naivety believed his lies and elected him. After four years of savage war-making and the Watergate break-in, they reelected him in a landslide with the aid of the 18 year old vote, when his opponent, Democratic Senator George McGovern, who campaigned on ending the war and granting amnesty to draft evaders, received 17 electoral votes to Nixon’s 520. So much for war crimes. Then came Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, William Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama – liars and war-mongers all (I will spare you the details that are easily available) – and now we have Trump, who is no different, just far weirder and therefore a cause of some embarrassment to those who deal the cards.
Nine presidents who claim to be Christians, whose founder was executed by the Roman state for advocating love, not war; presidents who, when they die,we are told by the media, go straight to heaven as their presidential brothers in crime and their acolytes gather round to pray, hold hands, and beam them up in language that would make an idiot laugh. Don’t bother to send in the clowns; they’re here. They gather periodically in the National Cathedral and other Washington, D.C. venues to give us a laugh. But who is laughing at these jokers who are an embarrassment to the human race? …