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Fiction, Fantasy, or Fear Mongering?

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Message E. T. SIMON
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Fiction: Narrative writing drawn from the imagination of the author rather than
from history or fact.

Fantasy: Though sometimes used as the equivalent of Fancy, or even imagination,
Fantasy is usually employed to designate a conscious breaking free from reality.
The term is applied to a work which takes place in a non-existent and unreal world,
or employs scientific principles not yet discovered, or contrary to present experience,
As in science fiction.

A Handbook to Literature by C. Hugh Holman - Third Edition

Our friend Daniel had emergency surgery earlier this week to drain the infection which caused his knee to swell up like a blimp. Daniel is one of those people who, liked by everyone, is what some people call, "a ham". A fact, which, Daniel says, caused some conflict at the hospital when his roommate complained that the nurses were paying too much attention to the care of Daniel and hardly any to his.

While at the hospital, I noticed a book on Daniel's hospital table.

Earlier, when I phoned to see if he was feeling up to having visitors, Daniel said that his hospital stay was giving him plenty of time to read, a fact which puzzled me, as I have never known Daniel to be a man who likes to read [he is more of an action type guy], and, yes, he would welcome visitors.

Seated on the chair across from his hospital bed, I could see the paperback on his table, and wondering what sort of book it was, I asked what the book was about. He said, "It is about a democratic president who is told by his aides, that Hamas plans to cause the eruption and explosion of a volcano in the Canary Island""and that such an explosion would create a most powerful tsunami, which, in turn, would wipe out the entire east coast of the United States." He added that, "in the story, the president being a democratic president, he really doesn't want to believe what his advisors, or the generals [in the Pentagon?] are telling him about this Hamas plot; he doesn't want to hear it because he doesn't believe in the possibility of such a thing happening, and because he doesn't believe it can happen he doesn't want to do anything to stop it. He does not believe it can happen, so the generals are meeting to plot against their democratic president to see how they can keep this catastrophic event from happening ...."

Daniel's telling of the story managed to hook my political soul.

The book seemed to be extrapolating some of the 9/11 facts, twisting and spinning these facts around a democratic president, and creating a fantasy or fantastic world around them while sprinkling some sort of "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" flavoring on it.

Was this a blatant attempt to discredit democrats and democratic leadership in the U.S.A? Was it a blatant attempt to paint the democratic leadership as "soft on terror so as to keep Bush and the Republicans in power?" I wondered.

My head took a spin.

The plot, while fantastic, sounded very credible to Daniel in the wake of 9/11. It also sounded, to me, much like the plot of someone who had found a way to smear and, who, intent on smearing the democrats took each one of George W. Bush's failures, transferred them into a fictional character, dressed that character in a democratic suit, sat him in the oval office under a democratic presidency and, attempted to correct Bush's failures by making the Republicans in the book the heroes of the story. The more I listened to Daniel, the more the plot sounded like the plot of someone who was writing a story to spread, for George W. Bush, the Bush policy of fear mongering. It certainly spoke to Daniel's heart and the message he received in it was that Democrats are soft on terrorism, that he would not be safe in an America in which there is a democratic president; that a democratic presidency endangers the world and that safety to the homeland and the world can only come from republicans and a republican president.

It was as if this work of science fiction had become, in Daniel's mind as I heard him tell it, a message from the Bush propaganda machine, warning the people of the evils lurking out in the world, evils which only a George W. Bush, symbolized in the book by a Republican suited General, could stop.

Daniel is a Bush Republican. Actually, he became a Bush Republican after 9/11/2001. He was converted to Bushistan as a result of the emotionalism and nationalistic fervor displayed by the Bush propaganda machine after 9/11 and by the patriotic fervor which overtook the country then and continues to surface any time Bush pushes its emotional button.

At the hospital, and as we continued to talk about the book, I was troubled that anyone would use a work of fiction, fantasy, or science fiction to, intentionally or not, play so blatantly with the minds and hearts of people like Daniel, instilling the fear and distrust in them of any democrat and their democratic presidency. It seemed Machiavellian and malevolent.

"Daniel, this has already happened." I said.

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