If you never saw the excellent TV mini-series, “Gulliver’s Travels,” directed by Charles Sturridge, starring Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, you have missed something great. Perhaps it is still available on Netflix or on one of the many video-streaming services about which I know nothing.
I am reminded of that movie today because of disturbing parallels to Gulliver’s “madness” that are happening in my life. The movie is, as was stated by IMDB, an “All star adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s satirical tale about a normal man who, after returning home following eight years of absence, relates fantastical tales about how he was thought to be giant in the Land of Lilliput, but was only six inches high in the Land of Brobdingnag. He also tells of his visit to the floating island of Laputa populated by scientists who are so obsessed with reason that they act with no common sense. Finally, he tells of his journey to the land where his disturbing likeness to the bestial Yahoos and his inferiority to the intelligent horses there makes him question the very worth of his humanity.”
Unlike Gulliver who is on trial after his return because his sanity is in question, I am not facing that trial. I am facing the trial of knowing that my former country, the U.S., has chosen a path of insanity that risks its very existence. They elected as president a man they know to be a lying, cheating, proud-to-be-obnoxious, scoundrel.
I do have some sympathy with their distaste for the status quo. I was proud of Obama for taking the right steps to divert the essence of what might have been a truly devastating depression if he had not acted swiftly to forestall the insidious effects of the Republican deregulation of the banking and investment industries. But I was dismayed that the very people who stole all that money from so many Americans actually turned around and gave themselves cash bonuses for stealing and getting away with it! That’s Gulliver’s Laputa in a nutshell. The investment community was so fascinated by what could be done, they paid no attention to what should be done and showed that greed has no limits. They stole from the poor to give to the rich. I’d like that kind of thing changed.
But the bawdy bunch of Yahoos has risen and elected their chest-thumping, self-
preening, orange leader to make things right. He will not make things right. He will screw things up. Change, yes. But change for the better? It’s hard to imagine. I will try to keep an open mind and hope that I am completely wrong. I couldn’t be more eager to be wrong!
Perhaps, if we are lucky, it will all turn out to be more akin to the comical British series called, “Yes Minister!” In that series, the politicians who, as elected officials, officially run the show, are constantly ‘played’ by the unchanging civil servants to do the right thing instead of the declared thing. It’s almost like an old vaudeville skit in which a stated position is led through curley-Q logic to arrive at a place of outlandishly opposite conclusions.
Time will tell, as it inevitably does. I remain hopeful, seemingly against any logical reason for hope. I also promise that I will tread carefully among the sleeping Yahoos so as not to disturb their slumber nor to arouse their bestial animosities.