<em>“I’m the last thing standing between you and the Apocalypse.”</em>
—Hillary Clinton, October 11th, 2016.
If I made a list of of my favorite CVD columns, the one entitled <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/opinion/article_1ed3c3b2-5499-11e4-8794-0017a43b2370.html” target=”_blank”>“Zombie Moralism”</a> would most definitely be ranked high. This column, which I scribed two years ago in October, dealt with a storyline that was current at the time on the television show “The Walking Dead”.
In this space I have mentioned “The Walking Dead” often. The show is about a group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse trying to stay alive whilst still maintaining some semblance of humanity. When I discussed the show two years ago, they were being held hostage by a group of cannibals ready to make a meal out of them.
(SPOILER ALERT) I am going to discuss the current events of the show. If you are behind and are pledging to catch up I will be revealing major plot points from the recent episode.
Since escaping the cannibals, The Group—and it has become a proper noun—has trekked from Georgia towards Washington, D.C. They find a civilized, gated community named Alexandria and discover they are too far gone into being survivalists to attend cocktail parties and enjoy family home evenings.
They may not enjoy living in a constant state of war, but they are too good at it to do anything else.
At the end of last season and leading into the newest season, which started this past week, they encounter a large army under the control of a man named Negan.
Negan is nothing more than a thief. He wants the small pockets of survivors that surround his enclave to give him stuff. He has no political ideology, no higher purpose and seemingly no passion other than to see others capitulate to his will. He is crazy and on a power trip. His charisma hypnotizes his minions to follow him without question. His unhinged personality and sadistic streak appears to endear his followers to him with a glassy-eyed, frenzied loyalty.
Sound like a presidential candidate we know?
I have already <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/opinion/article_df41062c-1253-11e6-9465-6be46f10ccb3.html?TNNoMobile” target=”_blank”>compared Donald Trump to Hitler</a>, so comparing him to a bat-wielding warlord in a dystopian society is not really a stretch.
Negan is still a fairly underdeveloped character on the television show. In the graphic comics on which “The Walking Dead” is based, Negan has a harem of “wives”. Like Trump, Negan pretty much thinks he can manhandle women and use them as toys. I am not making any jokes about this subject. The metaphor to Trump’s admitted aggressive advances on women is pungent and profound.
And that is my question. Is this an allegory to events in our world, which would most likely look like a horror story to anyone living in the mid-1990’s who had access to a time machine? Are the writers and producers of this magnificent show trying to tell us that a Trump reign will be nothing more than a madman with an army of violent followers who embolden him to indulge every whim?
The team behind the television show do the best they can to follow what happens in the comics. Was it just a fortunate happenstance that Negan was due to make a television appearance days before the presidential election is held?
Consider the episode that just aired this past Sunday. Having trapped The Group in a wooded area, Negan and his army (called The Saviors in the comics) terrorizes them by making them kneel idly as he uses a baseball bat enmeshed with barbed wire to bludgeon two of The Group to death. After, he takes Rick, the leader of The Group, on an RV ride that breaks Rick’s will. The purpose is explained at the end of episode. The Group is to give Negan half of their stuff.
This is where the show is going. The zombies will always be a part of a zombie apocalypse. But TWD is now about something else. It is about cults of personality creating a new world order. It is about men of strength gathering the weak and willing to the worst angels of their nature. Armies form under despots and do their bidding. The weak are used for whatever resources they have and their lives discarded. No depth of feeling. No a priori desire to show kindness to others. No higher purpose beyond the cheap thrill of making others submit to your commands.
Have you seen a Trump rally? I have watched way too many on C-SPAN. I use social networking to watch videos of those who attend these rallies. They spew bile. They regurgitate untrue talking points that drip out of Trump’s mouth with reckless abandonment. They verbally assault the media members assigned to follow Trump. They wear shirts and hold placards with misogynistic, xenophobic and just flat out vulgar platitudes. They are bitter, undereducated, volatile and too obliging in being sycophants to the charlatan that has duped them.
Trump’s supporters are deplorable.
This is the world we will be thrust into if this unhinged madman attains the unparalleled political power that is clothed in the office of President of the United States. Electing this lunatic will only embolden his supporters to continue their uncouth, insolent behavior. Electing Trump validates his behavior. Validating his behavior gives the bullies that helped ascend him to power a sense of autonomy that will be the death of civility in a country that can barely take five seconds to think of other people. Trump will embed in America a prevailing attitude that all sociopathic conduct is acceptable so long as you win.
Trump is Negan. Negan is Trump. Steal what you can. Kill who you want. Take whatever grabs your fancy. So long as you have an army willing to fight your battles and extol your vices as tools of success, you can go as far as a charismatic personality and a smattering of ingenuity can take you.
Trump learned this lesson well. He is an elitist who rarely ever gets his hands dirty. He would no sooner eat bar-b-q with the rubes he woos than he would mud wrestle a pig. But he blows that dog whistle and they come, like zombies, to his call. The world must be a better place than the ones Trump and Negan wish to rule. Or is it?