Is the unreal really real?

November 20, 2016


Maybe historians will mark 2016 as surrealism’s takeover year. Nightmares broke into real life and roamed the streets.Related image

Think of it: Americans supposedly handed the twittering Donald Trump a “mandate,” which allowed him to tap an attorney general designate with a dubious track record on race relations to enforce our civil rights laws, among other things.  And then there’s Retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn.  He once tweeted: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions…” He could head national security. Let’s talk about Myron Ebell, the climate-change skeptic leading the EPA’s transition team … No.  Let’s not.

This is a dream, right?  A bad one co-starring Stephen Bannon.

The surrealism swells: There’s no mandate.  Americans didn’t favor Trump. At this writing, Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote victory stands at 1.5 million and may climb to two million.  Her plurality is far wider than Richard Nixon’s in 1968 and John F. Kennedy’s in 1960.  Our problem: We’re saddled with a mean-spirited octopus, otherwise known as the electoral college — established, in part, to protect the minority interests of the slave-holding South while fending off mob rule.  Tentacles from the antebellum era have groped from the past and strangled the Land of the Free for the second time in 16 years.  The American populace chose Al Gore in 2000, albeit by a slim margin.  He would have tried to tackle the climate crisis and, probably, avoided the Iraq war.  Americans also chose the more competent of the less-than-stunning 2016 candidates.

Instead, we get Trump, offered to us on the platter of a living anachronism.

More surrealism: Self-identified white evangelicals supposedly voted for this thrice-married womanizing strip-club owner 81-19, which  boggles the mind until we remember that evangelicals aren’t really evangelical anymore.  A recent study showed 71 percent believed Jesus was a created being and 56 percent believed the Holy Spirit is “divine force but not a personal being.”  Only 52 percent said sex outside traditional marriage is a sin.

I guess it’s all okay if you vote Republican.

And then there’s me and my own life.  My surreal nightmares often revolve around scenes in which I’m rendered speechless in the face of lies — even though I’ve always had a knack for public speaking.  Now I’m living it.  I awaken from those nightmares and find myself with a speech impediment because I lost much of my real tongue to cancer (reconstructive surgery replaced it, but it’s not the same).  And this cancer, which doesn’t normally spread, has metastasized.  I should be speaking and advocating; instead, I’m scheduling more treatments.

Will someone wake me up?

The best I can do is offer this Facebook suggestion:

For the millions that will lose insurance if Obamacare is repealed please call Paul Ryan. It takes less than two minutes and it literally is life and death for so many people.
Paul Ryan is conducting a [very biased] phone poll on the ACA (Obamacare), hoping to hear overwhelming popular opposition to it. If you would like to express your support for the Affordable Care Act, call (202) 225-3031. Press 2 to weigh in on the issue. You’ll hear a brief [biased] recording about HR-3762, Paul Ryan’s proposal to gut the ACA, and President Obama’s use of his veto power to stop it. Then, you will have a chance to indicate your opinion with the press of a button.
Press 1 if you support Obamacare, 2 if you oppose it.
Copy and paste this, don’t click share.

About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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