Once Nixon’s Executioners, Now Hillary’s Apologists
Even now as yet another act of Euripidean tragedy gnaws again at her majesty’s clay feet, I can’t help but think of her generation and all the wild eyed idealists who cut their pointy milk-teeth tearing meat from the bones of one Richard M. Nixon.
They were all there, Hillary included, to mock the fallen king and with their equal doses of moral superiority and imperious youthful glee, they tore him from his throne and cast him into eternal outer darkness for a series of unforgivable private sins and public lies.
For besmirching public trust, for betraying the Office, for his maniacal paranoid abuse of power and influence. For being so besotted with power that the manner of obtaining and maintaining it no longer mattered.
And they were right.
More than than that, their anger was righteous and deserved. Defenders of the common good.
Or were they?
Four decades on, they are older, but none wiser. I see them leering now from the ranks of Hillary Clinton’s dauntless supporters and apologists, justifying the unjustifiable.
Defending the indefensible. Explaining the unexplainable.
So jaded and stultified in the political rictus of muck and decay that there is seemingly nothing any longer that can’t be rationalized or relegated to the catch-all file of political necessity and preservation of influence. Practicing their ancient demagogy. And preening themselves with the repeated mantra of the righteousness of their cause. Swaddling themselves in the filthy rags of establishment might and entitlement.
And still, I can’t help but see their fresh idealistic faces, now trapped behind those hardened masks of pragmatism and compromised life. Faces harkening back to a time when questions about personal shame and moral decency rang ruefully in Congressional chambers.
A time long before Woodward and Bernstein joined the choir and began hauling water for the ruling class. A time when journalists spoke truth to power, regardless of party…. and gave voice and spine to the offended outcry of a decent nation.
I wonder not even a little what those wide-eyed youngsters would have say to the older versions of themselves, now that their hero and standard bearer has built a career on a series of scandals each making Watergate look like a clerical error on a Girl Scout cookie invoice. The words have already been spoken from their younger lips.
Have you no shame?
Have you no sense of moral decency?
Have you no regard for the sacred mantle of leadership?
Is there nothing she could do or lie about or cover up that would dissuade your fervor?
Anything at all?
We shall see.
We will all see what, if any, of that impassioned moral sensitivity might yet survive behind those aging eyes of the Watergate generation. What clarity of vision can still be ascribed to those who once felt such anointed duty to defend the common good.
And what, if anything, remains of the old republic, from a time long before politics became the team sport of the realm and the ends justified any means.