Gore Vidal on the Inauguration Speech

We are shameful when we go abroad, because we know nothing. Just to watch the destruction of the archaeologists’ work at Babylon. Babylon is a center of our culture. Nobody knows that. Nobody knows what it is, except it’s a wicked city that the lord destroyed. Well, it was the center of our civilization, the center of mathematics, of writing, of everything. And apparently our troops were allowed to go in and smash everything to bits. Why did they do it? Was it because they are mean bad boys and girls? No. They’re totally uneducated.

[W]e started a country with half of the country quite prosperous because of black slaves, African slaves, who were not in the least happy about being slaves, but they had been captured, brought over here and sold back and forth around the country. So, I don’t see how the founding fathers could have committed us to the principle that ‘no man should be a slave, and every man should be a master,’ or whatever the silly-Billy said. Well, this is a country based on slavery, is also based upon the dispossession of what we miscall the Indians… So, we were not dedicated to any of these principles. We were dedicated to making as much money and stealing as much land as we could and building up a republic, not a democracy.

I notice all the help that we gave Mandela before he himself extricated his people from the white rule of the Boers and the English in South Africa. We went to great lengths to see that he was silenced, that he was not helped at any time…. Is that how we stood up for other countries trying to liberate themselves? We’ve never done that. We went into the first two world wars for self-aggrandizement. We did very well out of it…. Sometimes we assassinate the president, sometimes we overthrow him. Sometimes — all the time, eventually, we establish a military dictatorship. We’ve been doing that for 200 years. But, for a people that knows no history, does not want to know history, with a corrupt media that will not tell you the truth about anything going on in the world, what else could we have, but a dumb, cheerleader president?

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