Rolling Stone came out with their endorsement of John Kerry this week, but for my reading pleasure the real treat was a Hunter S. Thompson article offering his take on the Bush Administration.
The article was classic gonzo Journalism; Thompson at his absolute best. It generally takes a brazenly criminal Republican government to bring out his ire that way. Going so far as to say that he would vote for richard Nixon if offered up as an opponent to Bush-Cheney, the good Doctor's summation of the election next week was "not whether President Bush is acting more and more like the head of a fascist government but whether the American people want it that way." Knowing what we do about the across-the-board failure of the first Bush term, I'm surprised that the pollsters are even calling the election a tossup. It certainly does make one wonder whether the American people want some form of fascism in their lives.
Personally I was steadily losing faith in my fellow Americans- and the Kerry campaign- until his undeniable bitch-slapping of the President in the first debate. The Steve Earle concert at the Vic last week brought back the fight and gave me hope that this Bush is rebuked in the polls next week. The stakes truly are too high this time around to sit on the sidelines, to "vote your conscience" and choose third party next week. Progressives I talk to love to complain about the lack of a third party. I sincerely believe that if George Bush gets another term we're going to have a hard time finding a second political party.
One of the wonders of the Kerry campaign is that, quietly, he's made it okay to use the word "liberal" again without wincing. With the Bush team making it very hard for anyone who isn't a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical to support them and Bill Clinton proving that democrats can be fiscally conservative and still reach out to the poor, the minority, and the progressive in this country, we're gonna have a say in how the next four years turn out.
My commanding officer on the Uss Anzio years ago used to use this quote from the New York Times to begin his award ceremonies: "Somewhere beyond the cortex is a single thought whose mere whisper can silence an army of arguments. It stands alone in final judgement as to whether we have demanded enough of ourselves and- by that example- have inspired the best in those around us." It's a fitting quote for this political climate: liberals going out and quietly registering voters while fundamentalist Christian conservatives scream their throats raw saying that dissenting opinion of George Bush is unpatriotic.
We have a week to demand the best of ourselves and to inspire those around us. I pray that it's enough.