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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

Bullied by Ann, Stymied by Nancy: Deflating an Inflatable

Credit: Trump Baby/Cover Images

The Twilight Zone nailed it. I have been waiting a long time to write about this episode. Now, finally, the time is right. Although the details are not an exact match, there is enough in common with the present situation to do so. It’s all about facing fears and then deflating a hot-air balloon.

The episode appropriately enough is entitled The Fear and was televised on May, 29, 1964. It was the second to last televised episode of the series. It has not ranked among the best of the Twilight Zone episodes but it still turns out to be useful today. (Information on The Fear from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734638/reviews?ref_=tt_ov_rt)

Opening Narration

The major ingredient for any recipe for fear is the unknown. And there are two characters about to partake of the meal: Miss Charlotte Scott, a fashion editor, and Mr. Robert Franklin, a state trooper. And the third member of the party: the unknown, that has just landed a few hundred yards away. This person or thing is soon to be met. This is a mountain cabin, but it is also a clearing in the shadows known as the Twilight Zone. 

A New York City fashion editor has sought refuge in the woods after suffering a nervous breakdown. She is full of anger and belittles the “hicks” that live in the area. She resents having to have any contact with these lesser beings but the necessities of food [drone delivery via online ordering had not yet been invented!] forces her to speak to them in person and exchange pleasantries. One such passing comment leads the state trooper out to the remote cabin 30 miles from the nearest village to investigate suspicious lights and sounds.

The conversation between the red-state male and blue-state female does not go well. But he manages to cut through her pretensions by quoting Shakespeare. Serling adds small details which are not essential to the storyline itself but have an importance in their own right. Even her accent is refined haughty. Just when it looks like there may be a communication breakthrough, the lights and sounds from the surrounding forest begin again this time even stronger. This one isolated patch of civilization in the midst the wilderness is about to have a close encounter of the first, second, and third kind.

The source of this disturbance to the cosmic is, WAIT FOR IT, WAIT FOR IT, WAIT FOR IT, ILLEGAL ALIENS.  They are not only illegal aliens to the United States, they are illegal aliens to the planet earth. During the course of the night they subject the puny humans to one fear-inducing moment after another. Communication with the civilized world is severed.  The illegal aliens seem to be everywhere even on the roof!

Somehow despite all this commotion, the two humans then go to sleep. When the state trooper awakes his clothes are unmussed and his face is clean-shaven. Her clothes similarly are unwrinkled and her makeup is still perfectly applied. Oh well, it is after all the Twilight Zone!

In the light of day, the two tiny humans go outside to confront their fears. As far as special effects, the illegal alien is not very special and not very effective…except in terms of the story. If you have been to or seen the Macys’ Thanksgiving parade you were not likely to have been frightened by the hot air balloon towering over you. Nonetheless, within the context of the story, we are to imagine these people in dread fear of the illegal alien standing before them.

Some of the dialog leaves a little to be desired.

He calls her a charter member of the insufferable snobs.

She replies that not only is a charter member she is founder of the society of frightened people who cannot face the world.

He responds that being frightened is a normal natural human function. It is how you react to fear that really counts.

Is that What You Were Afraid of? (https://m.media-amazon.com/images)

He reacts to seeing the illegal alien by firing his hand gun. He shoots the inflatable again and again and then is nearly blown away by the air rushing out of it.

It’s a balloon. It’s a balloon.

Is that what we have been frightened of?

The scene then shifts to the small alien saucer responsible for the hot-air balloon. Amazingly, even though the now larger humans tower over the spacecraft, they can now hear what is being said inside. And lo and behold, these illegal aliens speak English. They hear the illegal aliens reporting back to the home office on the failure of the entire operation. They were unsuccessful in getting the humans to be frightened. They request immediate permission to depart.

Saucer must report failure entire operation ended by earthman’s failure to be frightened. Request permission from Great Leader to depart from earth.

In fact there is a desperate urgency to their plea.

Oh please Great Leader, let us depart now.

And depart they do only to find jobs at the nearest Trump resort.

Closing Narration

Fear, of course, is extremely relative. It depends on who can look down and who must look up. It depends on other vagaries, like the time, the mood, the darkness. But it’s been said before, with great validity, that the worst thing there is to fear is fear itself. Tonight’s tale of terror and tiny people on the Twilight Zone.

No this episode is not about the illegal aliens from Central America in their caravans invading the United States. They are not the hot-air inflatable. The big bag of wind is THE DONALD, the professional wrestling persona Little Donnee Wanee created so people would think of him as a swaggering macho man, the world’s greatest negotiator, the world’s greatest deal maker, the world’s greatest manager, the smartest person in the room, a very stable genius, the only one who can solve our problems. And then Ann bullied him, Nancy stymied him, and the great lie was exposed. All the hot air dissipated until what was left a deflated balloon who had been exposed as Caveman.

There is a scene in Inherit the Wind where the William Jennings Bryan character experiences the same moment of comeuppance.  He had arrived in town to great fanfare and celebration. All the people praised him. Say Hallelujah! Then he faced something that never occurred during the Republican primary presidential debates or the presidential debates in 2016: a moment of truth when he had to go into the arena and battle 1:1 with an adult who knew his stuff. By the time the Clarence Darrow character was through with his cross-examination, the people in audience had laughed at him and then stood in shock as they witnessed their hero deflate. “They laughed at me. They laughed at me,” he said.

Can you imagine what would happen if Mueller cross-examined Person #1? By comparison Whittaker would seem prepared and polished.

The air has been let out of THE DONALD and all that is left is Little Donnee Wanee.

My prediction as I previously wrote was that the government Trumpdown would end when Republican Senators decided to end it by providing veto-proof legislation. In an interview (“Mitch McConnell Got Everything He Wanted,” by Charles Homans, New York Times Magazine, January 27, 2019), Homans

had asked him {McConnell] whether, if a hypothetical shutdown-ending compromise had landed on his desk that would command a veto-proof majority in both his Senate and Pelosi’s House, ending the standoff over the protests of Trump but without the need for his signature, he would bring it up for a vote. “No,” he said.

By the time the article was published that assertion had proven false. Six Republican Senators had voted to end the government Trumpdown and more were likely to. Game over.

Elected Republicans are starting to look ahead instead of over their shoulders. They know what another “red wave” and “great victory” as they just had in 2016 would mean for them in 2020. It’s no fun being in the minority in the House of Representatives. It’s no fun losing the Senate majority either. Every Republican candidate in 2020 will have the toxic Trump taint on them like a veritable mark of Cain. Even without Mueller, the deflated inflatable bullied by Ann and stymied by Nancy has been exposed as weak, as a loser. The world already laughed at him in the General Assembly; what happens if the Republican base catches on that it has been conned?

There is a narrow window of opportunity for the Republican Party to attempt to right the ship. A party based on Robert E. Lee will never become a national party. Nor will a party based on fear. The Republican Party came in second in the presidential races in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2016. It is gearing up to do so again in 2020. Even with Obama voters shifting to Republicans in 2016, Russian assistance, and a subpar Democratic candidate, the Republicans still lost by 2.8 million votes in 2016. Since then it has made no effort to expand its support and every effort to reduce it. There was an almost 9% spread in the House vote in 2018. Based on the House vote in 2018, the Electoral College vote would be 329 to 206 in 2020.  That is too big a gap to overcome for a minority candidate. Their Lord and Savior has been bullied by Ann, stymied by Nancy, and exposed by the Republican Senators who ended the government Trumpdown. Even rats know better than to stay on a sinking ship. But my prediction now as it always has been is that the Republicans will remain onboard even though THE DONALD has been exposed to be the Little Donnee Wanee he really is.

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