A Space-Time-Continuum Rip for the Ages
Reading about last week’s Republican National Convention and watching clips of speeches was like being in some strange, bizarro, alternate reality.
Call it “Back to the Future XLV.”
I’m Marty McFly, on a street in what’s supposed to be Hill Valley, wide-eyed and confused as bikers roll past, revolving around a dry, Las Vegas-style fountain, hogs revving. They’re wearing red baseball caps and have assault weapons strapped across their chests. Bob Seger blares from a hidden sound system – “I CAN’T DRIVE…FIFTY-FIIIIIVE!”
I stare up at the skyscraper at the end of the street: “Biff’s,” a.k.a., the “Biff Tannen Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel,” a.k.a., The White House.
I can’t believe my ears, let alone my eyes.
What the hell?
This is AmeriKKKa. Hill Valley is the USA and Biff H. Tannentrump is president.
Everyone around Tannentrump is the embodiment of one of his three ridiculously inept henchmen, Match, Skinhead or 3-D, or as we know them, Billy Barr, Nepotism Barbie and Mitch “The Turtle” McConnell. They stand behind and to the left of Biff at all times, sniggering, flinching any time he turns their way, making sure they don’t miss his cue to burst into applause.
Upstairs, Biff lounges in his in-suite jacuzzi with two women, watching “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.” He likes to think he’s Clint Eastwood, doling out law and order in every one of the USA’s cities… as long as its mayor is a Democrat. He’s had many other women in the hot tub before, but he’s paid them all to keep quiet. Melania Lorraine Baines McFly Tannentrump can never know. Even though she does.
Biff’s run Hill Valley into the ground, alternately ignored and downplayed a deadly pandemic that’s now killed more than 184,000 of its citizens, said sacrificing grandma and grandpa for the economy was our patriotic duty, held immigrant children in cages, forced U.S. children to return to schools (a.k.a. coronavirus super-spreader emporiums), sent jackbooted federal agents into cities, encouraged the use of force and violence against peaceful protesters, invited enemies to target our at will, extolled the virtues of autocrats and totalitarians, withdrawn from every beneficial international treaty, rolled back 85 environmental rules, regulations and laws, lied more than 20,000 times, turned the White House lawn into a right-wing political smorgasbord, abdicated Hill Valley’s leadership position in the world and launched stealth campaigns to get rid of its postal service and Social Security.
That’s just for starters.
“I don’t get it, Doc,” I say in exasperation. “I mean, how can all this be happening. It’s like we’re in hell or something.”
“No, it’s Hill Valley,” Doctor Emmett Brown replies, “although I can’t imagine hell being much worse.” He explains to me how all of this has come to pass, using a chalkboard to illustrate.
“Imagine that this line represents time in the present – 2016. Here’s the future and the past. Prior to this point in time, somewhere in the past this future skewed into this tangent, creating an alternate 2016 through 2020. Alternate to you, me and Einstein (Doc’s dog), but reality to everyone else.”
(Turns out the point in the past was right about the time Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House.)
So we avoid the Republican National Convention but are unable to escape descriptions in the news and on social media. One after another, the Matches, Skinheads and 3-Ds, along with every single member of Tannentrump’s family who hasn’t yet written a tell-all book, spouts off Biff’s virtues, SCREAMS out his successes, squawks about promises kept and moans about how horrifying the maskless horde’s lives will be in a Biden/Harris America. Only Biff can fix it! they shout.
There are no virtues, successes or promises kept, of course. Even what little of Trump’s heralded border wall that’s been constructed (without funding from Mexico) is falling into the Rio Grande.
But never mind that Trump’s lack of action created much of the mess we’re in, the convention speakers said. Listen to our alternative facts, instead.
It’s all a house of cards, precariously perched on the table of U.S. consciousness, its players praying a strong wind doesn’t come along.
We have to be the strong wind behind Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, our Marty and Doc, tenaciously traveling across time to fix the abomination that began when the #OrangeMenace slimed his way down an escalator to announce his presidential bid.
Make calls. Stuff envelopes. Write letters to voters in swing states and editors of newspapers. Give rides to polls. Whatever it takes, because we desperately need to get out of this bizarro USA reality. We need to get…
Back! To the Future!
Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale created “Back to the Future” and its characters, and Stephen Spielberg was the executive producer on all three installments. The production companies were Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment. The years in the Marty and Doc quotes have been changed from 1985 to 2016 and 2020 to fit the current timeline.