End of the Year OP-ED

Merry F***ing Zombie Christmas, ‘A**Hole’!

M. William Phelps

Like many, I’ve been sorting through and grappling with my feelings re: San Bernardino, Planned Parenthood, Charleston, Paris, (and the senseless murders of young black men across the country), not to mention a host of other pointless acts of gun violence and mass homicide over the past decade or more. I live about an hour from Newtown-Sandy Hook. I’ve given talks in town. I’ve seen the inherent agony on the faces of residents that is, I’m guessing, fixed for eternity.

Homicide in the largest city—Hartford—closest to where I live is beyond out of control (30 murders this past year alone), same as it is in Chicago and Baltimore, and so many other towns and cities across the nation. Respect for law enforcement (and people in general) is at an all-time low. Too many place zero value on human life anymore. I see this in my work every day. We live in a volatile world, where violence seems to be the first and only answer, as well as the quickest response to everyday problems and anxieties.

Then we come to the presidential race. One name dominates—this in the face of bigotry, hatred and rhetoric, as opposed to honor, integrity and a need for real change. Whenever we think Donald Trump will not utter another insane comment that is all at once insulting, bizarre and unilaterally contradictory to our core American values as a People, there he is stumping somewhere, bellowing his racist and, truly, near psychotic vitriol. The guy will say anything to get a headline. And when he does, we are right there giving him another microphone.

I write about narcissists. I have studied these people for well over a decade. Trump could be their posterchild.

There is enough negativity throughout the world and in this great country of ours already to feel anxious and upset. The simple fact that a bigot, narcissist and borderline sociopath like Trump can lead the polls in the Republican race for president is enough in and of itself to keep most grounded people up at night. Seriously: think about it. Imagine Trump running the country. We are being laughed at all over the world as it is, simply for his presence in the race.
“We’re really enjoying this over here,” an Aussie friend of mine emailed.

America has become “The Truman Show.”

It’s quite disturbing to me that we have come to the point where Donald Trump is considered a savior to a mass population of American voters. All those people slaughtered in Paris, fourteen of our own murdered in California in the name of terror—and this man’s answer, the potential leader of the free world, is to block Muslims from coming into our country. He claims to be qualified for the presidential palace and yet he is not smart enough to know that 99.9% of our intelligence sources fighting terror are Muslim. Philly mayor Michael Nutter said it best just recently when asked his opinion of Trump: “He’s an asshole.”
Then you have this Cincinnati couple that has constructed what they are calling a “Zombie Nativity” scene in their front yard—and, of course, so as not to waste the effort and get the most attention they can from their behavior, they documented it all on their Facebook page.

CNN, FOX, and the like park in front of their house and go live.

Look, whether you are a believer—on most days, I am—or an atheist—I know plenty and they are great people—this Zombie Nativity scene must be offensive and insulting, not only to your intelligence, but for the mere fact that it shows how out of touch we are today with the sensibilities of our neighbors, their core beliefs, and the world as a whole. You want to build a shrine to zombies inside your house and worship it in your living room, drink beers and laugh about it, have at it. But when you put something like this on your front lawn, doesn’t it say that you are in desperate need of attention—i.e., your millennial narcissism in need of a fix—and that you could give a rat’s ass about hurting people, not to mention destroying the warm and archaic image of Christmas most children have?

I watched Obama’s address regarding San Bernardino and our supposed war on terrorism from the Oval Office on December 6 with great hope and anticipation, only to be made to feel as though the man was, once again, currying favor, looking to coast out the final year of his last term in office, with as little disruption to his agenda as possible. Like most, I’m fed up with the Republican/Democrat blame-game.

Thousands of soldiers have lost their lives in the Mideast, as far back as the 1990’s. Tens of thousands of families have been greatly (and forever) affected by those deaths, with additional thousands of troops maimed and disabled while fighting inside combat zones. These men and women are heroes. They are the blood that runs through the veins of this country. I recall being on a plane once coming home from a “Dark Minds” shoot. Sitting in front of me was a 40-ish-year-old woman, her husband, and a young girl about eleven. The woman held a small picture frame on her lap the entire trip. She would caress it, outline the photo with her finger, staring blankly. It was a photo of young man in uniform. The woman had a look on her face of utter despair throughout the entire trip; a pallid sheen that spoke of the great loss she was never going to get over. The young girl was doing her best to hold herself together. The father was tough, strong-willed, I could tell. They spoke softly to each other. They stared out the little oval window at times and kept themselves busy playing cards and other mindless travel games.

As we drew closer to our destination, a stewardess walked up and spoke with the family. Before walking away, the stewardess shook her head. “Okay, thank you,” she said.

Moments later, the captain came over the loudspeaker and said something to the effect of: I just want say that it is an honor for me to be able to be transporting home [the soldier’s name] body for his family, who are with us today on the flight. If we could all take a moment and silently appreciate and pray for this family, honor [the soldier’s name] service to our great country.

This family was transporting the body of their child back from where they had picked it up, after he was killed in Afghanistan.

We could argue all day about the so-called War on Terror, all the death—including the boy whose family I sat in back of—from combat over the past four or five presidential regimes, and if those deaths were or were not for the greater good of our country, or if we were there for the right or wrong reasons. I am not going to go down that road here. But as we sit down for ham and turkey this holiday season, guzzling egg nog and unwrapping our iThings, do we not now need some leadership in the face of ISIS? A military who can kick ISIS’s ass, dismantle and destroy this organization of tyrants and psychopaths, more than we ever have? Has not what we’ve seen over the past few years alone with homegrown terror—Boston Marathon, et al—been enough to warrant the total annihilation of these monsters and their supporters?

I don’t want to see more kids die. I don’t want see more families on planes bringing home their dead babies. I don’t want to see kids maimed and disabled. Yet we bill ourselves as the ultimate super power; the leader of the free world. Is now not the time to step up and fill those shoes and actually be that leader? What other alternative do we have? We, with the help of others, have destabilized that entire Mideast region, which has allowed ISIS and the like to flourish. That’s a fact.

We cannot just snip the head of the dandelion. We need to pull it out by the roots, or it will just pop back up again in the spring. Maybe where we expect it to, or maybe in a place we never imagined.

It’s also time to show more respect for people of all races, creeds, colors, religions, professions, beliefs, and so on, here at home. Every time we turn around, either some idiot on social media or a total ass running for president is looking for more attention—total views, clicks, likes, whatever. We live in PC world where everything seems to offend someone these days. And yet when true offenses and insults and racism is out there in front of our faces, it seems all we do is give those people more media attention. It’s disgusting and alarming. It shows how shallow and desensitized to human emotion we have become.
I’m a big believer in kicking ass where and when ass needs to be kicked. It’s time we shined our shoes and put both feet forward and stopped mucking around with idle talk.

It’s nothing but hot air and bullshit.

Fulton Sheen, regardless what you think of him or his faith, made a point decades ago we all need to digest and revisit—which I will simplify and secularize (so as not to offend anyone!) here: “A nation always gets the kind of politicians it deserves. If a time ever comes when [we] … have to suffer … it will be because for years [we] thought it made no difference what kind of people represented [us] in Congress ….”

As another Aussie friend once said to his then fifteen-year-old boy, who was whining about a walk they were on, how tired he was and that he wanted to get back home: “You need to harden the fuck up.”

Well, to be quite frank, we all do.

Merry Christmas.

One thought on “End of the Year OP-ED”

  1. The Trump’s head is so bloated with & about himself he has trouble going through a door. Typical of the mayhem caused by people like Hitler & the rest of the demented ones. What will happen to America is frightening?
    I’ve read most of your books from our local library & throughly enjoy them.
    Thank you for writing them, I hope one day your sister-in-law’s murder will be solved. Also great to hear you still believe in the Man upstairs, so many have forgotten Him.

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