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On election night, November 5, I was reading a short story, “Graveyard Shift,” by horror writer, Stephen King. It can be found in a collection of his suspenseful pieces, in a book, entitled, “Night Shift.” I found, however, the news that night about the election results, both local and national, was even more frightening then King’s hair raising prose.
First, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, despite running in a state with a heavy Democratic majority, had gotten herself roundly defeated in her bid to become governor of Maryland. But, more importantly, the Republicans had captured the U.S. Senate by a razor thin majority. They had also retained control of the House of Representatives. It was all too shocking!
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a nondescript sort of fellow by the name of J. Dennis Hastert, was being interviewed on every tv and cable station. He’s a former restaurant owner from rural Yorkville, Illinois. He looks a lot like my barber! He was bragging, kind of low keyed, but still he was bragging about the GOP victory. Now, I’m afraid President George W. Bush Jr. will take the electoral endorsement of his incumbency, as a green light to attack Iraq. I think the only question remaining will be: When will he launch Gulf War No. 2?
This was all so very depressing for me. It was like some creep from one of King’s novels had taken a gigantic chain saw and cut out the common sense and reasoning from the minds of the American electorate. What other explanation was there for this collective madness?
For a relief, I went back to reading the short story. On that night, like so many other nights, when I’ve gone to bed upset, I’ve had that dreaded recurring nightmare. It’s always the same. It goes like this:
“I’m dragged down a long dark corridor by two burly men. I’m in a dazed state. I ask them what is going on, but they refuse to answer me. At the end of the corridor, I’m taken into a room. It’s only about 15 ft. by 25 ft. in dimensions and unheated. There is a ceiling light, and also a light on each of the walls. I am forced up on an operating table and then strapped roughly in by the two goons. I feel like that hapless character, Winston Smith, in George Orwell’s masterpiece, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four.’ My God, I think to myself, what did I do to deserve this fate? What’s going to happen to me? The two thugs abruptly leave the room.
I then notice on the wall in front of me, a large poster, in black and white, of Israel’s Ariel Sharon. He has a devilish looking smile on his mug. Underneath of the poster are printed the words: ‘First Iraq-Then Iran!’
I slowly look to my right, and on that wall is another large poster. It’s shows a grinning Vice President Dick Cheney! The caption under his image says, ‘Halliburton Forever! Check your Oil?’
On the wall to my left is a smaller portrait. It’s of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA)! His snake like eyes are slanted up towards the heavens. His hands are posed as if in pious prayer. Under his picture are the words, in a banner type, ‘You Can Trust Your Uncle Tom Lantos!’
This is all so very confusing for me. Then, before I can reflect on any of it, the door opens, and in walks a man, wearing glasses, dressed in a white jacket, with a stethoscope perched around his neck. He has a smirk on his face. My God, it’s Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT)! I ask him if he’s Sen. Lieberman. He said, ‘No, I’m Dr. Netanyahu!’ But, the name tag on his jacket, says, ‘Dr. Joseph Lieberman, Head Shrink.’ What gives here? He tells me that I’ve been suffering from a severe bout of ‘political incorrectness’ and that he has just the therapy to make me feel better He exists the room quickly.
And, it is then that the real terror begins. A voice coming from some kind of sound amplifying device embedded in the ceiling, starts reading out, in a monotone fashion, every boring, warmongering, pro-Israel, anti-Arab, Palestinian smearing, and Islam bashing article, ever written by the insufferable Daniel Pipes, the Director of the Middle East Forum!
I cry for the voice to stop. I beg for mercy, but the voice drones on and on. I break out in a cold sweat. My body shakes violently from head to toe. I try desperately to break out of my restraints, but it is to no avail. I’m trapped. There is no escape. There will be no rescue. I can’t stand the pain any longer. The voice blares on repeatedly. I reach the end of my endurance. I believe I am going to pass out…”
Mercifully, I wake up! It was only a bad dream. The nightmare is over. I’m safe! I don’t have to be forced to endlessly listen to the rants of Daniel Pipes.
That is, I reluctantly remind myself, until the dreaded nightmare returns again!
WILLIAM HUGHES is the author of “Baltimore Iconoclast” (Writer’s Showcase), which is available online. He can be reached at email@example.com
(C) WILLIAM HUGHES 2002