By Gallagher & Schleicher
First, even more bad news: October 31, 2018, may be the last Halloween. Ever.
Why are some still smiling and the president so upbeat? Perhaps they crave the adrenaline of ghost stories, scary movies and haunted houses. Perhaps they see it not as eliminating one holiday a year but extending it to every day after the upcoming election. Halloween forever?
Halloween served a useful purpose in adding a sense of momentary fear into a normal and generally predictable existence. A chance to experience the adrenaline rush of life-or-death terror. Maybe a short-lived horror in confronting unmitigated evil. Now the need for a day a year of self-inflicted fright is becoming passé.
Consider what the Fear-Monger-in-Chief has accomplished. He was handed a humanitarian crisis involving mothers and their young children seeking a better life. He turned it into a spooky story about invading toddlers who must be caged to be stopped. Trump’s mother — an economic migrant to the United States from Scotland for whom English was a second language — must be spinning in her grave.
What’s truly terrifying? The more the president whips up a frenzy of such faux fears, the more the less stable among us deem it rational to respond with domestic terrorism. Unaware the monsters projected on the White House lawn are make-believe, these twisted partisans delude themselves into believing that sending a letter bomb or committing mass murder at a synagogue is somehow an act of self-defense.
The president’s rallies are a weekly replaying of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds,” as his listeners become ever more convinced that the invasion from space is real. One minute it’s a story of invading hordes, in another he casts journalists as bloodsuckers for daring to dig up the truth about tax fraud, nepotism and corruption.
The same goes for the witches and warlocks at the FBI and within our allies’ intelligence services. Trump intends nothing less than dropping a coffin lid on investigations into money laundering, election interference and breath-sucking obstruction of justice.
What makes this different from the usual slasher film is that you don’t have to pay to get in. All you need to do is stay home on Election Day. You can watch from the comfort of your couch as goody-two-shoes Beto O’Rourke unknowingly walks down to the basement where his fate will be sealed. You may scream as Ted Cruz takes him out, but from the moment you and others choose to stay home, the ending is inevitable.
An election outcome that doesn’t involve Trump’s opponents taking at least one chamber of Congress means he can take his show prime time without hesitation. No one will be left to check his power and even the Supreme Court will be eerily acquiescent. Robert Mueller can be silenced just as he was on his way to save us in the final scene.
The phony phantoms of Fox News will join the president in unleashing very real demons if their conspiracy theories are unchecked by an electorate demanding change on November 6. While the story of Frankenstein may be fiction, the potential for a torch-bearing mob willing to destroy all those things they don’t understand grows increasingly likely the longer this drama is allowed to play out.
Anti-Semitic violence and mailed explosives are not stunning surprises but instead harbingers of what is to come when every day has become Halloween. With enough gas poured on the fire, nightmares become daytime realities where we are expected to surrender our freedoms for the promise that law and order will be restored. And if this feels like a rerun, you’re right. History has seen this movie before, all too many times.
Please, turn on the lights and shut off the projector. Vote.
David Gallagher is a transplanted Texan, haunting olde London, England, and tweeting @TBoneGallagher. David Schleicher is an attorney who occasionally frightens those in charge from http://www.deepstate.law and who blogs at contranymtimes.com. This column originally ran in the October 30, 2018 Waco Tribune-Herald.