Well, I’m searching for something that reflects accurately the emotion evoked in me by this election result. When the past year was ongoing, it was the ending of Hitchcock’s The Birds that seemed the apt metaphor for what I was witnessing, and the emotional alienation it evoked: creatures I thought I knew (not birds, in this case, but Americans), I didn’t know at all. I also found myself turning for understanding to Umberto Eco’s 1995 essay on Ur-Fascism (Eco grew up in Mussolini’s Italy).
So now, what seems right for this post-election moment? I sincerely hope to be utterly wrong about this, and that Trump makes for a normal, if eccentric, American president, but I fear that the ending of the Trump era is going to culminate in something like this: the head-shaking, sobering conclusion to the 1968 version of The Planet of the Apes. Immediately prior to this scene in the film, Dr Zeus, just before Taylor heads by horse into a forbidden desert, is warned off with the words, “Don’t do it, Taylor. You won’t like what you find.”
Let’s pray for no Cuban Missile Crisis on Trump’s watch–but it’s difficult not to expect one. After the irrationality that brought us to this point, what makes us think it will stop here, and go no further?