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Fear On The Campaign Trail

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Stewart Nusbaumer
Message Stewart Nusbaumer

By Stewart Nusbaumer

Columbia, South Carolina -- Life has its vicious contractions, ridiculous oxymorons, and hilarious impossibilities. Seldom, however, are they bundled together into one outrageous package. Underestimating the mysterious mental illness residing in the whacked brains of editors is a serious mistake. These people don't need drugs, they need brains.

"Drop me a note or post as a diary or article or a series of stories on how to love a right winger," was my editor's latest light bulb of insanity, "Oh, and have a great day."

Love a right winger? Have a great day? Sure, no problem. Editors get their kicks in life by handing out impossible assignments to their helpless, exploited scribblers. And I just got mine.

OK, first you need to start the day on a cold metal operating table, preferably with health insurance. You will need a quick lobotomy! But don't worry about lunch. With cognition ripped from your mental capacity you'll have no complaints about lunch. Even the spinach that has turned orange! As for the sadistic nurses chatting away down the hall, ignoring your screams and incoherent begging -- what is left of your brain will feel like it's being blowtorched -- no problem. Morality doesn't exist for you anymore, like it never existed for those nurses. Without the ability to think, your ability to make moral judgments has vanished. So the nurses will ignore you.

But let's look at the good side. Feelings such as compassion and empathy and love are now nonexistent. Thoughts like justice and freedom and progress are completely gone. You're no longer bothered by silly idealism. You are now free! You are in the Land of the Free!

Within a week of your liberating lobotomy, you will be assigned a handler who will lead you around the grounds of your new and very limited mental compound. You will learn to love the words of your "brother." Although unable to understand why, you will accept everything wrong is your fault and that you need to be punished. And most important, you will accept without question -- no problem, since you can no longer question -- there is a compassionate and loving God who is thinking about you. Sure God will zap you if you even have the slightest sliver of the thought that maybe God isn't always so nice, but you will remember -- although remembering anything isn't really possible anymore -- God is always fair.

I'm sure that by this point you are following right along with me and understanding how we can love right-wingers. All you have to do is cut yourself off from your humanity. This can be done on a hospital operating table or in a church pew or on the sofa watching FOX News. They all wield razor-sharp scalpels to reduce you to an ugly beast in the jungle of mindless society.

In America today, separation from what makes us human is not really a problem -- well, for half of Americans. That half obsessed with religion and babbling on and on about Jesus Christ while getting their straightjacket propaganda through an ideological straw on one dimwitted TV channel. These are the Americans who year after year are successful - stunningly successful, I should add -- in separating themselves from brain and morality as they walk around fuming with hate and have plastered on their face a crap-eating smile. You know that look.

And now you know why Red America is called Red America. It's from the blood of the American operating table.

It's early and I'm sitting at a corner table in a nearly empty cafe'. Nearby eleven men sit around several tables pulled together. Their discussion circles the table, each man has an opportunity to speak. Speak about what? Speak about what they should pray for. One man wants everyone to pray for his neighbor, who is having financial and emotional problems. Another man wants everyone to pray for a woman who is going to Africa as a missionary. Another man, sitting at the top of the table and who appears to be the discussion leader, complains the IRS is hounding him. I guess he wants everyone to pray that the IRS is quickly vaporized. Eventually all eleven men bow their heads and pray.

"I used to think getting here at 7 AM was horrible," a short man with a large black mustache says, "now I run here every morning!"

"We are all in the same trial and tribulations," says a heavy set man with baseball cap pulled low. "We are together in this, brothers!"

"God is always here," another man interjects.

What I find most upsetting about these men is they look so normal. They sound rational, even articulate. The fact is, I can't see their lobotomies! No scares on the outside, only devastation on the inside. Raging madness concealed behind the appearance of normality. What can be more scary?

"Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" a man dressed in a suit with a Marine Corps lapel pin asks walking past me. I look into his glowing blue eyes. "If the Lord tells you to do something--"

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Stewart Nusbaumer is a journalist and writer. He is currently on the campaign trail writing a book on the "endless campaign." He has written for numerous print publications and online magazines.
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