By James Wallace Harris, March 7, 2016
If back in 2012, you read a science fiction novel about the 2016 U.S. presidential election that perfectly described what’s going on this year, would you have believed it? The primaries are proof positive that truth is stranger than fiction. What writers could have imagined such a bizarre farce? Donna Tartt, Philip Roth, Jonathan Lethem, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, Tom Wolfe, E. L. James, Tom Robbins, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon? Hell, I think Finnegan’s Wake would be easier to understand.
And just think, if in ten years someone does write a novel about this election, could it ever capture its weirdness?
We don’t even know how the plot unfolds, or what the ending will be. There’s plenty of time for even bigger amazements.
And what about history? Was the 1932 election this crazy? Remember Theodore H. White? He wrote a series of books called The Making of the President series (1960, 1964, 1968, 1972). I wonder if I read those books now, would this election seem less unique and strange to me?
Wikipedia has a nice summary of the 1964 election, the first I remember in any detail. The article is not too long, but hints at a rather complex race during similarly polarized time in our nation.
The one thing 2016 is teaching me is how different I am from my fellow citizens. There are millions of people wanting candidates to be president that I can’t even conceive of anyone wanting for their leaders.
I think 2016 is the first time I’ve actually experienced Future Shock.