February 29, 2016

  • The Return of Buzz Windrip

    Today is Leap Year Day, and tomorrow is Super Tuesday when the big clot of Presidential primaries will arrive and presage the coming election.

    Also, this year is the 80th anniversary of It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis's dystopian novel.  Lewis was actually an important author for me, partly because his Arrowsmith inspired my father to choose a career in medicine; and partly because Kingsblood Royal, his exploration of racial prejudice, was a rite of passage among my teen friends.

    It Can't Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis.  Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a populist United States Senator who is elected to the presidency after promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and traditional values.

    I am outraged about Trump.  I am outraged that this callow playground bully might try to trash the careful system of checks and balances given to us by James Madison and the Fathers.  Trump's campaign makes Sinclair Lewis look prophetic.


    Essay in salon.com by Malcolm Harris
    In a fictional campaign promotional book “Zero Hour,” the fictional Windrip laid out the classic nativist call to action that Trump would pick up nearly word-for-word:

      My one ambition is to get all Americans to realize that they are, and must continue to be, the greatest Race on the face of this old Earth, and second, to realize that whatever apparent differences there may be among us, in wealth, knowledge, skill, ancestry or strength –– though, of course, all this does not apply to people who are racially different from us –– we are all brothers, bound together in the great and wonderful bond of National Unity, for which we should all be very glad.

    By now, in late February, Trump has managed to alienate all the level-headed voices among the press, commentators, Democrats, and Republicans alike.  And somehow, none of these objections will make a difference.

    We can only take comfort in polls that predict Hillary's victory in a general election.



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