When I started watching AMC’s The Walking Dead, I was disgusted and shocked and completely addicted right away. It’s truly a perfect guilty pleasure. Over and over the glaring plot holes and inconsistencies meet with the dependence on blood and guts over all else to provide me with an edge of the seat, turn your brain off and relax kind of tv experience. In the beginning the people who are not zombies have a very clear sense of right and wrong. They protect their own, but accept others into the mix pretty easily. They are still human. As more die, as more people take advantage, they slowly start to operate by different rules, they slowly become less human and I with them. After a while I know that it’s stupid to allow new people to come in, to trust people. I am with them in telling people to go away, in saying that they need to kill the living sometimes more readily than the dead. When one of the children isn’t accepting reality, i thought that someone needed to slap her and wake her up or she was going to get herself killed. There is a lot of talk about the way the world used to be and how it is now; about what it means to keep humanity in this new world. Somewhere in the midst of watching season six it started to hit me. This is why Trump is so popular.
Sometimes at night my husband and I sit around and try to figure out who the hell is voting for Trump. Why, why, why? I get it now. Somewhere in the midst of this relatively safe world that we live in, many have been convinced that we live in a world like the Walking Dead. Somehow people believe that everyday is life and death and we have to go to extreme measures to make sure that we are the ones who make it back alive. In the minds of many Trump supporters, these are days like a post-apocalyptic world. These people are convinced that allowing strangers to come in is threatening that they will rape and bomb and kill us all. Perhaps they even respect his brash honesty, even though it exposes him as a total asshole, simply because they feel they have no time to waste in these harrowing days. The people who support him know who’s in and who’s out with him making it easy to identify him as a leader or an enemy. In short, it’s a savage attraction built by fear for many.
As for some, it’s like it is for me and The Walking Dead. I don’t care that when it convenient the dead can only walk, and when it’s scarier they can run. I don’t care if sometimes they can pick up dolls or rocks and turn doorknobs and others they run stupidly into walls and spikes. I love it when my favorite characters are in a no-win situation and face certain death and all the sudden, completely implausibly, someone saves them. I don’t care if it makes no logical sense, that there is no consistency, that it’s all a lie, because it’s entertaining. I find the show just so damn entertaining. Donald Trump is certainly the best at putting on an entertaining show. Turn on any debate and watch him insult people’s hair, looks, hands, and wives. Listen to him spout off a hundred lies that so many people wish were true so bad, they just believe them. I want to believe that my favorite characters live, even though if there were any truth to the story they wouldn’t, just like the Donald sheep believe that we can “Make America Great Again” without any plan, any path, any proof that a. America sucks and b. that it can be what we hope- a utopia of non-standard appearance and simply lacking all the things that scare or offend you. I understand it, I just disagree.
The only ones I have no comprehension of are the Christians. The Bible studying Christians like my own family. My husband heard a lady give an impassioned and sometimes choked up speech about how God has changed Trump’s heart. She said that Trump is going to save them from the Muslims and Mexicans. I say them because they ain’t hurting me none. (Yeah, let’s forget I said that.) My father-in-law and brother-in-law are of the type that believe that immigrants and Muslims are going to ruin our country too. They are both Christians, but they at least don’t try to justify Trump with the Bible. They just think that Syrian refugees are really disguised killers and Mexicans are stealing all our jobs. But this brand of Christians who believe that Donald Trump is actually pro-life, that the Bible is his favorite book, that “two Corinthians” is a totally common way of citing his favorite verse. How these people can see Christ and rally behind Donald Trump who will “bomb the hell out of” whole countries, who will torture and kill families of suspected terrorists, who insults, demeans, lies, and undoubtedly worships money blows my mind! Does the gravity of his words not settle in their skin? Do they not understand that this is Hitler? Do they not remember Japanese interment camps? Do they not understand what looking to an entire group of people by their religious affiliation or race and saying that they have to be eliminated is? Do they not remember the last leader to declare that he deport an entire religion/race from his country to purify it? But beyond that, how do look at who Christ was and is and name Trump your leader? I do not understand this at all.
Fascism is a necessary evil in the world of The Walking Dead, where hesitation will surely kill you and the leader knows best every aspect of a daily struggle for life. Democracy is messy and lengthy and inconvenient and if it’s done right, no one is entirely satisfied. People are sick of that. People want to get exactly what they want even if it means that others get screwed. Let’s be perfectly clear though. That is not what made America great. It’s Lincoln giving up his own slaves, which surely made his life easier, because it was right and was the consensus. It’s welcoming immigrants, “give us your poor, tired, and hungry.” It’s accepting “not their best” because we know that diversity is what makes us dynamically strong. We were about accepting their weakest, their poorest, their sickest. That is what we asked for. There is a reason we prefer alloys. There is a reason they are stronger more durable. We do not live in the desperate world of The Walking Dead, but the one thing we can take away from it is this: “We can make it together, but only together.”
And just so you can breathe again after that terrifying array. I give you John Oliver.