Dorothea Mordan’s Good Day Neighbor Column, 11/2022.
“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…