GORE VIDAL: Laughing Cassandra

"Left to my own devices, I spent a bemused hour observing the Senate and the House of Representatives. The two chambers have recently been renovated, and the old red hangings and tobacco-stained rugs have been replaced by a delicate grey decor with hints here and there of imperial gilt ... Those few who had come to observe the democratic process seemed mostly to be simple country people who behaved—quite rightly—as if they were at the circus; they chewed tobacco, shelled peanuts, ate popped corn, a newly contrived delicacy with the consistency and,...

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