Watching the new Donald Trump reality show has brought to mind one of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies. With a little impish imagination, I can see the drama being played out between Trump and the Republican Party having a curious similarity to the movie plot.
Here's a quick synopsis of Forbidden Planet, the classic from 1956:
In the 23rd century an expedition from earth travels to a distant planet to learn what became of a previous expedition. They find a survivor, a scientist, who tells them about a highly evolved race (the Krell) whom once inhabited the planet, but had mysteriously disappeared. They learn of an enormous atomic powered machine, built by the Krell, capable of materializing anything imagined. Thus, it is possible to form and project matter with the power of thought.
But there's a problem (no doubt). While projections could result from thoughts in the conscious mind, the same could be spawned by the unconscious mind. While the Krell built a culture which on the outside appeared orderly and beneficial, inwardly there was a massive amount of pent-up destructive desire which coalesced in the society's collective unconscious to create an "Id Monster", an indestructible energy force which inevitably turned on them and ultimately wiped them out.
Using the film as an analogy, the GOP then represents the Krell and Donald Trump is the Id Monster, the manifestation of the Party's repressed dark side which cannot be contained or controlled. The harder the party has tried to hold it back, the bigger and more powerful it has become, until finally bursting forth with full defiant, unapologetic, narcissistic, misogynistic and misanthropic force. It first appeared diffuse as the Tea Party, and now in its concentrated perfection as a Presidential candidate.
Just as the Id Monster was created from the Krell's own repressed but powerful desires, Trump is a monster of the Republican Party's own making, created from the energies of its essential destructive truth, buried beneath the veneer of deceptive talking points and slick sound bites.
Publicly, the party talks a good game, hitting all the right notes in an attempt to convince voters of its inclusiveness and concern for the wellbeing of all Americans. It claims to have seen the light and promises to repent of its politically harmful ways.
But there remains another side, the covert and dangerously repressed side of the Republican psyche. Behind closed doors, in the belly of the base, the same old GOP lurks, stubbornly unrepentant, hostile toward those who are different, afraid of anything that departs from the "way God intended".
It's here, in the belly, where the party's collective unconscious has coalesced to bring forth its own version of the Id Monster, the Donald.
It will be interesting to see how the script plays out. Will the monster succeed in destroying all challengers and become the Party's torch bearer? Will he split the party and wipe out all hope for a Republican in the White House? Or will he decide to seek out another stage where his illusions of grandeur can be acted out?
No matter the outcome, everybody loses. Both Trump and the Republican Party miss out on an opportunity to serve voters by confronting their demons honestly and openly. Doing so could then open the possibility of constructing policy positions that actually serve the country and not just the party or one man's vanity. A GOP centered on a platform that puts people before the Party would be a worthy opponent, providing Democrats with an opportunity to sharpen their own positions, all for the good of the country.
Of course, this is not likely to happen, and as always, the greatest loss belongs to the citizens of the USA.
(Article changed on August 12, 2015 at 22:04)
(Article changed on August 12, 2015 at 22:07)
(Article changed on August 13, 2015 at 14:05)