Breaking news out of Virginia - Judge Robert Bork has died at the Virginia Hospital Center, of cardiac complications. He was 85.
The Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork was the second Major Political Event I remember (the first was the shooting of Ronald Reagan, in '81. I was in Junior High). I was 21, in Navy training up in Great Lakes, when the nomination was taking place - and while I didn't get to see much of the proceedings (news coverage wasn't like it is now), I was able to glean some of the statements and concepts that were thrown about.
Until then, I'd thought of politics as some nebulous cloud of Dull. I was registered to vote (I listed my party affiliation as "American Meadow Party", from Bloom County), but wasn't politically active or politically attentive.
But some of Bork's statements, for the first time, made me see politics as something that had the potential to directly affect my life. For the first time, voting - if only in self-defense - seemed a necessary act. For the first time, I was aware of the Other Side - that concerted, political entity that believed and advocated things I thought were not only wrong, but potentially damaging.
Bork was, for a long time, a figurehead of that Other Side for me. Not quite a devil-figure, like Nixon was for Hunter S. Thompson, but definitely a boogeyman.
Today, his part of the struggle is done. RIP, Judge Bork