Our last presidential election ended with an attempted coup, so check your blood pressure as you prepare to participate in election year 2024. Election day, if things hold as they are, will likely be a rematch between the bland and the brand — and will be about defining who we are as a nation.
The brand is likely to say if he ever holds a rally in Federal Way: “It is just business, it isn’t personal, and I do this every day. I represent the best and it won’t cost you more to do business with me and my philosophy of marketing my sleazy excess. It is my pleasure to come into your tired-looking town and state and retool what is feeling old, tired and bleak and make it look new, “white” and sleek. The catch is that you need to elect me and accept my plan to put our democracy in check — because it is autocracy and my survival that I seek.”
A young man stood up and confronted the podium where the brand was speaking and said, “You are a grifter and should not be allowed to do business in our nation, state, or town. Follow the money,” he shouted, and continued to say — “You have stolen from your workers, bankers, and our nation, and are quick to belittle others and call them names if they do not join your cult.”
“Ignore him,” the brand said. “He is from another land, he is brown, and he is part of the problem with your town. He and his kind are the takers here and should not be allowed.”
“Should you return me to the office,” the brand continued, “you will have to follow the rules of my game. Just know the first rule of my process is for you to not read the fine print. You must take a loyalty oath, and maybe I will include you in my plan as I steal what I can from our great land.
Don’t worry about the expense, others will pay to solve the problems you believe are preventing your success. The mythical jobs I will bring to your town will never go away. Your town has been on the forgotten side of development and when I am in charge I will restore order and make your economy work in my favor – again.
You are used to getting less. Remember the corporation that left and reduced your town to a lesser state, and your leaders promised a university presence but what showed up is a one-room schoolhouse in a forgotten parking lot far from the future light-rail station. I know you are feeling cheated, and recognize that what you thought you were getting is smaller in scale than what is needed for change and growth, but if you elect me, I will make your town the greatest in the land by the grace of my presence.
I am the builder of walls and things and using other people’s money. I know what opportunities bring me wealth, I will reduce the flow of brown people, build a more patriotic and nationalist Christian nation, and ask you to celebrate that I am my own deity.
Blame your leaders and developers from a bygone era who made your town what it is. What they built was not a forever product, then again no city ever is, but they allowed elements to take root in your town – crime, poverty, diversity, and homelessness, to name a few, and when reelected as your leader, it will be my pleasure to make them go away – literally.
But first, we must build a wall – mental as well as physical to make sure that we can exclude. Step number one in making your town great again is to find the problem makers and tell them they are not welcome because the ‘brand’ declares them undesirable.”
A person in the back of the room stood up and yelled, “The solutions you offer may be embraced by some, but what you are offering will further divide this town, state, and nation, and make things worse. When we voted you out four years ago, you would not concede or go nicely, led an insurrection, stole documents, lied to us, and continue to do so every day.”
The person continued, “If the bland were here to counter punch, he would likely say” – “Hold on a minute, I represent democracy and the democratic process is complicated, requires listening, compromise, allowing choice, protecting everyone’s rights and the right to vote. I believe that respecting diversity, pluralism, and equal opportunity for all is what America needs to be. It is messy, but that is who we are at our finest, and we must believe in one another if we are going to continue being a beacon of hope.”
The dissenting voice continued, “While you may not know or believe it, based on rightwing media continuing to spout propaganda in your favor, our economy is strong and is likely to be that way for years to come as we educate people, support our schools by having them tell the truth of our history, re-shore our manufacturing base, invest in building back better, maintain and improve our alliances in the world, work to keep Russia’s imperial aspirations in check, and assure that America represents a land of opportunity with dignity for all who live here now and in the future.”
The brand screamed at the top of his lungs – “Get that man out of here, he is ruining my show. I will sue him for everything he has. His thoughts are a challenge to my future nobility, forever immunity, and ability to mesmerize you with my lies.”
The man was quickly thrown out into the cold and rain – but his voice in dissent displayed more dignity, courage, patriotism, and respect for America and our democracy than those who continued to listen to the brand’s forever lying and blaming.
Accept this bit of satire as we start the 2024 election year, and yes — this election will define America for years to come.
Keith Livingston is a retired municipal management professional, lifelong artist and Federal Way resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org