Defender of Democracy -- In Memoriam: Gore Vidal (1925-2012)
August 1, 2012
With the passing of Gore Vidal, we should honor his memory by reading his most historically significant work: his introduction to U.S. Congressman John Conyers' report on the 2004 election entitled, "What Went Wrong in Ohio: The Conyers Report on the 2004 Election.'
While other liberal and progressive writers turned away from Bush's open theft of the 2004 election, Vidal was on record prior to election asserting that Bush would lose the election in terms of actual vote count. But, Vidal wrote, Bush would likely win the election through a creative propaganda campaign and election rigging. Vidal had been clear-eyed in what was happening in our country, telling the Times of London in September 2009 that "We'll have a dictatorship soon in the United States."
Vidal acted courageously in lending his name to that Congressional report that concluded, "With regards to our factual findings, in brief, we find that there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio."
Vidal took to the airways to denounce the Bush-Cheney theft of the 2004 election when other prominent activists were paralyzed with fear. In 2006, Vidal invited me to Los Angeles to participate with him in a live Pacifica radio network broadcast centered on the stealing of the 2004 election and death of democracy in the United States. Vidal, the most brilliant literary figure in the U.S., was quite humble and gracious, billing the event as "two of America's leading intellectuals" which I often joked about after the event.
Vidal repeated his analysis that there really was only one party in the U.S. - the property party - and it had to two wings, the Democrats and Republicans. At the time, I was currently running for governor of Ohio, endorsed by the Green Party.
Other works that we should re-read in honor of Vidal are The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000, which spells out the unmistakable imperial path of American foreign and domestic policy in the last part of the 20th century and the companion volumes that update this perspective in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Or How We Came to Be So Hated (2002), Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, and Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia.
Vidal's witty, lucid prose unblinkingly chronicled the course in decadence of the new Rome. I'm thankful I had a chance to work with him and I believe ultimately, despite the high regard his novels are held in, he will most remembered and honored for his essays and nonfiction writings during the Bush "junta."
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