I have always liked watching politics, but it has only been in recent years that I really have picked a side. I have been a fence sitter for years, splitting my vote across parties as I saw fit. but that changed after George Bush. During his campaign, in the early phases, I actually thought he looked like a good option for President. He gave a really good, middle of the road, message that, at the time fit my beliefs. I was of the opinion that you should always pick each candidate based on their personal words and deeds, not their party affiliation. I felt that parties were largely archaic, as everyone in government had the best interests of the country at heart, and they really only differed in methods.
This was not the first time in my life that I learned how truly naive I am. The party controls the procedures. whether it is what bille are presented, how amendments are accepted, or whatever (see Worst Congress Ever ) if you have an abusive majority, there is no minority.
I watched Bush, with is attacks on John McCain turn into the petty child, becoming our child president. I saw formerly balanced friends relish their win, and the Supreme court decision with petty vindictiveness, that those of us with grievances were simply sore losers, and that we should remain silent and watch as a better America unfolded from their ill gotten gains.
(ed. note: the damn fruit flies in my house keep landing in my wine. I have spit two out and fished out three more. bastards)
And I actually expected that to happen, but as they say, power corrupts, and we saw the fool waterheads in this new congress run away with power and began the rape of our country. 9/11 wrote a blank check to this bent power structure, and the real damage began. Patriot act, Iraq, tax cuts paid for by increased spending. Everything.
For me, that was the end of the beginning.
Around this time, a good friend of mine was married in Las Vegas, and my wife, child, and I attended. Foolishly, we had non-rev tickets (basically, free tickets, meaning you can get bumped.) and my friend got married in March. During march madness. after the wedding, no flights were available. We were trapped in Las Vegas. If you are single, this is a dream, if you are married with a young child, this is a nightmare. we literally could not get out of town. The next flight was several days out.
This was my first experience with The Fear.
I did not know much of Hunter S. Thompson at the time. I did not know his writing, I know Uncle Duke from Doonesbury, and the movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". I did not know what I felt. but I felt it, and I knew it was different. We ended up driving out of Las vegas in three rented cars, changing at airports in San Francisco and Portland. We are now sure that we remain on several terrorist watch lists from this car switching.
Shortly thereafter, I would read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and start my personal relationship with Hunter S. Thompson’s writing.
I began to collect his books, and read his weekly column on ESPN after this, which was a not quite equal mix of politics and sports, (Read Hey Rube) and as we ran up to the 2004 election, I began to read Fear and Loathing: Campaign Trail ’72, his book on Nixon and McGovern. Then, I found that we frequently wrote columns on the current election, with the same title, with just the year changed. The last one he wrote was on Rolling Stone.
I read that, and, like Hunter, was shattered by the results. I didn’t know then the extent of the voter fraud, but no one did. I was depressed. And again, I experienced The Fear.
Shortly thereafter, Hunter killed himself.
I always felt that watching our country turn away from common sense had an impact on his mental state, and contributed to his decision to kill himself. Possible not, but how can you really tell?
Nevertheless. since 2004 we have watched a rapid acceleration of the removal of our liberties, escalation in Iraq, and the general loss of sanity in this nation. Habeus Corpus is dying. As is our military in Iraq. Our Grandchildren’s money is already spent on the debt.
But as the 2006 election has approached we have seen the implosion of all these fool criminals in the Republican party, and with it, the light of hope.
(ed note: out of wine now. I have no Wild Turkey, but am now drinking burbon.)
Now, as I watch the results of these races come in, I feel, for the first time in a long time, good. Those of us who play Risk know the disadvantage of overreaching, and this is the classic example. When you overrreach in Risk, the other side simply waits for you to run out of armies to advance, then follows your trail of weak armies all the way back. We are watching that happen now to those waterheads on the right side of the aisle. And it is well deserved.
It only takes a majority of one in the American system of government to basically have complete control over a branch of government. And it is really up to the ethics of those in the majority to allow fair representaion for those in the minority. I hope we will see that.
This year, we get to see a change in government. We get to see a change in the awareness on the American voter. We get to see the the emasculation of our child president.
We will not see an article from our friend Hunter on Fear and Loathing: Campaign Trail 2006.
I titled mine that way so that at least in some way that chain wouldn’t be broken. I hope others did the same.
I also hope that somewhere, Hunter is watching all this. Watching CNN in Hell, as he torments Richard Nixon, and smiles. He deserves that.
Mahalo, Hunter. Mahalo for your writings. Mahalo for your understanding. Mahalo for your voice.
Sorry you missed the party. No Fear today.