What The Dickens?

If you combine one expression, two authors, one playwright, part of a single sentence, a holiday and an American president what do you get? The answer is today’s article.

I am a fan of C-SPAN’s Book TV. The other day I watched Harvard Professor Jill Lapore speak about her newest book, These Truths: A History of the United States. An obscure, almost throw away comment she made intrigued me and prompted this article. In reflecting on today’s American political situation she used the beginning of the first sentence of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Dickens was contrasting London and Paris during the French Revolution. Lapore was looking at how polarization causes Americans to view the Trump administration so differently.

Today is Halloween. In America a lot of cute, costumed little kids will be knocking on their neighbors doors in pursuit of candy. Also a lot of American adults will use the holiday as an excuse to dress up in strange getups and drink too much in bars. Many of the costumes are designed to be scary. There is a collection of expressions along the lines of scaring the dickens out of someone. That expression actually dates back to the work of playwright William Shakespeare and has nothing to do with Charles Dickens who was born many years after Shakespeare’s death. In fact in the expression “dickens” is actually a synonym for the devil.

Most Americans hate what Trump is doing and if not at least certainly detest the way he is going about it. What we have a difficult time coming to grips with is that a minority, but significant portion, of the population actually like what Trump is doing. They approve of the racism, xenophobia, homophobia and misogyny. They like that Trump has total disregard for international opinion and cooperation. They don’t care about, and in most cases, despise refugees. The air and water are simply big trash cans as far as they are concerned. As long as someone makes a buck in the process they don’t care what is put in either. Trump’s followers actually think that as long as they can retain their gun they are safe from everything, especially “those people” who are out to get them.

For them it is the best of times.

While I fear what Trump and his Republican enablers may do in the lame duck session even if the Democrats are successful in taking back the House – I feel the Senate is a stretch too far this time around but would love to be proven incorrect – what will happen if Trump is left unchecked for two more years scares the dickens out of me!

This article is the property of tellthetruthonthem.com and its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.