Sunday, November 29, 2009
First a note on irony: After writing this post on Swine Flu take a guess why I wasn’t able to post for the last week.
While laid up last week I had a chance to watch some of my old favorite shows, like the original Twilight Zone episodes. One that reminded me of the current of political discussion in the US right now was Season 4, Episode 3 “He’s Alive”. (Major Spoilers ahead.)
The episode starts with Rod Serling’s introduction:
“Portrait of a bush-league fuehrer named Peter Vollmer, a sparse little man who feeds off his self-delusions and finds himself perpetually hungry for want of greatness in his diet. And like some goose-stepping predecessors he searches for something to explain his hunger, and to rationalize why a world passes him by without saluting. That something he looks for and finds is in a sewer. In his own twisted and distorted lexicon he calls it faith, strength, truth. But in just a moment Peter Vollmer will ply his trade on another kind of corner, a strange intersection in a shadowland called the Twilight Zone.”
In the episode Vollmer receives advice from a mysterious stranger who teaches him to unleash his bigotry and call it faith, project his fears and weaknesses on to those who are weaker than him and call it Strength, call his lies and distortions Truth.
He becomes the leader of a Neo-Nazi movement, bringing others in with his message of hate.
He finally meets the mysterious stranger and finds himself face to face with Adolf Hitler.
The episode ends with Serling’s conclusion:
“Where will he go next, this phantom from another time, this resurrected ghost of a previous nightmare - Chicago; Los Angeles; Miami, Florida; Vincennes, Indiana; Syracuse, New York? Anyplace, everyplace, where there's hate, where there's prejudice, where there's bigotry. He's alive. He's alive so long as these evils exist. Remember that when he comes to your town. Remember it when you hear his voice speaking out through others. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault on a people or any human being. He's alive because through these things we keep him alive.”
It’s easy to hear this voice from beyond the grave these days. Fox news seeks out these little men who can project their hate filled self-delusions and call them commentators. They rant about baby killers, then take no responsibility when one of their listeners goes on a shooting spree in front of a church.
They talk about how liberal churches that perform Same-Sex Marriage are the ultimate evil then look the other way as one of their followers takes a shotgun into a Unitarian Church and kills people.
You can hear this phantom from another time at rallies across the country spreading their message of hate against gays, the poor, Hispanics, and those they deem to be Anti-Christian.
You hear this echo of a previous nightmare when politicians scream that we can’t afford to help the suffering masses in our own country because we need that money to bring death and destruction to foreign lands.
You can hear this age old message of the weak and pathetic souls who lack the imagination to put their efforts towards bringing people together to build a better society that acknowledges the worth and dignity of the human soul, and instead shout out hate filled venom that divides people so that they can destroy anything of greatness or beauty and then blame that loss on the people that aren’t like them fueling the cycle of hate.
So to all those people who try to gain fame by channeling the hate filled messages of a nightmare past that should have been put to rest 65 years ago; To all those who think they boost their own worth by destroying the worth and dignity of others, instead of trying to accomplish something worthwhile on their own; To all those who think the power to destroy is a greater show of strength than the power to build; To them I say Shut-up Stupid.