Things are starting to fall into place. Not in the way many of us hoped, but in a way that looks more and more like pre-World War II Germany.
Since the dawn of Hollywood movies, we Americans have been pretty good at re-creating any era we choose, dressing our sets, painting our backdrops, sewing our costumes. When the movie is finished, viewers can immerse themselves in a new reality, traveling back in time, or forward into the future, then exiting after things are resolved. How many times, for example, have moviegoers felt the terror of the Nazi regime, easing it with popcorn, soda, and a quiet walk to the parking lot while checking our phones?
We’re well on our way to creating a great sequel. We’ve borrowed that classic storyline. It’s a tale of how good German people seemed to take leave of their senses, not only electing a crazy man, but supporting him and following him all the way to the graves of their sons and daughters, friends and neighbors, civic institutions, jurisprudence, and moral values.
Once the uniforms were on, and the jackboots fell into step, and the people inhaled the pride of flag and country, all the shame of past errors, unjust punishment, status lost, things gone wrong – all of that was banished. Suddenly, the great German people, who had earned the notice of the world as great thinkers, theologians, scientists, artists, poets, playwrights, and educators, could inspire fear in the mightiest of nations, simply by raising their arms in a salute.
Presently, we Americans are in the process of stealing the plot. Oh, there are a few minor differences. We already have no doubt we are the leaders of the free world. We have said that so many times, it is a saying more popular than the Lord’s Prayer. Nevertheless, we have borrowed the role of “victim.”
At first, we didn’t really know what we were victims of, but our scriptwriters are really good. They lined up all the characters ambitious politicians have been denigrating for years. Western alliances who are “taking advantage of us.” Trading partners who won’t give in to our demands. People in our own country who are milking the middle class for every penny they have and then complaining they still don’t have enough. Bureaucrats, journalists, liberals, gays, climate scientists, Black people – well, the list is endless because it includes every person our leader has denounced as an enemy of his supporters.
But to be true to the classic story line, we really needed a more particular scapegoat who could be publicly humiliated, as evidence that our leader is doing everything he can to return to us our badly tarnished American Dream. We needed a substitute for Jews. So our leader, every inch a fascist, pointed his crooked finger at an entire population unable to vote – undocumented immigrants who have watched our babies, cared for our sick, cleaned up our messes, harvested our crops, or asked for asylum.
Now the spectacle of internment – such a necessary part of this storyline – has emerged, with parents being locked up while their babies and youngsters of all ages sleep in cages on concrete floors under metallic blankets. The story is finally coming together.
We still have a few touches to finalize – ICE is coming along nicely as the stormtroopers, and the Republican Congress is fitting in perfectly as the legislators who aided and abetted the demise of the republic. And it is a nice touch that the Supreme Court majority is taking serious aim at liberty and justice for all. But we’re getting there. The set is almost finished, the movie is well into production, and soon, our own American storyline will be the subject of the next eighty or ninety years of worldwide cinema.
Your story is our story, Dear Ohio. I bet you never thought we’d all be in the movies together.
To read other articles in this series, click here.