Day of the Dead Living: Defining The New America
Oh Brute-i-ful, where hatred lies
and clamor meets inane
on darkened hills of tragedy
our morals have been lain
God’s grievance is with thee
you’ve drowned your good, shunned brotherhood
thinking, “GOD IS PLEASED WITH ME!”
“America the Brute-i-ful”, as recorded by S. Denice Newton
Some days I just can’t stomach the news cycle. On other days, I just can’t tolerate it. On most days, I absolutely abhor it. However, as a writer and radio host, it is my job to stay abreast of the headlines and information that impact the lives of earthlings, no matter how nutty the content. And that my friends, will be the focus of this posting.
As an innocent bystander, I cower at the window of “neutrality” and look out at the derangement, lunacy, and mental illness that is gripping America. The images before me are horrendous. Watching people slowly go mad, is not a pretty sight. It is comparable to watching a dog chase its own tail. It will only grow tired and fatigued, accomplishing nothing. However, if it does manage to “catch its tail,” it will only inflict pain on itself as it begins to eat its own flesh.
America is a nation that prides itself on freedom, liberty, equality and peace. It claims to operate on civility, patriotism, and regard for the law. But as I continue to witness the heart-wrenching scene from the security of my self-imposed prison, I see a scene comparable to the 1968 zombie film, “Night of the Living Dead.” In this particular movie, a horde of ghouls converged upon a farmhouse in Pennsylvania. The recently deceased corpses returned to life and began consuming the flesh of living victims. Historians viewed the movie as a subversive film that critiques 1960s American society, international cold war politics, and domestic racism. The only black character, played by Duane Jones, was a heroic figure that survived the zombies, but was ultimately killed by a redneck posse. I’m really going somewhere with this. Bear with me.
Themes of the movie included disillusionment with government and flaws inherent in the media and local and federal government agencies. Director George Romero confessed that the film was designed to reflect the tensions of the time. He says everyone had a message, complete with anger and attitude. Now, fast forward 42 years. The year is now 2010.
The slow moving, hollow, resurrected cannibals of the 1968 film are now hate-mongering, divisive, partisan rabble-rousers whose agenda is to oppose government and rally supporters. With complete disregard for civility or the law for that matter, these modern day zombies converge upon the airwaves, print publications, and other forms of media to convey messages of intolerance and distort truth through partisan noise. Can you see where this is going?
From my window, I see black people, white people, Asians, and other brown people. I see Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Liberals, and Conservatives. They’re all yelling and accusing each other of destroying the economy, trampling the constitution, and destroying freedoms. I see old people, young people, and those in the middle. I see wealthy people, poor people, and those without a socio-economic ranking. They’re verbally and physically abusive to each other. They’re screaming about the lack of jobs, state of the economy, state of health care, and support for and against warfare. No one can hear the call for civility because the noise from all sides is just too deafening. Making sense yet?
There is a striking similarity between President Barack Obama and the character of Ben in “Night of the Living Dead.” According to one movie reviewer, Ben was depicted as a comparatively calm and resourceful Negro. As you can probably imagine, the selection of a black man for a heroic role when the cast was largely comprised of white actors and actresses bred contempt and controversy. While social commentators viewed the move as “significant,” Romero says that Jones was selected because he simply gave the best audition. Sound familiar? Think presidential race 2008. Ben survived zombie attacks, but eventually fell victim to a posse of rednecks. Barack Obama survived religious controversy, questionable affiliations, and birth certificate issues but will likely fall victim to conservative ideology and racial intolerance in the next election cycle.
I can’t stand at this window and watch chaos forever. At some point, I will have to venture out into the midst of it. But which side do I lend my support? Is it to those staunch “Christians” who say that government interference is unconstitutional and should therefore let citizens suffer and die from lack even though the bible teaches that the “strong are to bear the infirmities of the weak?” Or do I support the side that says, “we’ll help you through difficult times but the bill will be enormous and future generations will have to foot it?” The battle is becoming intense and bodies are falling to the ground. American politics is a blood sport and those who play mean business. Welcome to “Day Of The Dead Living.” America as we know it is no more and for her citizens, political defeat is a fate worse than death.