The term, “nightmare,” has acceptable reference to disturbing dreams, occurring during a deep stage of sleep and inciting a strong emotional response, i.e., fear, despair, or anxiety, often causing us to awake, to an ephemeral state of anxiety. The daytime nightmare, as referred to in this writing, is immeasurably, more insidious, as referring to a disturbing and empirical, reality, one from which the affected individual may not free himself, as in the case of a sleeping such incident, by merely awakening.
Prior to the revelation of our essay’s daytime nightmare, we would contextually offer, three such illustrative, examples of comparably fearsome and highly disturbing nature:
- The historic Teutonic tradition of xenophobic warfare, after many centuries, seemingly, had abated. In its stead, in the early 1930s, the world saw the development of a valid democratic republic, with an elected Chancellor and a Legislature (The Reichstag), as well as a Judiciary, known as “The Weimar Republic.” Recent history tells us that the established, Federal Government as well as the general public were politically polarized, which divisiveness was exacerbated by a world-wide depression (the “Great Depression”), leading to serious financial problems and an abnormally, high rate of unemployment. An inadequately educated (primary school), severely demented, but gifted demagogue, rose to power (Adolph Schikelgruber, a/k/a Adolph Hitler), founded on profuse promises, in snake oil salesman’s fashion, of a better Germany, and a better life for all of its discontented citizens. The resulting nightmare, consisting of the destruction of the Weimar Republic, tyranny, horrific racial and religious prosecutions, including, among other travesties, the heartless imprisonment, torture and mass homicide of six million Jews and untold numbers of gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped and disabled, and other innocent souls. Destruction of the free press and the media was immediate and networks of informers, Black Shirts, brown shirted children, and even neighbors, deluded by Nazism or sufficiently terrorized, to report, other neighbors, and in certain instances, even family members, for overheard criticism of the harsh autocracy. This extreme travesty, required the Allied forces’ destruction of Germany, to bring the extreme nightmare to a close. It is truly incredible, that cadres of lunatic, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, still exist, seemingly, with the same persistence, as do poison ivy and pandemic viruses.
- The cogent possibility of such a traumatic nightmare, developing, at any time, in America, is frightening, answered in the positive, in Sinclair Lewis’ alarming (and instructive) novel, “It Can’t Happen Here.” In the thought-provoking and nightmarish novel, a discontented, populist supported candidate, for the American Presidency, (fictionally)defeats Franklin D. Roosevelt for the American Presidency, and creates an autocratic reign of terror, of official squads of watchful and militarized “Minutemen” and tyrannized civilians, to report citizens for sedition. The free press or media are nonexistent, learning and education are denigrated and women occupy the status of second class citizens. The demagogic ruler in the novel was modeled by Lewis, on a living, dangerous person, of that time, Huey Long, of Louisiana, whose nonfictional, life narrative, might well have been that of the tyrannical demagogue, described in the novel.
- The dystopian, nightmarish, nation, portrayed in Margaret Atwood’s novel, “The Handmaiden’s Tale,” describes a tyrannically, repressive, country, “Gilead,” created, not by xenophobia, but by extreme devotion to religious doctrine. In this engrossing novel (and film) the Nation of the United States of America is replaced by a tyrannical conquering force of militantly, dedicated believers in Jesus Christ, in which civil rights are curtailed, and in which women, of the working class, exist only as servants and fertile, livestock animals; for the propagation of offspring for the male leaders of the ruling religious class. Speech is restricted to the exchange of monotonous religious platitudes, and rape of the handmaidens by the men of the ruling class, of the handmaidens, is an appropriate religious activity, presumably, for the goal of prized impregnation. Speaking or acting in a manner unacceptable to the upper class, even by upper class women is severely and cruelly punished, since, upper class, women, qua female, are, in Gilead, legally, second class.
We are grateful for Attwood’s fine novel, and have ourselves, objectively observed, that, historically and in the contemporary era, devout religion and other popular irrational and superstitious credos, (fundamentally, founded on fear of death, and controllable by the tactical creation of the imperial ideation of “sin”), over the ages, has been a universal cause of polarization, conflict, and inhumanity.
- The unpredictably shameful, Mad-Hatter Presidency of Donald J. Trump is, knowledgeably, the source of our frightening, daytime nightmares. This completely unpredictable and unstable, psychoneurotic, is incapable of his office (or perhaps any other office requiring, rational thought); this ignorant, bigoted egotist, in merely a few short years in office, has besmirched the American Presidency and demoted the traditional status of our Nation, from the proud and moral leader of the entire free world, to the shameful image of an inept, international laughingstock. Trump has violated every rule of moral behavior, serially consorted with prostitutes, attempted to cover up his illicit behavior with bribes, acted treasonably with our enemies, committed crimes with other co-conspirators, then pardoned his partners in crime (for their silence), egotistically and in utter ignorance, publically denied the existence of the presently raging, mortal pandemic, thus rendering our nation unprepared and causing great and preventable, loss of life, all as part of his public denigration of science and learning, acting in the manner of a pronounced bigot regarding our fellow black Americans, been a boasting abuser of women, is possessed of a neurotic practice of consistent, predictable, mendacity, a winking supporter of white nationalism, an enemy to constitutionally protected, peaceful protest (alarmingly, in Hitler-like, and in totalitarian fashion, having sent in armed private army, to “enforce rule,” at peaceful protest marches), has gone so far beyond the pale of republican democracy, and normality, as to suggest that in the event of his defeat at the next election, he may refuse to accept the result and to leave the Oval Office. It could not, possibly, be imagined worse.
This ignorant, inept, egocentric and immoral, miscreant is our terrifying, traumatic midsummer nightmare, one which can only end with his resounding defeat at the polls.