Longtime Critic of U.S. Empire, Iconoclastic Writer Gore Vidal Dies at 86
The author, playwright and activist Gore Vidal has died at the age of 86. A national icon who authored more than 20 novels and five plays, Vidal was one of the best known chroniclers of American history and politics. He dedicated his work to writing and critiquing the injustices of U.S. society. In a 2004 appearance on Democracy Now!, Vidal talked about the role of democracy in the United States, dating back to the Constitution.
GORE VIDAL: The word “democracy” is not only never mentioned in the Constitution of the United States, but democracy was something that the founding fathers hated. This is not generally known because it shouldn’t be known, but it is. I wrote a little book about it called, “Inventing A Nation,” that Yale published last year. Our founders feared two things. One was the rule of the people, which they thought would just be a mess. And they feared tyranny, which we had gone through King George III, and so they wanted a republic, a safe place for men — white men of property to do business in. This is not ideal, but it’s better than what we have. So, here we are bringing democracy to the poor Afghans, but only real democracy, of course, is in the prisons, which we have specialized in everywhere.
One interesting thing that came out of all of that mess was now the world knows how we treat Americans in American prisons. All of that behavior, the humiliation and violence and so on, that is typical of not so much — of federal prisons somewhat, but state prisons, municipal prisons, detention centers. This is the nation of torture, and those who disagree with me, you can write an angry letter at this very moment, if you can write at all. Sit down and write an angry letter to the Commander In Chief. Have him examine the prisons.