Thursday, May 15, 2008


The gored republic

Today a friend sent me an excerpt from Amy Goodman's interview with Gore Vidal that was broadcast yesterday on "Democracy Now!" Aside from Vidal's fame as an author he is also Al Gore's cousin. I don't recall that anyone attempted to use this family connection against Al Gore during his campaign for the Presidency in 2000, but rest assured that Vidal is more outrageous than the Rev. Jeremiah Wright any day of the week.

I'd like to think that Vidal has been reading Simply Appalling, but the truth is that no one—least of all Gore Vidal—should really need my assistance to see the obvious.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you hold out hope right now? 

GORE VIDAL: Well, what hope? 

AMY GOODMAN: That’s what I’m asking, if you have any. 

GORE VIDAL: No, not much.

You know, Benjamin Franklin, after the Constitution of 1789 was ready to—was being voted on, actually, in Philadelphia, he was leaving the hall, and he had been warned—the people running the Constitutional Convention, they knew he was very sharp-tongued and he was not an admirer of their works. He thought they were naive. He thought they were missing the point. He had read Aristotle, who explains how every republic has gone crashing. And he was leaving the hall, and an old lady that he knew said, “Well, men, what are you giving us?” He said, “Well, we’re giving you a republic, if you can keep it.”

Well, there were three or four boys who had been assigned to follow him around and make sure he didn’t say anything embarrassing to the people. Well, he went right around saying exactly what he wanted to say. So the kids sort of cornered him on the way out to the street, and they said, “Why do you take such a dark view of the Constitution? It’s the best work of some of the best people in the United States. Why are you so skeptical?” And he said, “Well, Aristotle or indeed history tells us that every republic of this nature has failed because of the corruption of the people.” And he stepped off the stage. 

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think has to happen right now?

GORE VIDAL: It’s happened. We’re broke.

Do you follow television, as they find out we’re running out of food? That’s never happened in my lifetime. 

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there’s a way to fix this? 

GORE VIDAL: A crash will do it. But that’s pretty extreme.

Whatever works.

Related posts
Good news about the economy (3/31/08)
Why haven't the Democrats ended the wars? (5/12/08)


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