If Only There Were a Statue of Nixon

Print More

Michael Davidow

By MICHAEL DAVIDOW, Radio Free New Hampshire

We have been through so much lately. Time to check in with our friend Chloe Schlagobers, political correspondent for the New York [Bleep].

Moi-Meme: Hi, Chloe.

Chloe Schlagobers: Squirtle!

MM: How have you been? Things got pretty rough in New York City. You must have gone crazy, cooped up in your apartment.

CS: Yes, things got crazy. [goofy face]

MM: What do you have, a studio in Williamsburg? I’ve seen the pictures on your Instaweeb account. Cute kitchen. Viking appliances?

CS: Actually, I left in February to stay at this house that my parents own in the Hamptons. It’s barely four bedrooms and a three-car garage, and the maid gets Tuesdays off.

MM: My. It must have been lonely out there, all by yourself.

CS: Actually, all my friends from Brooklyn did the same thing.  It’s been a blast!

MM: I am so glad that Covid-19 worked out for you. Anyway. I see that your newspaper has been very supportive of this new protest movement. Many news articles, a great deal of portraiture, what seems like a revamping of your arts and leisure sections. You even fired one of your editors for printing an op-ed column by a conservative United States senator, presenting an opposite view.

CS: Yes, I am very proud of the New [Bleeping] Times. We support change!

MM: That’s funny. I remember in 2016, your paper hired a correspondent to travel with Clinton, very early on. You bragged about it when you did so, saying that Clinton’s campaign was so historic, that you wanted to catalog it completely. You then did everything you could to disparage Bernie Sanders. You compared him, over and over, to Donald Trump. And all this time, you proudly championed Clinton herself not as the agent of change, but as the guardian of the status quo.

CS: Because the status quo was great! We had a president who was African American, and he was supposed to be replaced by a woman! [heart emoji]

MM: But meanwhile the rich were getting richer, everyone else was getting poorer, the country itself was increasingly divided, physically, socially, and emotionally, and giant structural problems of health, education, infrastructure, and the environment were all stuck in place. You were fine with all of that.

CS: Squirtle, we can’t fix those things. We can, however, force people to love one another. Didn’t the sixties teach you anything?

MM: Chloe, back in the sixties, there was a sense that wealthy liberals could afford to back school integration because they themselves weren’t affected by it. It was easy virtue. Their kids all went to private school, no matter what. Their own culture was never at risk. Is this any different?

CS: It is! Because now we believe that more kids of color should go to private school too.

MM: And the ones who are displaced, Chloe. Do they have homes in the Hamptons, or might they themselves be struggling too?

CS: What’s fair is fair, Squirtle. And what’s fair is that people be given things that don’t really cost money or require real political effort to achieve. Like recognizing how terrible their lives are, and since we are the ones who made them terrible, we will now make them less terrible, by handing them things that are not only free, but also impossible. Like love. [frowny face]

MM: What do you think of the monuments coming down, Chloe? Protesters have recently defaced Winston Churchill, and Ulysses Grant, and Thomas Jefferson.

CS: Those people were all terrible racists. I don’t see why our children should be told to admire terrible racists. They should be told to admire people like Malcolm X instead.

MM: Yet the world is a much better place because those people existed. And they all fought against a great deal of resistance to make the world better. So that seems like easy virtue, too.

CS: This is hurting my head, Squirtle. Can’t we at least agree that Donald Trump’s Attorney General is a threat to the rule of law, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Dick Nixon’s day?

MM: Poor Dick Nixon. He did so many good things, but he acted as president as his predecessors had, and the world had changed, and he had missed the boat. So, they punished him, and they were cruel about it. I often wonder if that was right. Had we treated him differently, maybe the Democrats would not act so holy today, and maybe the Republicans would not be so perverse. Do you know something, Chloe?

CS: What?

MM: If there were a statue of Nixon somewhere, I would like to visit it, and sit with him for a while. He gives me a lot to think about. Goodbye, Chloe!

CS: Ciao, Squirtle! [tongue-sticking-out face]

Michael Davidow is a lawyer in Nashua.  He is the author of Gate City, Split Thirty, and The Rocketdyne Commission, three novels about politics and advertising which, taken together, form The Henry Bell Project.  His most recent one is The Book of Order. They are available on Amazon.

Views expressed in columns and opinion pieces belong to the author and do not reflect those of InDepthNH.org.

Comments are closed.