Big Orange Man Make Big Orange Sky
Considering the ubiquitous portable technology of urban protesters, one might expect their behavior to be several notches above Neanderthal. Instead, the public temper tantrums of America's disgruntled mobs continue at an alarming pace. Even as we dare ask, "Who's in charge here?," we are afraid of the answer.
Behind the troublemakers' brazenness lies the contention that dire times demand bold actions. Not that America, in their opinion, is any more systemically unacceptable now than it's ever been. Still, for a general agenda of chaos and change, this point in history seems particularly auspicious for avenging the abused.
I suspect that the rabble-rousers are themselves surprised at how relatively easy such rebellious assaults have been. For example, after almost four months of rioting in the lovely city of Portland, Oregon, nobody in so-called authority has managed to put a lid on it. And now with the limited number of popular athletic events, the nightly antics of lawbreakers and looters have become a familiar televised blood sport.
We are navigating a difficult period in America's history, pocked by fear of threats from viral infection, job loss, illness, homelessness, violence, school closures, lockdowns, and natural disasters. Living in an electronic age makes it tough to identify with early Homo sapiens scrambling to survive on our hostile fledgling planet. Though they may have outsmarted all other creatures, they were nevertheless at the constant mercy of nature and beast.
Ancient peoples might not have understood Mother Nature, but they grew to know her intimately. Ear-splitting thunder shook them to the bone but brought much-needed rain. Horrifying eclipses earned their appreciation for the warmth of the sun. Floods taught them that too much water, while dangerous, was better than not enough. Ignorant of science, early humans fashioned a mechanism by which to better manage their world.
As a means of coping, gods were invented, worshiped, and appeased but never blamed. If things went awry, it was because the deities were angry and demanded sacrifices for the greater good. As late as the 1920s, American author Shirley Jackson's best known short story, "The Lottery," shocked readers with a surprise ending that revealed the lingering desperation of humans to control nature.
Even in our "enlightened" age of scientific discovery, this misguided presumption persists. With it comes a political imperative to find a scapegoat on whom to hang the world's ills. Recently, we've seen pictures of skies blazing orange over the charred forests of the American West. Trump-haters see in this phenomenon the odious color of their nemesis, the despised Orange Man in the White House. From this it is easy to extrapolate an image a bogus president unleashing with one pudgy hand the dreaded contagion of COVID-19 and, with the other, harnessing for world destruction the existential threat of global warming.
For these same fired up folks, such "reimagining" has neatly clarified the crux of the current crisis. They need think no more (if they ever did!) about mismanaged forests, outdated power sources, gridlocked roads, trains to nowhere, toppled statues, population displacements, mail-in ballot fraud, or neighborhood violence.
In one brilliant stroke, the blame for both of the biggest bugaboos in America — global warming and the lingering pandemic — has been unequivocally laid at the feet of Donald John Trump. In a recent speech, Joe Biden — reading from a teleprompter, of course — even referred to his rival as a "climate arsonist."
For ecstatic Democrats, it would seem that the dots of the big picture have at last been connected, conveniently revealing Trump's treachery. Putin's participation wasn't even required.
In the days ahead, progressives will spin this revelation into a Dark Ages scenario. Those devoid of reason will be easily convinced that Trump has insulted and angered the almighty force of global warming, which, in retribution, set ablaze millions of forested acres — if, regrettably, in Democrat states. While climate change may be the actual cause of the conflagrations, the faithful will prefer to tweak the narrative so that Trump can be punished for, in their view, not taking the matter seriously enough. And so — for earth's very survival — he must be defeated on Election Day. If Trump could die a double–political death, so much the better, since he alone knew the dangers of the "Trump" virus and never let on.
Nothing is nuanced in an election year. The wisest thing progressive eggheads learned from their Ivy League education was that the electorate remains, at heart, a primitive beast willing to snatch at anything to retain power. When hate is the only rib in a political party's umbrella of principles, it is easy enough for fools to believe that a storm of monumental proportions will end the world if Trump were re-elected.
In our deeply cloven country, those who are not in the game are out of it. Doubt the deity, and you will be its next victim. Fail to wear a mask, and you will view the world through the bars of a cell. Set your thermostat too low in a heat wave, and your assets will be frozen. Still, the ultimate threat is that silence could come with the highest price tag of all.
If left unchallenged, the use of fear and stupidity for political gains could, over time, reverse the course of civilization. Perhaps it is not so impossible to foresee a time when humans once again roam an inhospitable Earth, quaking in anguish, searching for a rock beneath which to hide.