FROM THE PEW SHEET
I am not old enough to recall where I was when J.F.K. was shot, though I remember Robert Kennedy's assassination well enough, five years later. My parents were great oooers and ahhers as they listened—yes, listened—to the news, always the BBC World Service, each night. Robert Kennedy did not warrant as many oohs and ahhs as Winston Churchill did, three years earlier. He was 95, but the parental oohs and ahhs were those of someone for whom a dream had prematurely died. I remember only a hunched old man with a cigar.
The first US President of whom I was aware was Nixon. he struck me as phenomenally ugly and not very important. I was, mercifully, at boarding school by the time Watergate reverberated around the world, and was probably more concerned that my rubbery, flavourless porridge was cold, again. Apart from anything else I resented the USA: they had at some stage separated themselves from the glorious march of pink across the maps of the world, and though they allegedly spoke my language they did so abysmally. Nixon especially. His resignation speech sounded to me like a gorilla gargling. (Speaking of gorillas, I was always a little puzzled to hear on the news that gorillas were fighting in Angola, Vietnam and elsewhere. Prickly primates!)
To be honest I still have little understanding of US politics. I do have a strong preference for one candidate over the other, although I know, too, that no candidate, however much I admire him or her, will ever bring home the bacon of my justice-dreams. Nevertheless, like most people in the western world, I am trapped in a frenzy of media infotainment, and I like, after all, to hope. Every now and again, though, I ask myself how many starving children in the world might be fed if both candidates agreed to have sponsorship free, low budget, no advertising, no massive extravaganza campaigns. Just names and policies on a piece of paper or a recording for the illiterate, and put it out there for the people to decide. Was that a pig flying past?