My neighbor Steve has a bumper sticker that says “I miss Nixon”. It makes me very uncomfortable.
I grew up in the Watergate era. I remember a straw vote held in 4th grade where my entire class re-elected Tricky Dick, with a lone vote–mine, of course–going for McGovern. It was an eery harbinger of things to come. I remember my parents’ palpable sense that the nation had let us all down.
I learned that feeling all over again when my first presidential vote in ’88 went the same way. And most especially I remember it from the aftermath of the 2000 and 2004 elections.
My car still stubbornly sports its “Defend America–Defeat Bush” sticker on the back. A message so threatening that some guy insisted on pulling up alongside me on the 134 Freeway last Friday in rush-hour traffic to wave a card at me (I figured it was a millitary ID card, the guy had a quasi-Marine hairdo) and shout that my sticker “sucked”. And I thought that it did indeed suck, but that it didn’t make it less true now than it was three years ago.
This morning, Robert J. Elisberg is blogging on the HuffingtonPost about the plan to rehabilitate Nixon. And I’m thinking about Steve’s bumper sticker, and I’m worried that it may be sending out the messasge that it really is okay to miss Nixon. Don’t get me wrong, I know that Steve means it ironically, but most people wouldn’t know that. After all, he chose to slap the sticker on the bumper of his nice, big Beemer and not his other, more working-class car, and maybe that was part of the irony. I’ll have to ask him. But I can’t help wonder if it’s giving comfort to the closet Republican, who held his nose and voted for W when he or she knew it wasn’t right.
Maybe I need my own sticker, the one that says, “Hey Bush-voter, If you’re rich enough now, how about helping us stop the ever-accellerating plunge into the abyss by getting the needle somewhere back to the middle on the whole government thing?” It’s a bit too long, I know, and unlikely to win many hearts and minds, but if I saw it on the back of some Prius, you can bet I’d pull up alongside, flash my ACLU membership card and shout, “Your sticker Rocks.”