November 15, 2016 Service
“Service” is the name of this week’s The Walking Dead episode. I thought that the power struggle between Negan and Rick was a good subtext for the election this year and the subsequent fallout.
Tuesday night Trump took the lead. I went to bed feeling depressed and anxious. Ray stayed up for a while watching the election coverage. The next morning I woke up to find Trump had indeed won. My first reaction was shock. I couldn’t believe that America had chosen that loud mouthed bigoted idiot as our President. In fact, when he first announced the he was running last year, I thought it was a joke.
It took me a while to wrap my head around why someone like him would appeal to so many people. His supporters like that he speaks his mind. They find it refreshing. It is preferable to empty promises and political correctness. Admittedly, it has become increasingly difficult to implement any real change in the way the government gets things done. Polarization has paralyzed US as people and, in turn, our country. Trump supporters see him as someone who gets stuff done. Hillary, unfortunately, has been viewed as more the same.
Trump supporters tend to vilify Hillary Clinton though. While I don’t like her as a person, I still think she was better for job. She had more experience and the better resume. But Trump supporters picked on everything from her lies to very identity as a woman. Although many women supported Hillary, there were many conservative women who just didn’t.
For some reason, Trump’s sexist comments were easily excused or overlooked. People rationalized that he was a typical man speaking in a way that most men feared to. Supporters brushed off his racist remarks as colorful language. The sad truth is that a large part of America is sexist and racist even if they don’t want to admit it. Yes, some embrace their prejudice openly, while others are willfully blind to it.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the highly charged police shootings. The Ferguson Riots and other recent incidents have revealed some very ugly behavior and beliefs in Americans. We want to believe ourselves to be enlightened, educated and tolerant. We want to provide a united front to the world, but we are a deeply divided nation. Our differences are exacerbated by economic disparities. The majority of people are poor, uneducated and intolerant. The thing is, they were made poor by Trump and people like him—people who were opportunistic and selfish. People who put profit first have eroded the foundation created by our forefathers. People should come first—not profit.
Just as I was wrapping my head around what had happened, the waters became muddied again. There were angry protests. People were threatening to move to Canada and burning flags. Meanwhile, Trump supporters were calling protesters cry babies. I felt like it really was a case of blaming the victim though.
Conservatives rant, railed and whined about Obama the past eight years. They slammed him repeatedly and tried to undermine him at every turn. They questioned his nationality, his race and his religion frequently. And yet, when Liberals complain about Trump, Conservatives make them feel like crap for doing so. People say protestors are immature and that their discontent changes anything. Essentially, women and minorities are being told to shut up and accept the oppression to come.
In Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, Negan shows up in Alexandria to wage Psychological Warfare on Rick and the others. He forces Rick to hold Lucille while he and his gang pillage the settlement. They take all kinds of things—including all the guns and most of mattresses. They threatened to kill the inventory girl Olivia when two guns were found to be missing. Rick faithfully found them and handed them over. Carl and Michonne were having a difficult time submitting to Negan’s in your face domination and demands. Rick was compliant, but you could tell that the he wanted nothing more than to bash Negan’s head in with Lucille. He didn’t though. He was trying to protect those he loved. He couldn’t bear any more losses. The fear of the death of more loved ones broke Rick’s warrior spirit.
It seems only the writers are looking at the big picture. They are setting up to take Negan down. Daryl is witnessing the crumbling of The Saviors from the inside. Carol is witnessing the power of the Kingdom. And Maggie will probably end up leading The Hilltop and using their forces to attack Negan as well. Something similar happened in the comics after all. Still, the characters seem painfully unaware of the convergence happening. Negan can be defeated, but only if they all work together.
I see Trump as the Charismatic Tyrant taking power like Negan. He seems himself as a sort of Savior of the American People. Rick is representative of the American People—somehow brutal and yet caring. He has been on top for a long time, but suddenly finds himself powerless. However, there is still hope for a better life.
And there is still hope for a better America. There may be dark and difficult times to come, but it may lead to something better in the end. Americans need to start looking at the bigger picture and preparing for conflict. As much as we want peace and tolerance right now—the truth is that we may have to fight for it.