The 2016 election: Or, how we came to enter the twilight zone

If there is one thing this election cycle has taught us so far, it is that something, somewhere has gone askew in our nation’s politics. We are finding ourselves inching ever closer to the all-too-real possibility of a Trump presidency, which may or may not be one of the seven seals that will usher in the Apocalypse.

What we can be sure about, however, is that somehow, somewhere in our recent history, things have taken a steady and precipitous slide off a cliff. I would like to point out two examples I’ve come across these past few weeks that may shed some light on the current political situation we find ourselves in. I will present the following without comment, just let them sink in for a minute.

* * *

The first: The Republican debate—Thursday, March 3.

Donald Trump, current GOP frontrunner and potentially the future leader of our nation, to whom we will be giving the nuclear codes, defends, on national television, the size of his penis. The quote: “[Marco Rubio] referred to my hands—’If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”

* * *

The second: Antonio Vasquez, a warlock in Mexico, predicted that Trump will not be the next president of the United States. The quote: “Two triangles of spades! The man has countless problems. And see, here is the devil himself! He will never become candidate for the Republican Party. And there’s more! I’m certain that in December,Trump will fall into a nervous crisis and will probably have to be sent to a psychiatric hospital.”

* * *

These two episodes, while both revolving around the candidacy of Trump for president of the United States, appear at first to be unrelated. And yet, when examined closely side-by-side, as two separate-yet-not-entirely-unrelated events occurring in the same week, a familiar pattern emerges.

This same pattern appears in many classic episodes of The Twilight Zone (now streaming on Netflix!).

1) We are introduced to a situation and a social order that appears perfectly normal and ordinary.
2) Something happens in the course of events that causes an aberration, a shift in the normal series of events.
3) We find ourselves in what is obliquely referred to as the Twilight Zone, a sort of alternate reality/dimension in which the normal is temporarily suspended, allowing us to glimpse a deeper reality beneath the surface.

That we, as a nation, have somehow veered off into an alternate dimension should by now be considered a matter of course. Pinpointing the exact moment this occurred, however, is a much more difficult question. How can we locate it in the historical record? What are the clues? Here we begin to wade into some murky speculative territory.

Trying to locate a time that is unambiguously sane in our history is more difficult than one might imagine. It seems easy at first, but becomes almost impossible when you actually try to do it. Try this thought experiment: Locate a time in our history that shows us to be a completely reasonable and unambiguously sane nation.

Conventional wisdom would say, for example, that any time of sanity would be found sometime pre-9/11, pre-War on Terror. And yet post-9/11 we managed to keep Sarah Palin out of the White House. Not a startling feat, to be sure, but at least a moment of lucidity.

Prior to 9/11, we can rule out the entire Cold War era for obvious reasons (duck and cover, the entire mutually assured destruction thing, etc). Ditto on any time in our history where slavery was a legal institution. This leaves, perhaps, one isolated island of national sanity sometime between the early-to-late 1990s. Maybe.

The important thing to do now, of course, is to sit back and watch the further unraveling of our national sanity, which, let’s face it, could be kinda fun. I, for one, look forward to President Trump nominating Hulk Hogan to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court (his “XTREME COURT!!” nomination, if you will).

We will be able to view, live on C-SPAN, Justice Hulk Hogan (which does have a nice ring to it) deliver the court’s dissenting opinion in the form of a piledriver to Chief Justice Roberts, followed by a folding-chair to the forehead (like, how did a folding chair even GET here in the courtroom? *shrugs*)

And like most episodes of The Twilight Zone, things eventually go back to normal at the end. Though the future remains unwritten, there is at least one warlock in Mexico who seems to think it’ll turn out for the best.