Friday, November 18, 2016

The Final Solution: The Empire Strikes Back

A lot of people who didn’t want Donald Trump to be elected have been made more uncomfortable about the results than they actually were about 9/11, if feelings about such atrocities are quantifiable. The New York Times Style section even ran a piece about the anodynes selected by sufferers in the wake of the cataclysmic events of November 8 ("Can Yoga Help Chase the Postelection Blues,NYT, 11/16/16). But what exactly is the source of the discomfort and how does it differ from the election of other Republicans that were not to the liking of Democratic or liberal leaning voters? If Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina had won would the anecdotal reporting of  depression have been so prevalent? Actually, the election of Donald Trump does bear some resemblance to 9/11 since it represents the power of a previously unforeseen juggernaut. Trump was obviously not the darling of either the Republican establishment or the Tea Party and there were virtually no polls or news services that predicted his winning. But the element of surprise was exacerbated by the demographic which showed up to vote for the Republican nominee. Only Trump and some of his closest advisors seem to have realized what was going on and their response was purely based on the huge numbers coming out of the woodwork to attend rallies. A rally is one thing and an election the other, but in this case the almost evangelical enthusiasm for a candidate who as he himself said “could shoot somebody and not lose voters” was practically impossible to parse. Trump falls in the category of super charismatic figures like JFK and Roosevelt and it’s possible that even they would flag in comparison to the unconditional love he seems to have elicited from a demographic of primarily non-educated white males. So what is the source of the suffering in the anti-Trump camp? The answer may come from Star Wars where the Force has its dark side that manifests as The Empire. The election of 2016 was not politics as usual and what was unleashed also displays the characteristics of science fiction movies like George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, whose vision of a race of zombies is a thinly veiled allegory for the totalitarian vision that the Trump putsch epitomizes.

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