The way it rolls these days, people who disagree with you regarding politics, social issues, the law, even what kind of pizza you prefer — thin or thick crust — are evil.
Ogres. Villains. Sick and depraved. In need of immediate psychiatric help. Dangerous.
If you’re not taking an intransigent side, if you’re not treating every conceivable issue as yet another harbinger of the Death of Western Society or the End of All Life on the Planet, why, you’re just burying your head in the sand. You’re a slacker. For pity’s sake, you’re the reason why this whole earthly house of cards is the merest jostle away from tumbling into history’s shitcan.
Americans are now so locked into this fetishistically binary perspective that even those who agree on 95-99 percent of things can turn on each other like rabid dogs when they quibble over details or one expresses a view that’s .05 of a degree off from another’s.
Make no mistake: There are indeed villains, those whose views aren’t simply troubling or misguided, whose gathering power should be resisted, perhaps even by force. Racists. Women haters. Homophobes. Nativists and supremacists. Fascists. Idolators of tyrants and demagogues. Even climate change deniers. These are people who present a danger to the health and lives of either a significant slice of humanity or the whole bunch of us at once.
But, as I say, the way we roll today is everybody who disagrees with us is an immediate or long-term danger to our health and lives. Those damned dangerous thin-crust lovers!
Part and parcel of this is the conceit that we can spot the ogres, the villains, the sick, and depraved merely by looking at them. The lunkheads who cruise down Main Street in their jacked-up pickups, enormous Confederate flags flapping in the wind, their diesel smokestacks belching thick black smoke. Or the NPR listeners with their rainbow bumper stickers and Black Lives Matter lawn signs.
Everything’s a symbol now. Take, for instance, an ad that’s been aired in the past by by Georgia congressbeing Marjorie Taylor Green (Note: You only need to watch the first 30 seconds of this clip, otherwise you’re gonna want to stick your head in a gas oven):
Did you notice the car that MTG blew up was a Prius? That’s all she needed to convey. The hybrid Toyota can only be owned and driven by a godless, commie, socialist, cross-dressing, homosexuality-grooming, Moslem-coddling pantywaist. Merely by showing that car, she ID’d every anti-American evil-doer and all the shibboleths associated with such a miscreant. Simple. Effective.
Yes, Marjorie Taylor Green is indeed one of those people whose burgeoning power, whose very ideas, should be resisted vigorously. She and her cohorts in the Senate and the House — Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and so on, ad nauseam — are, truth be told, ogres and villains and largely sick and depraved. The Republican Party has to answer for all the racists, the anti-intellectuals, the gun fondlers, the hate spewers, the science and reality deniers it has attracted over the last half century. So much so that these stuck-in-adolescence chest-thumpers essentially run the party now.
But not every Republican is a pan troglodyte whose emotional and intellectual maturity was stifled before she or he got out of short pants. And that’s the baffling thing. What if the ogre, the villain, is a nice, otherwise decent human being?
An example. A woman — let’s call her Gladys — came into the bookstore the other day. She wanted me to order a book called The Plot Against the King. I’d never heard of it. The biggest wholesale book distributor in the country didn’t carry it. So, I told her I had to research it.
Gladys smiled and thanked me. I’d seen her in the store before. She’s always been perfectly pleasant. Mannerly and respectful, complimentary and appreciative. The kind of customer who makes it a pleasure to be in the service industry.
My google search didn’t turn up any good results. I typed the title into the Amazon search field and, lo and behold, it came up. It was a children’s book. Here’s the cover:
See the character portrayed in the middle? Gee, he looks familiar.
Turns out the King is none other than one Donald J. Trump! And the Plot is a nefarious conspiracy instigated by Hillary Queenton, in which she employs the ruthless FBI, led by the evil Komey, to bring him down.
Natch, the two named antagonists are clumsy plays on the real life Hillary Clinton, no introduction necessary, and James B. Comey, the FBI chief at the time of the 2016 election who, ironically enough, released a report on candidate Clinton’s use of a personal email server while she was Secretary of State. That report, you may recall, revealed just days before the election, is often credited with turning the vote against her. Think, “What about her emails?” and “Lock her up!”
The book basically posits that Trump was a regal, benevolent leader who was nearly brought down by people who not only hated him but hated America as well. It’s got a happy ending in that the Plot didn’t succeed, try as all those Trump- and America-haters might. The book’s author, someone named Kash Patel, is positioned as a valiant, tireless digger-of-the-truth.
Here are a few reader reviews on Amazon:
- This is the most spectacular children’s book ever!
- Thank you, Mr Patel! By writing this book, you’ve given us an important opportunity to warn our kids and grandkids about the lengths to which bad actors will go to further their nefarious ends.
- A must-read for kids.
- Kash tells the story of the evil witch of Arkansas and how she tried to take down the King of and for the people.
Frankly, I don’t know if these are authentic commenters or ringers put up to it by Patel and his heretofore unheard of publisher. Nevertheless, I find it wild that people want to convey to children that Trump was a king. One commenter said it was the best way to make kids understand who Trump was. Apparently, simply referring to him as the president is too tough for kids.
One reader commented on a book review site:
- I wish we really had a king.
What am I to think or do here? Gladys doesn’t wave the Confederate flag. Slight and aging, she’d be unlikely to drive a pickup with a diesel smokestack. She may not even own a powerful rifle like Marjorie Taylor Green.
Life can be so confusing sometimes.