, March 2020

They watch now, like they did when JFK was shot, only back then everyone was watching the same reality, narrated by Uncle Walter.

They watched every night as over 58,000 American soldiers were being killed in a jungle on the other side of the world. They watched when the followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini took 52 Americans hostage and held them prisoner for 444 days. They watched when a man named Wolf reported from a hotel balcony that American fighter planes were storming Iraq as green missile trails streaked across the sky behind him like a fireworks show gone awry. They watched planes fly into the Twin Towers over and over again, a clip that would continue to loop in their minds long after the television was turned off. They watched as the U.S. invaded Iraq again, but did not find weapons of mass destruction. They watched as the economy collapsed after Wall Street started selling toxic mortgage debt as an investment opportunity. And now they watch as the COVID-19 novel coronavirus wreaks havoc on society, for the same reason they’ve always watched: they are waiting for someone to appear on the screen to tell them that the worst is now behind them, and that their lives will soon return to normal. All the watchers want this, and they can’t look away because they don’t want to miss it.

For some watchers, this Savior has already appeared. He tells them exactly what they want to hear, these wonderful things, these perfect things, and they can’t get enough. It doesn’t matter if the Savior’s words are true, as long as they make them feel better, which is what a real leader does. They rally behind the Savior, relentlessly defending Him from the forces of evil who are trying to frighten them with facts and fill their heads with fears of the outside world, which, as far as they are concerned, shouldn’t even exist, and whose concerns therefore do not apply to them. He promises them a world that will be as great as Heaven, even greater, the greatest Heaven ever, and this makes them feel better right now, like the calming words of their parents during thunderstorms when they were little, back when this place was great, back when the noise of the outside world was easier to ignore. ▪