Mindy Newell: The Whole World Is Watching

It Can’t Happen Here Sinclair LewisThis is one of those times when I’ve got nothing. Maybe it’s because I spent the last week sick as a dog, as the saying goes. I wonder what the origin of that axiom is – why not “sick as a cat?” Or a horse, or an elephant? Anyway, I’m still feeling kind of tired and worn out, and I’ve had a headache all day, and I’ve sat down to write the column and gotten up and walked away about a million times, or I’ve started and deleted about a hundred paragraphs.

I keep dwelling on Donald Trump’s campaign. It reads like a political satire, doesn’t it? Or worse, a political dystopian warning, something on the order of It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, or The Plot Against America by Philip Roth. I know just what the book jacket copy would say:

A businessman who has stamped his name on many diverse monuments to American capitalism, from gleaming monolithic skyscrapers to verdantly lush golf courses to resorts for the very rich and powerful. He has written books that have topped the best-seller lists, and has hosted a successful reality show. Now he has decided that it is up to him to save his nation from the pathetic fools who sit in his beloved country’s seats of power, and for years have refused to take him seriously, though they have gladly reached out their hands and opened their pockets for his money. In a staged rally complete with hired actors, he announces his candidacy for the President of the United States.

Media pundits shake their collective heads and laugh at him on-and-off-camera, but their bosses tell them to give him plenty of airtime, because it makes for a good story. And the public is responding. Every time they feature the guy the ratings zoom through the roof.

But pretty soon nobody is laughing.

No doubt it would be optioned for a movie before the final manuscript went off to the printing press.

But this ain’t a movie, folks.

Even though we may all just end up paying for the price of admission.