Being Rational and Being Superstitious

Hello Again is my latest paranormal mystery/thriller. One aspect I explore is the thin veneer of rationality we coat ourselves with. Underneath, we haven’t changed that much from the primitive caveman who thought the gods were angry when he heard thunder. One character in Hello Again remarks that it was easy to believe in the paranormal living in a small eastern European village at the turn of the nineteenth century. It’s quite another to accept the paranormal as normal when living in a large American city at a time when NASA is recruiting people for a one-way trip to Mars.

Rational? How many sports fans won’t change from their lucky shirt if their team is on a winning streak. How many gamblers won’t change seats at the gaming table if they are winning? What about the number 13. How much do you feel like crossing the spirits and taking a chance?

Hello Again illustrates that it really doesn’t take much to cause people to fall back into a belief in the supernatural. While many people now say they are not religious, that doesn’t mean they don’t utter a silent prayer when waiting for the results of a lottery or when sitting in the waiting room of a hospital.

So, what would you do if you suddenly started receiving text messages from someone who you know is dead, especially if the technology experts say they can’t explain it?

 

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Making a Pact with the Devil to Become President

It’s really struck me during this long long campaign that to paraphrase a well known movie line, Americans can’t handle the truth, and they certainly don’t want to hear it. So, let’s assume we gave truth serum to the major candidates just before they spoke. What would we hear?

TRUMP: Look I’m all about myself and power. I’ll say anything you want to hear if you vote for me. I don’t have any fixed positions or policies because all I really care about is becoming President. You know my father never thought highly about me, and this will show him wherever in hell he is that I am somebody and people love me. I’m the classic schoolyard bully. I’ll stomp all over anyone who disagrees with me, and women are just here for my amusement and pleasure. When they start to age, I trade up. Vote for me. Trust me, I am whatever you want me to be. Are you a racist? Well then, listen to my coded language. Are you very afraid of minorities taking your jobs? Listen to my coded language —we’ll make America white again.

CLINTON: I know I am a lousy politician, so I try to be very careful what I say. I poll test everything to make sure the most people will approve of my policy. I’ve always wanted to be President, and Mrs. Roosevelt has always been my personal hero—- Men are pigs –Look at Bill. I realize I’m about as exciting as oatmeal, but I’m running as the first female President. I happen to have the worst luck in the world. Who would have thought the first time I ran that I’d run into the first black President. This time, I banked on my experience. I figured I’d run against Jeb Bush, and the public could listen to us have really long discussions about the merits of our wonkie ideas. I’d win because I’ve always been the smartest kid in the class. So, what do I get instead? I’m running against a comic book figure, a cartoon that struts and acts politically incorrect and brings up all Bill’s bimbos. How do you fight against someone like that?

The problem is that the Republicans have poisoned the well for me for so long that my negatives are about as bad as Trump’s. The difference is that his voters are enthusiastic and will turn out while many Democrats will hate me so much for Bernie losing that they may stay home in protest. Why can’t I have any luck?

BERNIE: Look, I’m not a fool. I know I can’t give people what I promise because we’d need to have both the Senate and the House to pull it off. I need people to keep contributing money because my campaign is burning through the money much too fast. I want to have as many delegates in my pocket as I can so we can force changes in the Democratic platform. I realize it won’t matter in the short run because Hillary won’t really push for these things. Here’s my deep down secret: I’m praying the FBI indicts Hillary BEFORE the convention. Then I get the super delegates and I become the nominee.

The one thread that runs through all these candidates’ real thoughts is that they have to give Americans what they want to hear. It’s almost like a parent who can’t bear to tell little Carol or Billy that there really is no Santa Claus. Maybe, the parent thinks, we can wait another year. After all little America is less than three hundred years old.

Personally, I think Bernie might give Trump more of a battle than Hillary because ideas that Americans once scorned as socialist or communist now don’t seem that bad. Also, his voters are as fired up as those of Trump. Would Trump smear him as “Bernie the little Jew communist”? Sure, but medicare for all is not a bad platform to run on.