“No one would have believed that in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s…No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger.”
These are opening words to H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, a science fiction classic about Martians invading Earth. In 1938 Orson Welles broadcast a radio adaptation of the story, presented as live news of an alien invasion taking place in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey — Martians landing and invading right now! The show was so believable that some listeners started to panic.
1938 War of the Worlds, dramatic delivery of an imaginary problem results in panic.
1692 Salem Witch Trials, dramatic delivery of an imaginary problem results in lethal assaults on neighbors.
1950’s McCarthyism, dramatic delivery of an imaginary problem results in shunning professionals.
2020’s Republican MAGA factionalism, dramatic delivery of the imaginary idea they are more patriotic, honest, divine than everyone else. The result is anyone who disagrees, receives threats of violence and death. Declaring they have won a patriotism purity contest they didn’t tell anyone else about, is the biggest imagination problem there is. Except one — the goal of turning accusations against fellow Americans from imagination to reality. Unbelievable conspiracy theories repeated until one by one, people start to believe.
These events call for deciding. Agree, disagree, or laugh it off as, “That can’t be real?” Does it make you want to vote? Feel like your vote doesn’t matter, they’re all the same? So many feelings presented as issues. Republicans told to feel democrats are the devil. Democrats told to feel the republicans are having hallucinations. Neither the devil nor hallucinations are legislative issues.
Reality is that your vote matters. Would you elect a candidate who presents conspiracy theories as real? Issues are debatable, conspiracy theories are not. They are imaginary. Their definition can change mid sentence, as the speaker reads audience response. We The People are not theories, we are neighbors, going to work and raising our families like everyone else. Reducing our different perspectives as Americans, to imaginary “culture wars” is not helpful.
Reality is the foundation for our lives, allowing our imaginations to soar to unknown heights. Another rocket full of astronauts took off for space on October 8, 2022, just before I started writing this story. Affordable housing, education and jobs are the tool for support each of us needs to plan and reach our goals in life. What a comfort it is that conspiracy theorists are so supported by reality that they have leisure time to make stuff up.
Reality is, according to the Crime Dashboard on maryland.gov, that crime is statistically trending toward decline here in Frederick County, Maryland. Proclaiming “support the police!” distracts from quality-of-life issues, tools for crime prevention.
Democratic leadership around the country, shows commitment to America by fighting for and passing legislation to address the economy, opioids, mental health, job creation, our supply chain, and manufactured goods that are Made in America — real issues.
The CHIPS and Science Act, which President Biden signed into law in August 2022, includes investment in American manufacturing. Funding that means support for supply chain sensitive products. Semiconductor chips can and will be manufactured in towns across the country. We should not have to rely solely on necessities being shipped across an ocean from Taiwan or anywhere else. In the first jobs report of 2023 America has the highest job rate in 50 years.
In transportation infrastructure, Rep. David Trone, here in Maryland, secured a combined $268,615,000 to complete work on U.S. 15, I-68 Viaduct, U.S. 220 and, finally, U.S. 219 North, which will complete the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) through Trone’s “Finish the ADHS Act” included in the IIJA. The latter project has gone unfinished for decades, now Democrats have done the work to get it funded.
Reality is that Democrats in the twenty first century have their focus on the economic needs of the country — Country First.
Reality is that good legislation means real solutions for bringing manufacturing back to America, highly skilled great paying jobs to places like Hagerstown here in Maryland, supporting infrastructure, protecting the supply chain, funding mental health support for police.
Our American society and democratic system are strong because of individual independence. Democrats advocate for economic and infrastructure tools that each of us can use to make our own decisions. Debate on investing tax revenue in us — We the People — is debate we need. While we wait for the GOP to stop being distracted by conspiracy promoters, we need economic tools for every American.
Reality is that many people face huge problems, same as you and me. Challenges faced alone, or as a community, sometimes solutions work, everyone’s declared a hero. Or, they don’t and we are all the devil. But afterwards, we all, elected officials too, go to work and put on a brave face. I have confidence that we can have patience with each other.
The day after War of the Worlds aired, lots of people were pretty angry for being conned. How about we decide to vote for people who are focused on real solutions and let the conspiracy crowd sort out their feelings away from the legislature.
Reality is that our vote is one thing we still have. And every two years we have big things to vote on.
It is up to each of us to vote for reality.
Some of my stories are published in the Emmitsburg News Journal and the Woodsboro Walkersville News Journal. Some are edited for local vs national topics. You can read the News Journal archive here.
Thank you for reading my story
In my day job, I restore family photographs. Each family story shows the importance of learning history and sharing stories. On Medium, I write about our human nature, my experiences, and episodes in our collective story. Part of my story is that I am a founding board member of Kitsune, Inc., 501c3 non-profit. We work on creative solutions for independent living for adults with developmental disabilities, but without an intellectual disability — our fellow citizens who fall through the cracks in our social safety net.
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