You know that feeling when you read something so ridiculous you think it’s a really funny parody, followed by that sinking sensation when it turns out its writer was serious? Orson Scott Card’s “Unlikely Events” on why Obama is already a dictator, controlling literally all the things and all the people is like that.
It may have taken the fuss over his wildly homophobic comments and positions to die down for this gem to reappear, but this essay is almost more depressing in its outlandishness. It starts explaining the difference between fact and fiction, a distinction with Card seems to forget himself just a few paragraphs in. I am, it bears saying, not here to predict or debate what may or may not happen, the merits or drawbacks of past policy, just to say that maybe these topics deserve more than a sentence brush-off.
Let’s ignore the wildly oversimplified claims Card makes, ranging from his position that Obama would do literally nothing in the event of a nuclear attack to funding the “Christian-killing Muslim Brotherhood” to calling Obama the “dumbest president in American history… [only] the fact that Al Gore, John Kerry, and Joe Biden were never president leaves him in sole possession of the crown.”
Now we get to the really fun part.
Obama is, by character and preference, a dictator. He hates the very idea of compromise; he demonizes his critics and despises even his own toadies in the liberal press… In other words, Obama already acts as if the Constitution were just for show.
Hm. Okay. Well, this is kind of just completely factually wrong. There are oh, I don’t know, a veritable shit-ton of compromises that Obama has signed since he was elected (yes, let’s all remember he was elected, and has not yet said anything about rewriting the Constitution to just eliminate that whole voting thing). Not to mention, many of those apparently nonexistent compromises he’s agreed to were not actually what he wanted, being compromises and all (Obamacare springs to mind). And it’s certainly not like he has a history of studying the law or valuing the vote enough to direct an organization to register voters or anything.
So let’s just assume we’ve entered the Twilight Zone version of reality, and maybe Card has just spent so long immersed in science fiction that he gets confused sometimes. If we brush on past the idea that the world we are now in sets up Michelle Obama as Barack’s natural successor once he decimates her competition, or the bit where Card informs of us Obama’s admiration for Russian, Chinese, and Muslim dictators, we get to some hardcore weird.
Is there any way that Barack Obama could remain president forever, the way Putin has held on to power in Russia?
In his years as president, the national media have never challenged Obama on anything. His lies and mistakes are unreported or quickly forgotten or explicitly denied; his critics are demonized.
See, maybe Card is really just pitching a new novel, about a fairly decent President (personal feelings aside) who gets taken over by an alien parasite that totally changes his personality and levels of aggression and also makes him immortal. Because now we’ve clearly moved into an alternate timeline: the one where the media have never challenged Obama on anything. Also one in which the Rhinoceros Times is on par with the Wall Street Journal.
In the world Card has created, Obama “already governs unconstitutionally, with czars and without a budget.” So how will the immortal Obama-prime take total control?
Barack Obama needs to have a source of military power that is under his direct control. Like Hitler, he needs a powerful domestic army to terrify any opposition that might arise…
In other words, Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama’s enemies.
Instead of doing drive-by shootings in their own neighborhoods, these young thugs will do beatings and murders of people “trying to escape” — people who all seem to be leaders and members of groups that oppose Obama.
Yep, Card’s spun a story that the alien in Obama’s body will turn the “young out-of-work urban men” into a secret police force. Skirting right past Card’s assertion that Bush totally didn’t abuse the Patriot Act, seriously guys, and the part where he seems to take gun control advice from a Chris Rock joke, and the bit where Obama has approval over candidates from both parties (because the Republicans totally love him oh so much), how totally easy it is to change the Constitution so that a president can run for reelection forever, and that everyone would just accept Obama winning with 98% of the vote every time, you hit the spot where Card maintains that democracy was so much better a couple hundred years ago, before all those silly amendments starting protecting the underclass and giving power to the “elite” educational establishment and the unions.
The sad thing is Card is smart. He’s a good writer, and I love Ender’s Game. But while the Obama administration certainly has many flaws and shortcomings, these just aren’t them. Card could have spun a much more interesting tale about actual problems, ones that are far less obvious and far less cliched (and maybe a little bit less racist). This is just crazy town.
The best part of the whole essay might be the end, where Card says:
Will these things happen? Of course not. This was an experiment in fictional thinking.
But it sure sounds plausible, doesn’t it? Because, like a good fiction writer, I made sure this scenario fit the facts we already have.
See? It was all a joke, guys. Especially that bit about the facts we already have being anywhere near this article. Card wasn’t saying these things will happen, just that they do seem awfully likely, don’t they? Like they totally could happen? Not that he’s trying to convince or warn anyone about that or anything.
Oh, God, I am so depressed.
- First trailer for Ender’s Game drops, will probably tear the Internet apart
- Six people we’d rather see co-host The View than radical anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy
- White house says there are no alien cover ups, no extraterrestrial contact