At what point could a work of cinematic fiction present the reality of a man perhaps better than would be found in the public's memory?
When Richard Nixon came back for his political sequel in 1968, the violence in America was at its zenith. The sequential deaths of Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, as well as the attempt on George Wallace (who had begun his campaign to run as an independent candidate for the Presidency), are presented in this film as stepping stones to a Nixonian renaissance. The two
years of racial disturbances throughout the land, the rising anti-war movement and the abdication of Lyndon B. Johnson all made the Nixon presidency possible.
Inside the soul of this film, however, and in a poignant moment, Nixon finds himself at the Lincoln Memorial, surrounded by two dozen of the young protesters that had taken camp at the base of the monument. Sadly, Nixon appears to 'find common ground' by discussing the Syracuse Orangeman with students who proclaim their willingness to die for their cause. The climactic line (paraphrased) came from the mouth of a 19 year-old woman, who discerned “You describe 'it' almost as if it were a wild animal... you can't stop this beast.”
She was describing what Eisenhower earlier had considered 'the military-industrial complex' (MIC), and Nixon's reply effectively was: “But I can try and harness it – try and make some good come out of it.”
Tie this to present day life in America – Nixon is the source of political motivation for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the beast of which Nixon spoke had as architects the virulent anti-Communist wing of the Republican Party, as well as Papa Bush and Reagan. Granted that the war in Southeast Asia escalated greatly under Johnson (mindful that Eisenhower created the Viet Cong in 1953 or 1954), his abdication created the means for the BEAST to regain control of America's destiny.
The MIC-beast is a product of American ingenuity: it is not something of which one should be proud. Billions of lost dollars produced weapons that destroy, not protect. Sales to hideous dictators spread Nixon's disease: an overwhelming desire to control, to retain power and to destroy 'enemies', which often only are the free press and citizens of a differing political viewpoint.
How does any of this relate to the current Administration? Let us consider how a super-inflated defense budget has produced the greatest level of insecurity within (and without) America; the War on Terror (ZENmud: the 'War FOR Terror') has driven Americans into an incoherent xenophobia, amplified by the daily-drumbeats of the MSM.
The future? Taken in this context, the spiral is downward and gaining force; the inertia is ever-stronger; the opposing-force necessary to reverse the cycle is not yet strong enough to succeed: the prognosis for this patient is dire.
Can the MIC-BEAST be vanquished? It almost was in the Nineties, when the combination of a Democratic President, an opposing Congress and the phenomenal growth of the info-tech and internet era created the nexus for budget surpluses and repayment of our huge national debt. In those years, when Republicans scoffed at 'nation-building' (preferring 'nation-bullying'?), the seeds were sown for the vengeance of an outcast Presidency, of the first 'American Defeat' (Vietnam), as well as the overwhelming (in their neoconservative eyes) need to secure American vitality through secured access to petroleum fields that would replace America's own depleted reserves.
Thus watching NIXON offers a taste of the future, which we now experience as being transparently, overly distasteful.