Slouching towards Bethlehem

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To cheer me up last night, Ron turned on a rerun of an X-Files episode from the early years when I was an X-Files junkie. In this episode Mulder and Scully happen upon the body of a Russian seaman who died mysteriously in the sewers of New Jersey. Scully does the autopsy, and a creepy reptile crawls out of the corpse’s liver. At the same time, A sanitation workman is dragged into the sewer and killed by a huge version of this same monster, also in Newark.

Somehow the dream team manages to capture this huge, ugly beast which has attempted several other killings. It is hideous. It’s the size of a large man but has the face of a lamprey. Little red eyes and a gaping red mouth. Naturally it escapes, and tries to find its way back to the sewer from whence it came. Mulder manages to kill it before it can reproduce. Classic X-Files.

In the final scene, Mulder and Scully hypothesize about the origins of the creature. Is it an extra-terrestrial? No, they decide. It is a product of the manmade radioactive waste in Chernobyl. And who knows if there are more of those horrible creatures back in the nuclear waste in Russia? Scully pronounces that every year more and more species become extinct because of pollution and other conditions humans have created. But “Who knows how many new species are being born in the sludge we have created?” she asks.

Now, I am not suggesting that Donald Trump is that hideous creature crawling out of the sewer in New Jersey (maybe that is Chris Christy), but I am saying that we humans have created the climate for the election of such a man. Choosing Trump indicates a climate of racism, sexism, and xenophobia that is churning out of control in the US. The impulse to select a man with no qualifications, with a questionable moral code, and who inspires hate among his followers, points to a toxic soup bubbling out of the heartland of America. 

Uneducated white men with no jobs, no hope, and no critical thinking skills are looking for someone to blame for their situation.Trump provides easy answers. Blame the Mexicans, Hillary, Obama, Black people, Muslims. Bring in a brash novice and he will fix things overnight. He’ll do away with whatever health care working class people have managed to get through Obamacare. He’ll ban Muslims from the country. He’ll get Mexico to build a wall. He’ll clean up the inner cities. 

Our country is broken and people are searching for a way to fix it. We all want to create a climate for change and healing, but choosing a demagogue is not going to solve our problems. Already the nightly news points to high school kids in the midwest chanting, “Build that wall!” in the school cafeteria, leaving Hispanic kids terrified and in tears. Other kids, echoing the rhetoric they have heard on tv and possibly in their homes are bullying girls and mocking anyone who is different. I am terrified that this is just the beginning of the backlash we are going to feel after eight years of growth and positive leadership.

Even Mulder and Scully could only throw up their hands when confronted with what might be coming up out of the nuclear waste of Chernobyl. Like them, though, we must be ready to combat evil when it rears its ugly head out of the mess we humans have created.