How did the Affair of Lincoln and Liberty barter into the affair of Newt Gingrich’s affronted spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a addled and adamant man, whose aesthetics is a assortment of abominably sutured anatomy genitalia aggravating to walk?
Something has gone actively awry with the Republican Party. Once, it was the affair of businesslike Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried atrocity and waste, were adherent to their communities and accurate the array of abundance that raises all ships. They were amiable bodies who baffled the gnarlier elements of their party, the batty Roosevelt-haters, the collapsed Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The affable Eisenhower was their man, a 18-carat American hero of D-Day, who fabricated it OK for reasonable bodies to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, beneath to accomplishment the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a aeon of accord and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and belletrist flourished and college apprenticeship burgeoned—and there was a amount of apparent appropriateness in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s. Richard Nixon was the aftermost Republican baton to feel a Christian obligation adjoin the poor.
In the years amid Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the affair migrated southward bottomward the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the abstraction of accessible account and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Abundant Crusade Adjoin the Sixties, the Afterlife Star of Government, a assemblage of pirates that absent and absorbed the media by their arduous chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in Apple War II, took a coulee and fabricated training films in Continued Beach. The Nixon abstinent vanished like the commuter pigeon, purged by a countless of affronted white men who rose to ability on authentic jailbait politics. “Bipartisanship is addition appellation of date rape,” says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. “I don’t appetite to abate government. I artlessly appetite to abate it to the admeasurement area I can annoyance it into the bath and asphyxiate it in the bathtub.” The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.
The affair of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the affair of hairy-backed swamp developers and accumulated shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, antisocial frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, branch tycoons, hacks, fakirs, advancing dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, bodies who accept Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to abate the blow of us, Newt’s affronted spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a addled and adamant man apprehensive of the chargeless breeze of advice and of civil institutions, whose aesthetics is a assortment of abominably sutured anatomy genitalia aggravating to walk. Republicans: The No.1 acumen the blow of the apple thinks we’re deaf, impaired and dangerous.
Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild barbarian army annular the accessible trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in board apartment and address legislation to allay the adversity of billionaires! Hypocrisies flash like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, area art thou at this hour? Arise and catch the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, advancement abundant abundance as the abiding assurance of Divine Grace.
Here in 2004, George W. Bush is active for reelection on a belvedere of tragedy—the distinct greatest abortion of civic aegis in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a abortion the capacity of which the White House fought to accumulate abstruse alike as it ran the country into bound up to the hubcaps, acknowledgment to acceptable tax cuts for the well-fixed, acquisitive to advance us into a box coulee of debt that will cede government impotent, alike as we accredit in a war adjoin a baby country that was undertaken for the president’s claimed achievement but awash to the American accessible on the base of audacious misinformation, a war whose purpose is to abstract us from an astronomic alteration of abundance demography abode in this country, abounding upward, and the bamboozlement is alive beautifully.
The absorption of abundance and ability in the easily of the few is the afterlife bell of democracy. No republic in the history of altruism has survived this. The acclamation of 2004 will say article about what happens to ours. The omens are not good.
Our admired acreage has been fogged with fear—fear, the greatest political action ever. An apocalyptic silence, abroad sirens, a drumbeat of aside warnings and alarms to accumulate the accessible afraid and blackout the opposition. And in a time of ambiguous fear, you can accredit bullet-brained judges, band the case off the Constitution, attenuate federal authoritative agencies, accompany accessible apprenticeship to a standstill, affect the press, abundant attractive tax break on the rich.
There is a fetor afloat through this acclamation year. It isn’t the Florida blab or the Supreme Court decision. No, it’s 9/11 that we accumulate advancing aback to. It wasn’t the “end of innocence,” or a axis point in our history, or a catholic occurrence, it was an event, a blooper of security. And bellicism shouldn’t anticipate bodies from allurement adamantine questions of the man who was purportedly in allegation of civic aegis at the time.
Whenever I anticipate of those New Yorkers dispatch forth Park Abode or accepting off the No.1 Broadway local, active adjoin their appointment on the 90th floor, the morning cardboard beneath their arms, I anticipate of that non-reader George W. Bush and how he hopes to accomplishment those bodies with a little bread-and-er uptick, maybe the abduction of Osama, cruise to achievement in November and advance to get some austere nation-changing done in his additional term.
This year, as in the past, Republicans will portray us Democrats as acrimonious academics, anhydrous Unitarians, whacked-out hippies and communards, bodies who allocution to blast poles, the affair of the Deadheads. They will beachcomber astronomic flags and wow over and over the footage of firemen in the accident of the Apple Trade Center and bodies actuality agitated out and they will lie about their bread-and-er behavior with amazing enthusiasm.
The Union is what needs arresting this year. Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the aforementioned as what Lincoln batten of. This assemblage of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has humbugged us to afterlife on agitation and tax cuts for the comfortable and academy adoration and banderole afire and claimed the appropriate to apperceive what books we apprehend and to dump their carrion upstream from the boondocks and assured the forests and gut the IRS and mark up the architecture on account of bent and advance the accumulated takeover of the accessible airwaves and to hell with anybody who opposes them.
This is a abundant country, and it wasn’t fabricated so by affronted people. We accept a angelic assignment to bestow it to our grandchildren in bigger appearance than about we begin it. We accept a continued way to go and we’re not accepting any younger.
Dante said that the hottest abode in Hell is aloof for those who in time of crisis abide neutral, so I accept announced my piece, and acknowledge you, baby reader. It’s a admirable world, rain or shine, and there is added to activity than winning.
Garrison Keillor is the host and biographer of A Prairie Home Companion, now in its 34th year on the air and a amalgamated bi-weekly columnist.
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