From the Editor’s Desk: Checkers Lives (Vol. 36, Issue 2)
Today is the day in which this country’s silent majority will rise above its lethargy long enough to pull a lever or mark a ballot. In doing so, they may change the course of the nation
I shudder to think what may happen. Many of this silent majority, stripped of the pseudo-sophistication that they cloak themselves in, are no more rational, no more deliberate, than they were thirty or forty years ago. For them the world is still made up only of the men in the white hats and the men in the black hats, the good and the bad, those who love it and those who should leave it.
Consider the Ohio grand jury investigation of the Kent State murders. That investigation, as everyone knows, exonerated the National Guard and laid all blame for the tragedy upon the students and faculty of Kent State. Now I don’t believe that the members of the grand jury, plain ordinary citizens that they are, were so predisposed to the National Guard that they simply overlooked the evidence of the Scranton Commission and the FBI, both of which at least partially implicated the Guard.
Rather, they were too naive, too unwilling to involve themselves intellectually, to consider a situation in which neither side was totally blameless or completely guilty. And if it had to be the good guys against the bad guys, then the choice was clear. Every red-blooded, middle-aged American knows that the men who wear those shiny silver badges are always right. So the grand jury arrested the president of the Kent State student body, a member of the Air Force ROTC and an advocate of non-violence, and implicated him in the killings.
The silent majority is led by Richard. Nixon and his loquacious lackey, Spiro Agnew. Now, these men are by no means naive or simple, but in order to turn Nixon into the greatest President who ever lived, they must convince the silent majority that they do not believe in intelligent thought. The President versus the Presidential Commission on Pornography is a case in point. The commission, after many months of research, decided that the dangers of pornography were greatly exaggerated and recommended that the laws be liberalized. Nixon swept the report aside, declaring, “We don’t want any smut in America.”
By what right can the President, so casually dismiss the careful deliberations of an apparently sincere and unbiased commission? It seems to be a case of “My mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with facts.”
And thus Richard Nixon has established himself in the hearts and minds of Middle America. His job now is to convince them to elect his supporters who will mindlessly follow the grand Nixonian design.
The President has carefully explained to his constituents that those Congressional candidates who fail to support him are all proponents of campus unrest, inflation and crime in the cities. For those too simple-minded to understand even this, Spiro Agnew has prepared a list of the bad boys, now referred to as radical-liberals.
The candidates themselves aid Nixon’s scheme with their own campaigns. They describe themselves in terms formerly reserved for detergents and cold remedies and ask the voter to decide. Where is the basis for an intelligent choice?
There may be little reason for hope, but maybe the voters will rouse themselves long enough to see through this attempt to railroad them into voting for Nixon's choices. Maybe enough of the silent majority will decide not to place control of the country entirely in the hands of one man. Maybe a majority of Americans will vote for a Congress that can think, debate and act on its own. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But this is the day that will tell.