On Monday night I tuned into opening day festivities of the 2016 Republican via the NPR Radio live broadcast. There’s been much (rightful) talk of plagiarism in the speeches, but the more I listened to the stories boomed over the microphone, the more I had a feeling that I had heard this all before.
The strategy being employed here, to cast a huge blanket of fear over the country, is lifted pretty much from Maria Leach’s collection of scary stories, published in 1959, called The Thing at the Foot of the Bed.
"Make America Scared Again" #RNCinCLE
— Alan Levine ? (@cogdog) July 19, 2016
We had this book in my house where I grew up, and I have memories of my older sisters reading it to me in the dark. A few years ago, in a fit of nostalgia, I found a used copy on sale from Amazon. The crossed out stamps inside the cover suggest my copy was once in the Kennedy Mid School Library as well as the Albuquerque Public Library.
I ran to my back room, found the blue book on my shelf, and when I opened up the cover page, my suspicion was proven correct- Leach’s book had come alive in 2016:
From the front piece:
What did one little Republican ghost say to the other Republican little ghost?
Do you believe in Democrats?
A few of the selected stories seem to have been modernized from what I remember as a kid…
The Mexican at the Foot of the Country
In this story, a man named “Donald” took up a dare to sleep all night in a haunted house in …. well anywhere in America. “All right,” he said. He wasn’t scared of anything. It was a warm night, so his only covers were a sheet.
He got to the house, looked around. He did not see anything unusual. so he went to bed.
The man slept a while, then he suddenly woke up. He listened. He listened. He only heard soft mariachi music. The moon was shining through the open window. So– ver carefully– very quietly– he looked around. And then he saw, down at the foot of the country, two shiny Mexican eyes staring right at him, wanting to steal his job.
As it was, there was no time to build a wall! But he did reach to the side of the bed and pulled out his semi-automatic machine gun…
You will want to read the rest of this story to found out how Donald escaped this scary situation!
The Golden Job
In this story, many Republicans talk endlessly about the glorious Reagan years when jobs were so plentiful, good American golden jobs. But that nasty Obama came along, with his bad policies, and the golden jobs all disappeared to China or eaten by zealous bureaucrats. They were so distraught wailed into the night
W-H-E-E-R-E’-S M-Y G-O-O-L-D-E-N J-O-O-O-B?
On and on they moaned about the need to create jobs, to put American back to work again. In their anguish they lost all reason and ability to read graphs that indicated that unemployment was the lowest it was in decades:
They shivered and shook under the covers. Then they peeked out.
And they saw it.
It was by the bed.
And — it pounced
YOU’VE GOT JOBS!
One day while plowing a field, a man opened up his iPhone and decided to watch a bit of the Republican National Convention. He looked and saw a vast arena of people who looked remarkably like each other.
Republican interns vs Democrat interns. Notice anything? pic.twitter.com/7uugoQ79P2
— Teymour (@Teymour_Ashkan) July 20, 2016
A man on stage, with no head, was talking. Apparently he was famous for being a doctor and also had made a failed attempt to run for President. Thus he was a smart logical man, even if he lacked a head.
No Head was explaining with an air of logic this line of reasoning. Because Hillary Clinton knew and studied with a mentor, and that mentor had a book, and in that book was listed the name Lucifer, that Hillary Clinton was obviously a SATAN WORSHIPPER and also that she was—
The man’s iPhone ran out of battery. He shrugged and tossed into the field, and went back to tilling the land.
Once there was a man who wasn’t scared of Democrats or the Liberal Media or Traditional Republicans or the Rigged System or anything. He never said there weren’t any. He just wasn’t afraid of them. That’s all.
He would even go walking into the Capitol Building and say, “Rise up, rigged politicians! Rise up and shake!”
And the poor tired rigged politicians would pull themselves together and rise up like skeletons and shake in the wind.
He would make mean names for them, like ‘Little Marco’, ‘Lyin’ Ted’, ‘Crazy Bernie’, ‘1 for 38 Kasich’, ‘Goofy Elizabeth Warren’, and ‘Low Energy’ Jeb.
The man used to do this all the time because it made him feel big and proud.
One time he was walking along the road and came across an opponent. So he kicked her, calling her ‘Crooked Hillary’. He kicked her in front of him as he walked, having fun, seeing how far it would go. And he yelled over and over again, until other people joined in “Crooked Hillary! Crooked Hillary! Lock her Up! Lock Her Up!”
This story too ends with a Twilight Zone worthy twist. You should find a copy of this book to see how the story ends. Or better yet, get out there and vote!
There are many more stories of fear in this collection, like ‘ISIS UNDER YOUR BED’ and ‘They are coming to take your guns’, ‘Blue Lives Matter’…
And if the fear factor does not have you quavering in terror, keep your eyes out for the time traveling movie being made from another story in the book. A young man meets an eccentric doctor with a time traveling car, so they can just go to the present and face it’s scariness:
Just stay scared.
That’s what they want.
Top / Featured Image: A photo of Maria Leach’s book of scary stories, The Thing at the Foot of the Bed. We had a copy of this in the house I grew up in. I thought I had picked up the copy in this photo at our local thrift store, but I am more sure I bought it on Amazon. This photo is mine a flickr photo https://flickr.com/photos/cogdog/5437055085 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license