Is American Politics a Movie Western?

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In the science fiction western of Westworld, humanoid androids are unsuspecting actors in an amusement park. Over time they wake up and realize that they have been abused and manipulated for decades as pawns in a game.

Similarly in the last year I have increasing started to feel like I’m a prisoner of an artificial reality.

I’m not accusing you of being an android, but you’d probably be an adorable machine. I’m also not implying that I’m an android.

I am saying that the motif of modern American politics is the embodiment of a contemporary Western. In almost any Western of this genre, a rebellious anti-hero is gunfighting criminals his own way against the landscape of the open desert. Many of the stories also feature characters struggling with displacement from their community, that might not accept their ideology of justice.

Analogously in politics, President Trump is evoked as the rebellious hero cast to reign in Washington. During the election the city of DC was depicted as a wretched and corrupt town in desperate need of rescue. The Sheriff is then naturally tasked with chasing out the criminals and restoring order.

Correspondingly with Donald’s successful election, he has pushed legislation to aggressively combat and imprison illegal immigrants. Furthermore playing the motif of a defiant Sheriff, Trump is unapologetic about dissing allies in NATO and the United Nations. In allegiance to the genre, he represents people that feel like their ideology is displaced from modern society. This behavior is undeniable because Trump expressed surpport for the imprisonment of U.S citizens accused of terrorism without due process. He has also supported the growth of the Patriot Act by expanding warrantless wiretapping of phones.

It’s not my intention to say that President Trump is the hero of this modern day tale or even that we are bystanders to a political gunfight on a national scale.

My position is that the administration’s political drama resembles the age old archetype, and this theater is by design.

Humanity is automatically attracted to epic stories. It is built into our DNA. From the time we are children we are told fantastic narratives by our parents and the media too. The tales only change as we get older and after awhile they become background noise. The media is aware of this attraction and will always feed it.

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