GAIL WOODS AFTERWORD Dead Democrat Board Game BY DICK REAVIS OBITUARIES for the Democratic Party, now commonplace in many publications, give one pause to think…. When told that Elvis Presley had fallen off of his Graceland commode, stiff, naked and dead, John Lennon is reported to have quipped, “Oh no, that’s not true. Elvis died when he went into the Army.” Thousands of Elvis’ musical admirers would agree with that statement, even if it seems to belittle the King. Of course, Elvis ain’t dead. Everybody knows that. He lives on in product lines wall clocks and ash trays and teddy bears that belch his tunesand at least one Elvis impersonator thinks he’s the King, returned to earth again. So, too, could it be with the Democratic Party. Brand names and die hard. If the Democratic Party is really dead, however, it’s time for a Lennonesque game, “When Did It Really Die?” For starters, I suggest the following landmarks, playing positions or pieces, though, of course, it’s best if every player builds a homemade set. 1944, the nomination of Harry Truman, the V-P who displaced Henry Wallace, honcho of the Democratic Left. 1945, the death of Franklin D. The New Deal’s founder refused to aid the French plan for re-conquering Vietnam. His demise left the party in the hands of Cold Warriors. 1963, the death of JFK. Mourners know why. 1964, militant civil rights advocates would pick this date, when the Democratic Convention seated the \(Jim 1965, the Gulf of Tonkin. The Great Society was doomed by the decision to stay in Vietnam. 1968, anti-war Democrats wind up facing felony charges because they demonstrated in the Party’s Chicago stronghold. The Party finds itself childless and infertile. 1968, the date picked by Sirhan Dick Recivis is a freelance writer who lives in Dallas. Sirhan’ s parole board and assorted shadowy Arab nationalists. 1985, the Democratic Leadership Council is formed. Attributing paternity, or even birth to a group like this isn’t non-controversial, but certainly it had much to do with hatching today’s despondency. 1993, the Party loses AFL-CIO support by spearheading NAFTA. 1994, the presently belated “death.” 1996, the number picked by those who don’t want to play this game. Higher numbers are reserved for believers in a collective afterlife. “When Did It Die?” was not invented by John Lennon, despite the attribution. The game was originated, in a much less joy ous and collegial mood, at least 70 years ago by the admirers of the Bolshevik regime, who’ve been playing it ,faithfully ever since. When did socialism die? With the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk? The suppression of the Kronstadt revolt? The issuance of the Stalin Constitution? The Moscow trial, the Hitler-Stalin pact? With Khrushchev’s rise \(the favorite about the Wall or Berlin? Playing the game doesn’t provide authoritative answers, as anybody but a Trotskyist can tell you. But it does drag up from nostalgia’s dark and teary depths a clearer definition of what the hell it was that we wish were still alive, anyway. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23
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