Remember the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”? In the movie, people were showing up in medical offices, and police stations all over the town insisting that their closest friend or love one was no longer who they were and the person occupying their body was alien and not the person they knew. At first, it was believed that the town was suffering from some kind of mass neurosis. But gradually, all the people complaining were no longer complaining and insisting everything was fine, as the body snatchers also had absorbed them. Before long, the body snatchers out numbered the normal people and were brazen in their efforts to take over the world.
A few weeks ago, I had a body snatcher moment. A close friend of mine, a person whom I love like a brother and whom I think loves me like a brother, said something that shocked and filled me with a horror that I have never felt in my life until that moment. The man I’m talking about is an educated man of science, who is known for his kindness and compassion for others, regardless of race, color or creed. We used to debate politics all the time since he has always been conservative and I progressive. We stopped debating at his request during the Trump campaign in 2016 because my words were too upsetting to him, so up until recently, we confined or correspondence to jokes and exchange of family photos (we both like to brag and dote on our grandchildren). But a few weeks ago, we started to renew our debate again. Up until then, he was always clear that he didn’t necessarily approve of Trump’s tactics and behavior even though he supported the conservatives ethos that appeared to motivate him.
After a few days of intellectual banter, we began to text each other news clips and other video material to reinforce our positions. I have to say I have always been more verbally agile than my friend, which is why I always understood his reluctance to debate me. That’s not to say that he himself is not a good communicator in his own right. We were going along fine, and I was making a concerted effort to understand his point of view. Then in the midst of our discussions, that educated man of science said something that suddenly rendered him unrecognizable to me. He said he believed, “God sent Trump to us to save America.” My blood pressure must have dropped 30 points when I read it and it’s a miracle I didn’t faint right there on the spot.
Suddenly I realized that the intellectual world he lives in is completely alien to one I live in. The information he has allowed to permeate his brain relentlessly for the past four years, which for the most part, by normal standards have been proven to be completely false and completely unsubstantiated by facts, is the only information he has allowed into his reality. When something from my world does filter through, it immediately becomes fake news regardless of the evidence to substantiate it. He is now incapable of believing anything or anyone that does not validate or subscribe to his warped, white privileged, middleclass view of the world. Somewhere between one forth and one third of America have been indoctrinated by the Trumpian double speak that has been pouring out of Fox News and rightwing media.
The response I made to my friend’s statement of deification of Trump was, “Save America for whom? It seems to me the opposite may be true.” In other words, I was saying to him that if anything, God sent Trump to destroy America. Given Trump’s latest announcement that he will not guarantee a peaceful transition of power it he losses the election, my assertion is very close to being shown to be true. We are on the verge of becoming our own Syria or Afghanistan or Saddam’s Iraq.
Our only hope at this point is for every American who is still in control of his/her own mind and still enjoys the American way of life, whether that person be white, black or in between, to vote decisively Democratic in the upcoming election, not because you like Democrats but because you want to preserve our American way of life. Make no mistake. In this election, you are voting for an America where you’re free to follow your own destiny or a dictatorship where the will of the dictator defines the will of the people. If you have the slightest inclination to vote for the latter, go back and look at the films of the recent history of those three countries I listed just after the Arab Spring. That will become America’s future under Donald Trump’s absolute rule.