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Posted by on Sep 5, 2018 in Blog, Book Reviews, Politics | 2 comments

White House of Horrors: When Fear Takes Over



“…But it’s good you’re making it snow.  A real good thing.  And tomorrow… tomorrow’s gonna be a… real good day!”


The Twilight Zone was way ahead of its time.  The popular 1960’s television show may have even been ahead of its time by more than a half-century.

In 1961, an episode first aired based on a short story written by Jerome Bixby titled, It’s a Good Life.”  In the story, a child terrorizes an entire town.  Everyone in the town is cast under his spell — including the boy’s parents.  The child has special powers.  He can turn people into objects or even make them disappear.  Anything displeasing to the child triggers an angry response.  The child is used to getting what he wants at all times, without objection.  No one dares to challenge the child.  Every boyish whim is satisfied instantly.  Everyone lives in fear because the child rules by fear.

The townspeople have gotten into the habit of telling the child “it’s good,” whatever he says, and no matter what he does.  Every decision is met with unwavering obedience and unanimous approval.  If the child wants to watch television all day long, “it’s good.”  If the child wants chocolate cake for dinner, “it’s good.”  If the child doesn’t like the music playing and wants something else, “it’s good.”  If the child makes it snow in July, “it’s good.”

It’s not good.

Yesterday, upon hearing the discussion and reading outtakes from Bob Woodward’s soon-to-be-released blistering expose of the Donald Trump White House, I was reminded of that classic Twilight Zone episode where we saw the horrors of what it might be like if a child was put in charge of things and then surrounded by an army of spineless sycophants.

According to Woodward, who paints a scathing portrait of Donald Trump and a presidency of grotesque dysfunction, it’s as if a “fifth- or sixth-grader” was in command.  Actually, those aren’t Woodward’s words.  He quoted Trump’s hand-picked Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis.  Wait, there’s more.  According to Woodward, who was so instrumental in uncovering the crimes of Richard Nixon during Watergate, Trump’s very own Chief of Staff John Kelly called working within the Trump White House, “Crazytown.”


Of course, most of us knew this already.  This isn’t shocking news.  But now, apparently several current and former members of Trump’s own staff are openly admitting the country is being run by a spoiled brat demanding loyalty oaths and is prone to temper tantrums.

As utterly despicable as Donald Trump is as a person, and as monumentally incompetent he is as a leader, and as recklessly bankrupt he is a force of moral rectitude, the “yes men” and “yes women” around him look far worse.  They see and experience first-hand what we on the outside suspect and fear, one reason perhaps that his dwindling and derelict White House has seen “the highest turnover of any administration in more than 100 years.”


Why are so many speaking out now?  Among the White House staffers who merely resigned, and weren’t fired or mired in scandal, perhaps some grew a conscious.  No doubt, many of Woodward’s well-documented sources in the book were former Trump employees, presumably trying to finally do the right thing by exposing the malignancy of their former boss.  Good for them.  It’s never too late to get on the right side of history.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party, including most elected Republican officials, appears to have no mindfulness at all.  Republican officeholders have become like the frightened townsfolk in that old Twilight Zone episode.  They fear the child who controls their fate.  So, the child must be satisfied.  Naturally, most longtime Republican political leaders know better.  They’ve been around long enough to recognize a charade and spot a charlatan.  But they go along with “Crazytown” because they’re only concerned with survival and the hope of making it to another day, and ultimately through the next election cycle.  To challenge the child-president risks releasing the fury of his angry wrath and the associated backlash of lockstep Trump voters.  They fear his tweets.  They fear his rallies.  They fear his threats.  They fear his impulsiveness.  They fear his malice.  He rules them.

So, Republicans play along.  Congressmen.  Senators.  Governors.  Party hacks.  Everyone.  All the G.O.P. townsfolk.  It’s good.  He’s doing a good job.  The economy is good.  Trade is good.  The environment is good.  Foreign affairs are good.  Wars are good.  Puerto Rico is good.  North Korea is good.  Russia is good.  Putin is good.  Rotten meat is good.  It’s all good.

When might this romper room of madness end?  And how?

It’s a Good Life” concludes with a minor uprising.  One of the townspeople can’t take living in fear anymore.  In a rare feat of bravery, he stands up to the child.  During this fit of rage, he calls the child a monster.  The child becomes incensed by the act of rebellion.  He points at and turns the insurgent into a jack-in-the-box.  Even worse, he transforms the insurgent outdoors into a cornfield.  Then, the child starts to make it snow.

In a frightened panic, another of the townspeople cautiously whispers to the child that making it snow will destroy the crops and they’ll have no food.  The town will face starvation.  But before anyone else can speak out and confirm their impending doom, others appease the child.  They try to mask the worry on their faces.  They know the high price they’ll pay in the end for collaboration and cowardice.  Yet they remain complicit in their self-destruction.  Then, someone says, “…But it’s good you’re making it snow.  A real good thing.  And tomorrow… tomorrow’s gonna be a… real good day!”


It’s snowing now in America.  But it won’t be a real good day until we remove this child-president.  To do that, it’s gonna take some townsfolk.  And it’s gonna take some Republicans.

As Woodward’s new book shows us — it’s even worse than we thought.

Read:  My dozen favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone


  1. What would Mussolini say and do? Because that is who the narcissistic flim flam man most closely resembles.

  2. Excellent analogy!


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