“That’s what they’re saying about me now? That I’m paranoid?”
About a year ago I watched a documentary on Watergate with my friends Megan and Mike, in which several of the key players in that scandal spoke candidly about the mentality in the White House that led to the break-in. Essentially, they believed that the fate of the earth hung in the balance--that, absurd as it now sounds, if McGovern were to win the election he would hand the planet over to the Communists. Given this assumption, they believed that absolutely any means were justified to ensure that Nixon won the election. Hence the burglary and the bugging, even though the polls showed that Nixon would win in a landslide. They could not take any chances. If this is how Nixon’s men felt during the Cold War, I’m certain that the Bush/Cheney regime, besieged by Terror, is even more convinced of their cause. Nixon had his Issues, but he was ultimately a pragmatist, not a fanatic. Bush actually believes himself to be divinely appointed, an instrument of God (although He, God, apparently had access to the same faulty intelligence on Iraq as the C.I.A.). Believe me: they are not going to let something like the voters stand in their way of another four years in power. One way or another, Bush is going to get himself re-installed in office this November, even if it means a constitutional crisis or a ring of tanks around the White House--a contingency that some thinkers are already preparing for (see this fairly horrifying column by a former C.I.A. analyst http://www.counterpunch.org/mcgovern06022004.html). A government functionary has already floated the idea of postponing elections in the event of a terrorist attack, which was one of the nightmarish scenarios envisioned in my cartoon “When Will You Flee the Country?” And it was just a few days ago that Colin Powell predicted that Osama bin Laden would be captured within the next month or two. Although I would love few things more than to see that fucker on display in a cage in Times Square (bin Laden, not Powell), I have to admit I would be suspicious if he turned up just in time for the election. It’s getting harder and harder to distinguish between crackpot conspiracy theories and the news. As of this writing, however, it looks increasingly likely, hard as it is to accept, that Bush may be able to win it the old-fashioned way: through shameless lies and the cowardice and gullibility of the American electorate.
The dialogue in panel 1 is, of course, lifted verbatim from 2001: A Space Odyssey. “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore,” is my favorite line in that movie, and I wish I got to use it in real life half as often as it’s called for. H.A.L. may be insane, but he has unimpeachable manners.
That is, of course, me being assassinated in
the last panel.