The clock is ticking on this, our 'American experiment'


Out from the portal to the dimension of an alternate reality emerges a spooky slew of troll couriers bringing us incredible messages from the magical realm of Mar-a-Lagoville.

The messengers offer us the magical logic that the sharp rise of coronavirus infections across the nation is simply “the result of increased testing.” Their “wizard” has declared it so. Therefore, it must be true. Right?

Applying the same magical logic, it is easy to also conclude that the rising mortality rate of the coronavirus is a result of the increased filing of death certificates. Fewer death certificates equals fewer deaths to speak of, right?

For those of us who still live in the present dimension of planet Earth, even asking such ludicrous questions generates a sense of dystopia, the feel of a precipitous descent into the abyss of a Mad Max world, worse than anything that Hollywood has ever been able to imagine.

Many of us are tempted to label the whole GOP alternate reality thing as mere reflections of ignorance or the product of warped minds playing games of deception.

But this assessment only distracts us from the true nature of the problem. Our political dilemma is deeper and more dangerous than just bad personality traits and spin games.

At this very moment, too many Americans exhibit an alarming predisposition for confusing the control pathology of a despotic mentality for a sign of strength and leadership. This portends a level of trouble from within that we have never before had to face. It is the same type of confusion that, four decades ago, overwhelmed nearly 1,000 worshippers of a religious cult as they swore absolute devotion to a mad man named Jim Jones.

Jones first appealed to their need for faith, then led the flock to their deaths by convincing them that faith required a litmus test of belief, obedience, and a swig of poison Kool-Aid.

Every American must understand that the reckless decisions we see in current domestic and foreign policy are not signs of strength, but of danger — and that these policies are not a necessary inconvenience that can co-exist with democracy. Rolling back measures which have been put in place to protect human rights, our Earth’s environment and international alliances, does not make us stronger — or “great again.” They hurt us.

The decisions to disband a government pandemic emergency response unit out of sheer spite for the leader who formed it — and the rejection of science in favor of political propaganda — are cases in point. Both decisions have led to thousands of deaths, which could have been prevented by timely preparation and emergency action.

Yet, despite all the evidence, some folks are still led to reject the facts as “fake news.”

During this 2020 campaign and beyond, the effort it will take to penetrate the walls of more than a few closed and gullible minds may be the most difficult task to tackle. Such mental blocks pose a very hazardous vulnerability because afflicted often do not realize that they are vulnerable until it’s too late, and raising their consciousness might only happen by rude awakening.

Gullible souls, however, are not the only ones who still sleep. They have the company of the complacent and the squeamish, who could also use a wake-up call.

We are in the path of a “Category 10 hurricane,” which threatens to tear down our house long with the dream of our treasured “American experiment.” Our campaign message to the people cannot sound like a plan for interior decorating.

With impunity, acts of tyranny are being committed in the name of law and order by regressives and absolutists who can’t or won’t even read the Constitution of the United States.

The unchecked momentum of the threat is what many voters feel that a dynamic sense of urgency in the context and expression of the 2020 campaign is essential.

Judging by the relative quiet of the Democratic campaign, strategists may be calculating that a slow and measured rollout of the candidate’s platform is appropriate. It seems they have concluded that holding their fire, while the opponent is busy shooting himself, serves to underscore a contrast of personalities that speaks for itself: bombastic, crude and corrupt versus congenial, balanced and polite.

Will it work? Maybe.

In fewer than 100 days, the future of the “American experiment” will be on the table for an up or down vote. And the message voters receive between now and then will have a lot to do with the outcome of that vote.

Will we allow the discourse of the 2020 campaign to be “dominated” by the narrative of absolutists? Or will our candidates — and campaigns — publicly, loudly, clearly and unequivocally call out the attack on our democracy for what it really is?

I ask because it occurs to me that plans for more jobs, better health care, or any other program that addresses human needs first requires that we still have an America where these wonderful benefits can happen.

The clock is ticking!

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Jose Figueroa,