I’m no fan of astrology. My birthday is April 20 which makes me a Taurus and means I share it with such people as actress Jessica Lange, Carmen Electra who isn’t really an actress, and oh yes, Adolf Hitler. Indeed, when I was a kid and April 20 came along, I always wondered about these old guys on the TV news who were shown toting beer steins and celebrating somewhere in the Austrian Alps.
How did they possibly know about me?
But a more significant date might be November 9 which just passed. Two reasons. First, it was the morning of Donald Trump’s shocking victory in the U.S. presidential election. Second, that same day in 1938 was none other than Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass – which took place in the aforementioned Austria, as well as Germany.
A night of terror against Jews, it would serve as the forerunner of the Holocaust. I doubt many of those under the age of 40 know about Kristallnacht.
Writers and that means novelists – not to mention comics and cartoonists – must all be licking their chops right about now. What happened the other night means four years of content delivered on a daily, if not hourly, basis. It will be a gravy train.
Expect Alec Baldwin to have a lengthy contract with Saturday Night Live. And Michael Moore to do new documentaries on the rise of Fascism. And novels with all sorts of plot lines. We’ll see romance (liberal Juliet falls in love with conservative Romeo), mysteries (during the night the bust of a new president with blonde comb-over takes its place on Mount Rushmore and no one knows how it got there), and science-fiction (we learn later the deed was performed by extra-terrestrial masons).
Making light of what just happened may be the best remedy for recognizing what just happened. But it does bring to mind Ronald Reagan. They said if he was elected president he would start World War III. As things turned out, he helped end the Cold War and was one of the most popular presidents in history. Let’s hope the same thing happens with Trump. But I have my doubts.
What did we just witness in this election campaign? Three things stand out. First, outright lies. This is nothing new for politicians, but never before, at least in America, have we seen lies of this magnitude before. Second, a complete lack of civility. But if you believe the ends justifies the means (i.e., win at all costs), it worked.
Third, a massive tidal wave – a tsunami – of unbridled ignorance rearing its head across the land, mobilizing the masses. Some call it populism. Or a movement. And it is. But it’s also something else.
Dangerous. And many books are written about such things.