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  • March 22nd, 2017

WONDERLAND

By Joel M. Vance

Maybe it’s paranoia but I keep having this feeling that I’m being watched. I don’t know how to explain it but even walking around the house I have a feeling that I’m under observation. Various appliances have begun whispering behind my back.
For example the other day I walked by our microwave. And a voice said, “no more American apple pie, enemy of the people! We have our eye on you. “
“What am I to do?” I exclaimed querulously. “I have to eat!”
“Not American food for you! Borscht only.”
It’s everywhere. I tried to open the car door with the remote key and a little voice spoke in a heavy European accent, “you go when we want you to. We know that you been writing to Congressman complaining about influential politicians and their oil deals with our friends. No more of that!” With that the car door clicked open and I popped in a CD of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. The CD player promptly spit it on the floor. I figured there was no reason to try Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee.
According to Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s spokesperson for alternative fact, our appliances are spying on us. This may sound like science fiction or possibly mental illness, but Trump and Conway wouldn’t lie to us would they? She maintains that our microwave ovens actually are cameras, sending information probably directly to Democratic national headquarters. I do well to get my microwave to heat up leftover spaghetti, much less creating a photo album.
On the other hand, Just when I thought alternative truth could not get stranger than fiction, comes the news that a certain brand of vibrator has been transmitting user information back to the parent company. And here I thought that Kellyanne Conway was totally psychotic when it turns out that she’s just mostly psychotic. After all what is an ICBM except a gigantic vibrator with nuclear capabilities. Just look at the phallic shape of the thing? Is that accidental design, or purpose.
Even as we speak today, in a secret room in Pyongyang, North Korea, computer experts are huddled about a monitor reading the transmissions from the crotch of Donald Trump’s latest amorous acquisition. And all this time you thought it was Russia who was reading our most intimate secrets. The term “laptop computer” has taken on new significance for every computer geek in the world.
According to Donald Trump, well-known expert in the interception of delicate information, the culprit likely is a 400 pound man sitting on a bed somewhere. If that isn’t enough to creep out anyone, I don’t know what is. Even Kellyanne, as creepy as she is, likely would be bumfuzzled by that thought.
But then, who thought a serial bridegroom, a person who brags about his ability to grope women because he’s famous and can get away with anything, who lies as casually as most people get out of bed in the morning, could be elected the president of the United States?
Not to get even more literary, but a while back I compared today’s political situation to the land of Oz. But I’ve come to think of it more as the land down the rabbit hole into which little Alice fell. I visualized a tea party at the White House with Steve Bannon as the Mad Hatter, Betsy DeVos as the Dormouse, snoozing through cabinet meetings because, awake ,she has absolutely no idea what’s going on. The white rabbit could be any other cabinet member, continually dithering, running into each other in confusion, absolutely baffled by what their job entails. Conway of course would be the red Queen bellowing, “off with their heads!”
As for Trump himself I visualized him as the Cheshire cat, slyly vanishing into Trump Tower for yet another round of insane tweets. Or perhaps he is the slithy tove who gyred and gimbled in the wabe. Somehow the word ‘slithy” seems to sum up this slippery con man who holds the future of the country in his sweaty little fingers.
My candidate for Alice in this Trumpian Wonderland would be German Chancellor Angela Merkel who paid a courtesy visit to Trump Tower, a.k.a. the White House, and was treated like a losing contestant on Celebrity Apprentice. The sulky Trump glowered and was so rude that I expected him to serve her a state dinner consisting of a pickle and cheese sandwich on white bread accompanied by a diet Seven Up.
Ms. Merkel must’ve thought she was trapped in some sort of Teutonic nightmare, a grotesque scene out of the 1930s, Trump Tower as the Reischstag. She was surrounded by figures alarmingly reminiscent of figures from history books: Steve Bannon as the modern Hermann Goering, Sean Spicer as Joseph Goebbels reincarnated. I can imagine her murmuring sadly, “I thought we got over all that.” And over all a pudgy would be dictator who imagines himself ruler of the universe.
The clown president maintains that Germany and our other allies owe us ”vast sums” of money for all the good things we’ve done for them over the years. He treats the world as if it were another of his companies–and in fact, fumbled the word“ country” by calling it “company”, as if it were another of his failing ventures that he could do with what he does with all his failing ventures, refuse to pay his workers and then declare bankruptcy.
Speaking of owing money, when will the country wake up to the cost of maintaining the president and his family in the style to which they seem to feel they are entitled? The president has been on a golfing weekend 10 times in the first eight weeks of his presidency and, as I write, his entire family is on a skiing vacation in Aspen, Colorado, apparently at taxpayer expense. One estimate is that each of Trump’s golf outings costs an estimated half million dollars, and the ski junket for his outlandish family allegedly involves up to 100 Secret Service agents, none of whom is working for free.
Last night I ate at a local restaurant and in the middle of the crowded room at a table by himself was an old man, grumpy of face, grizzled of cheek wearing a ball cap with the word Trump prominent across the crown. I told my wife and son, “there sits what’s wrong with America today.” The old man glowered at his food as if he suspected it had been prepared by Democrats. Perhaps he was, in actuality, someone’s beloved grandfather, actually a kindly old gentleman suffused by love.
But I know the type. They are endemic to conservative middle America— narrow minded, bigoted, against government in any form, opposed to social progress, suspicious of and basically opposed to education, mean-spirited and gut level nasty. They voted for Donald Trump because he represents what they would like to be—powerful enough to stomp into the mud anyone who disagrees with them. They resent anyone who is not true blue American ,i.e .anyone who is not white, alt-right, and devoted to every word spoken by Rush Limbaugh.
I’ll bet the old son of a bitch didn’t even leave a tip.

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