My first witness to the transfer of Presidential power was the real-time sight of Richard Nixon getting onto a helicopter, having resigned his office in disgrace. Though I was too young to experience the moment, I was also alive when his predecessor LBJ left office early at the end of his first full term, also in disgrace. LBJ’s predecessor left the Presidency in a body bag. As a kid, I watched as Nixon’s successor Ford was defeated in reaction to his crooked pardon of Nixon. Then Carter, after one term, was replaced by Reagan, who entered office under the suspicion that he had conspired with Iran to hold on to American hostages until he was installed. And then there was the lame Clinton impeachment and then the 2000 election decision, which stank to high heaven.
I guess my point is, a person my age is going to be highly cynical about Presidential politics. The full-bore insanity of our time seems to have something to do with the dark nihilism spawned by the death of ideals. The assassinations of the ‘60s are what got us here. LBJ carried on JFK’s work, and started some things, but left before solving them. He bolted because he feared a challenge from RFK, who also would have continued something like the Great Society, but he was killed. In 1968, MLK was also rolling out his Poor People’s Campaign and he too was murdered. All of these programs would have benefited whites as well as blacks, and might have done something to mend the deep racial divisions. But it all went out the window with Nixon, who exploited and expanded those divisions, and fetishized the use of force in keeping order, which would also be the tactic of Reagan and both Bushes, creating a culture in which even liberals like the Clintons and Obama were forced to tack right and things like poverty programs, police reform, and public education languished for a half century, with the result that America bred entire GENERATIONS of adults so ignorant of history or civics or the Constitution or American values that they elected a morally bankrupt reality TV star to be President of the United States and stubbornly supported him no matter what he did to degrade and humiliate and harm and impoverish the nation. The powerful seem to want REVENGE on the disenfranchised for daring to ask for simple fairness. And now it has reached a point of crisis.
Like I said, I am a cynic. I was not at all surprised by the horrors of January 6, though I was and am shocked and revolted. And nothing is surprising me more than Trump actually leaving the White House on his own two feet. I’ve been so terrified the past four years. Today, I find that I dare to be happy and hopeful in spite of all. With the country deep in crisis, we have someone coming in with plans, and values, and experience, and a highly competent team, and I hope we can resume what was so rudely and harmfully abandoned in 1968 when that bastard Nixon was elected. If I’m rambling towards any point at all, it’s this: NO PARDON. And NO “HEALING” AT THE EXPENSE OF JUSTICE.