GOP Zombies

Economist and conservative Republican Larry Hunter is part of a growing movement known as Obamacons—conservatives who support Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak wrote an interesting piece about Obamacons that you can read here. In Novack’s piece, he quotes something Hunter had written earlier this month about the GOP, in which he said, “The Republican Party is a dead rotting carcass with a few decrepit old leaders stumbling around like zombies in a horror version of ‘Weekend With Bernie,’ handcuffed to a corpse.”

Okay, let’s overlook the fact that the name of the movie is technically Weekend at Bernie’s, I’m really feeling what Hunter has to say, and am actually pissed off that I didn’t come up with the comparison between the Republicans and the undead myself. Okay, in all honesty, I did come up with that comparison myself not that long ago when I saw the above picture of John McCain. The first thing I thought of when I saw this picture, was the picture immediately below.

Is it just me, or does McCain not bear an uncanny resemblance to the undead abomination created by Victor Frankenstein?

And of course, thinking about the zombies, and how the undead comparison can be made to contemporary politics, I got to thinking about George A. Romero’s 1979 masterpiece, Dawn of the Dead. In particular, I got to thinking about the end of Dawn of the Dead. SPOILER ALERT for all you cinematic illiterates who haven’t seen the film.

In the final act of Dawn of the Dead, the zombies have overrun the mall where our four heroes have taken refuge. Two of our heroes are dead, one is about to make a retreat via helicopter, and Peter Washington (Ken Foree) sits with a gun pressed to his temple, ready to kill himself. The world around him is spinning out of control, and Peter sees no hope at all, so he has decided to end his life. But at the last moment, he snaps out of it, and realizes there is something worth fighting for—namely a better tomorrow even in the face a dark and deadly today. Below is the end sequence of Dawn of the Dead. WARNING: This gets pretty graphic, folks.

The more I think about it, the more I think that we, as in America, are basically living out what amounts to a real-life version of Romero’s zombie movies. There is, in fact, no more room left in Hell, and the dead are walking the Earth.

It is easy to despair in time like this, and feel much like Peter does in the final moments of Dawn of the Dead. But the important thing to remember is that no matter how bad it seems, he does not give up. He fights for the hope of something better. That’s right…the HOPE of something better.

When Romero chose to give Dawn of the Dead an up-beat ending wrapped in pessimism, he could not have come up with a conclusion more reflective of the times we live in. And what is interesting is that while Romero created a vision of world over-run by chaos and destruction, the two people with the courage and hope to fight for a better tomorrow are a white woman and a black man—Gaylen Ross and Ken Foree, the original Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Though not fully appreciated by many, Romero’s 2005 film Land of the Dead also warrants close scrutiny in the way it reflects our current state of affairs in this country. In the fourth film in his series, Romero cast the zombies as a new society in world gone to Hell. The zombies in Land of the Dead are more than flesh-eating ghouls out to devour the living. Indeed, they are now the poor, disenfranchised and neglected masses that lack adequate shelter, nourishment, education or medical care. The zombies are in fact the working class and the poor of America in desperate need of someone to lead them to a better “life.” Enter “Big Daddy” (Eugene Clark), a massive black zombie who lead his fellow walking dead in an assault that shifts the power balance. Again, it is black man—dead though he may be—who leads the way to a better tomorrow.

Comparing Big Daddy to Barack Obama may seem like a bit of a stretch, but most of the population of this country is more like the walking dead than most would care to admit. And if there is anything that we can take from the picture above of Big Daddy, it is that he holds in his hands the head of a man—a representation of the average American—who is woefully unaware of how screwed he truly is.

At the end of the day, if we are to be led by the walking dead, I suppose what we have to ask ourselves is what monster do we follow. Do we follow Frankenstein’s creation, with his diseased brain—a metaphor for McCain’s lingering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—or do we follow the black guy who is trying to lead us to a better place?


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