It’s President’s Day. Liberals ask themselves if their favorite politicians are as great as FDR (despite the tyrannical, racist FDR doing things like putting a young George Takei in a prison camp along with over 100,000 innocents – a move that makes the 171 remaining Gitmo prisoners seized on the battlefield seem like a minor issue in comparison, so spare me your Bush-is-evil, FDR-was-great hypocrisy). Conservatives ask themselves if their favorite politicians are as great as Reagan (though even Reagan, for all his good points, did not actually succeed in making government smaller).
But if we want to aim a bit higher – if we want our next president to be someone like Washington who is plainly more freedom-loving than power-seeking – we have to vote for Ron Paul. Or you have to tell me, whether you style yourself a Democrat or a Republican, how you first became a socialist.
Want to see Thomas Jefferson and his Founder pals using flying machines that never existed – and weapons based on real eighteenth-century semi-science – to battle such menaces as Hessian werewolves (and New Orleans zombies, just in time for Mardi Gras)? Check out Paul Taylor’s “teapunk” e-novella The Burr Conspiracies for next to nothing on Amazon.
One of many benefits to attending a Phillips Foundation Fellows event on Friday was that I got a copy of a swell Regnery Books volume about TR called Bully! – a title I consider fitting in more ways than one, since TR was a profoundly evil man bent on violence and racist conquest, not to mention co-founder, really (along with Woodrow Wilson), of the centralizing, authoritarian, corporatist impulse called Progressivism that remains the primary source ofour woes, especially in the past five years. That he is an inspiration to today’s petty authoritarians such as David Brooks only makes the past century of American history that much more tragic.
But there are fantastic cartoons in the book! Author Rick Marschall treats them with the respect they deserve as historical texts, something geeks who love both politics and cartoons (like me and the aforementioned Paul Taylor) can appreciate. Check it out and get Nast-y. Ha!
Friday, by the way, also took me to Williamsburg (which I always regard as research now, as I prepare the impending Williamsburg bar events) to see the band Blonde Valhalla, who sound from the name as if they should be almost as fascistic/eugenic as TR himself but were in fact very pleasant in the synth-and-hipness way for which Williamsburg has become known (my thanks to fellow Fellow Maura O’Connor for the suggestion). Things took a bit more of a TR turn, though, when some bearded drunk guy at the bar started accusing me of elbowing him and sounded about ready for a fight.
I would never deliberately harm anyone, not even a bearded drunk guy (and I’ve known one or two), but he might well have been frightened off if he’d known he was talking to a man who was carrying not one but two copies of Bully! at the time.
You keep thinking society is putting racism behind it, and then you see something like that new McDonald’s ad that has nothing but East Asians in it, for no good reason other than that McDonald’s always seems to handle ethnic diversity by putting all the non-whites in one ad each year (as if they reached the end of the business year and then realized “We forgot to put black people in the ads again this year! Throw something together we can air in Detroit!”). It beats internment camps, but as a society, we still have some work to do in the subtlety department.
Lionizing the (also authoritarian) Abe Lincoln might, in its roundabout way, help to combat racism, but the upcoming film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sure doesn’t look like it’s going to help in the subtlety department. I’ve still got a dozen geek movies to see this year, so I’m skipping this one.
Clearly, I should have done that movie about TR’s real-life friendship with Bram Stoker when I first had the idea. Call me, Hollywood. (It’s got secret societies and everything – history is nuts.)