Friday, April 17, 2020
Hand the baby to Fireman Joe
You wake to the scream of a smoke alarm in a bedroom filled with dense black smoke. Gasping, you roll onto the floor and belly-crawl to the baby’s room. There, you reach up, eyes stinging, and pluck the howling tot from her crib. Trying to leave, you are driven back by flames sprouting in the hallway you had just left. At that moment an axe crashes through the window, a burst of broken glass, noise, light and air. Through the shattered window frame steps a firefighter in full mask, helmet, and bunker gear. He reaches out his gloved hands. You:
A) Crawl as fast as you can toward the flames.
B) Ask him how he scored on his physical.
C) Hand him the baby.
If you answered “A” you are a Trump Republican, yearning for four more years of institution- and morality-scorching conflagration that, in some fashion I’ve stopped trying to comprehend, makes you feel good about yourself and your country. You like the flames of American freedoms and traditions burning to ash — they’re pretty — and you don’t perceive any harm because, when you’re not oohing at the fire, you’re gawping at Fox News, lost in the pyrotechnic fantasy display they’re putting on.
If you picked ”B,” quiz the fireman, you are like many automatic pilot Democrats right now who, slow to accept the obvious situation (house burning down) cling to past rituals of long-vanished normality. (Exactly who is this fellow I’m handing my baby to?) They’re busy kicking the tires of the fire truck, musing: “Fireman Joe ... he’s not exactly young, is he? How is he on ladders? Let’s pick apart that assault accusation from 1993 ...” Parsing the details so closely they never bother to look up at the guy he’s running against, someone accused of worse by dozens of women. Ignoring the flames licking the doorframe, they focus on the carpet. It could use a vacuuming!
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