My Post-Election Conversation With President Richard Nixon
By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
November 14, 2000
Governor Mel Carnahan is not the only dead man to win in this election.
I just saw Richard Nixon last night. His ghost slowly materialized onto my computer screen, a macabre but marvelous phantom. In my sorry state of perpetual non-slumber, I believe he spoke to me these words:
"Stay alert, Bonnie Beth. Don't fret. Don't let this get you down. It's not the end of the world. Not by a long shot."
"No, Mr. President. It's just the end of democracy as we know it. The whole world is laughing at us."
"Not yet. Mr. Gore will concede. People hate a sore loser. I did the right thing for our country forty years ago. I had every legal right to demand a recount and I didn't. The last thing Al Gore wants is to be upstaged by a dead Republican."
"I don't know, Mr. President. The dead seem to be doing pretty well these days."
"We just had a living Republican upstaged by a dead Democrat in Missouri. Some dead suffragette named Victoria Woodhull ran symbolically on a Michigan website..."
"She's been gone 73 years, that woman."
"...and in Palm Beach County we have imaginary ballots supplanting real ones. Dead people vote. Living people pay estate taxes. You're dead, and now you're stealing the show from a living Vice President. What's going on?"
"Since Clinton took office, the people have been inundated with illusion to the point where it all seems real. Oral sex is not sex. Lying under oath is not perjury. Sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom for campaign cash is not wrong. Bah! Once Democrats see us dead folks have the real power, they'll love it. There will be a demand for me back in the Oval Office! Sock it to me, baby! Nixon will rule!"
"But you're DEAD!"
"Not to worry, dear. I have more power than you think. Look, two weeks ago, would you ever have believed that my 1960 sacrifice would become the talk of the town? Piece of cake. They thought they could get me with Watergate, did they? These Democrats like Robert Wexler and Bill Daley are dirtier 'n hogs feet. The break in doesn't seem all that bad now, does it?"
"All us dead Presidents, we're the men! Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it...isn't that the saying? Mayor Richard Daley stole that election from me. Terrible crime. Now, his son's tryin' to pull the same stunt; all the folks are talking about it. Wait until the hand count - that's when they'll really get steamed at Gore. Imagine those poor poll workers trying to figure out when a vote is a vote. Their eyes will cross. They'll use me as a role model and make Gore give it up! George W. will prevail!"
"I hope so. We're certainly not setting a good example for young people, who must be watching this chaotic scene and thinking, "Why do they keep saying this is the greatest country in the world?"
"We are the greatest country. You know why I'm more powerful as a dead man? Because Democrats love dead things. Even dead policies. Especially the media. That's why George W. was constantly ridiculed for his tax plan, his Social Security and education reform plans. His policies breathe new life into the dead liberal programs of the past. Dems don't like that. It'll take a dead man like me to show 'em."
"Hmmm, your theory would explain our partial birth abortion ban and assisted suicide woes, wouldn't it?"
"As I said, them Democrats love dead things. Dead people, too. Unborn babies and the infirm are not exempt. The only exceptions are death row inmates."
"Why is that?"
"Democrats identify with murderers. They enjoy killing things. Take tax relief bills, for example. You see what I mean."
"Right. Mr. President, one week prior to the election, the New York Post published one of those dire, doom and gloom articles meant to fill up space, and outer space, too. Apparently, astronomers have spotted a huge asteroid that will reach the Earth's orbit in 2030 with incredible one in 500 odds of crashing into our planet, destroying us all. What do you make of it?"
"That wouldn't be such a bad idea. Perhaps God can start over again and invent a new human race with brains, and a new United States without Florida or Democrats. Or hand ballot counting. Then there'd be no need for dead men ruling."
Questions plagued me. Would President Nixon exert his power from beyond the grave? Will Gore concede? Will the nation recover from the wounds he's inflicting on our republic? Will Castro stop laughing? Will Hillary stop gloating? Will Palm Beach implode? Like the coming collision, the end can be seen and predicted with some certainty, but not yet felt, and the impact might not arrive until the asteroid (or the Democrats) decide our fate for us.
"Well, you are to be congratulated, sir. How do you plan to celebrate your newly-found status?"
"They're throwing me a bash. The works. Dwight and Mamie will be hosting the festivities. And always remember what Dwight said at his Inaugural Address."
"He said, 'History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.' Stay strong, Bonnie Beth."
"You're a true statesman, sir."
"Ah, it's nothing. Just wait. One hundred years from now, I'll be remembered in the history books as the man who, to preserve the peace, refused to tamper with stolen election ballot results. Watergate will be a vague memory. The name "Nixon" will be venerated. The history books will prove what I've always known! Awesome! I'm totally awesome!"
"But Mr. President, one hundred years from now, there may be no books, as most of our citizens probably won't know how to read!"
"You mean because of the rotten public school system."
"You got it, Mr. President."
"Damn those Democrats!"
President Nixon's face saddened a bit. Then he smiled mischievously, and winked.
"Unless of course, the asteroid has good aim and does us all a favor."
Copyright 2000 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.