Bob Hauk: There was an accident. About an hour ago, a small jet went down inside New York City. The President was on board.
Snake Plissken: President of what?
Bob Hauk: That's not funny, Plissken. You go in, find the President, bring him out in 24 hours, and you're a free man.
Snake Plissken: 24 hours, huh?
Bob Hauk: I'm making you an offer.
Snake Plissken: Bull&%$#!
Bob Hauk: Straight just like I said.
Snake Plissken: I'll think about it.
Bob Hauk: No time. Give me an answer.
Snake Plissken: Get a new president!
Bob Hauk: We're still at war, Plissken. We need him alive.
Snake Plissken: I don't give a f*&^ about your war. . .or your president.
Bob Hauk: Is that your answer?
Escape from New York, 1981
In the dark, comedy-drama science fiction cult classic Escape from New York, New York City (the Manhattan borough but referred to here as New York City) has become a penitentiary secured by "50 foot high concrete walls and the bridges are all mined." Aircraft that patrol its perimeter fire on and kill any prisoners who scale the wall and make it near the top.
If President Donald Trump wins a second term, he probably will attempt to build a wall on the northern border and continue his southern border barrier project. He will issue subsequent orders for patrolling drones to shoot and kill anyone trying to get in or out. He'll have a mandate to do it after a 2020 election victory and will have an obsequious military to carry out the building of and security for such a wall. Large American urban centers will teem with paramilitary enforcers of Trump's elected dictatorship.
Anyway, the Supermax New York City prison in Escape from New York was needed because the United States had turned into one massive crime scene from border to border. There was a 400 percent increase in crime. New York City, with massive buildings in place, surrounded by water, was an ideal place for a prison to house the worst criminals in the United States.
One can't but help watch the cast of characters who play the movie's characters without some admiration. They include Kurt Russell (SD Snake Plissken), Lee Van Cleef (Hauk, Commissioner US Police Force), Donald Pleasence (President), Ernest Borgnine (Cabbie, jazz fanatic), Isaac Hayes (the Duke), Adrienne Barbeau (Maggie), and Harry Dean Stanton (Brain).
John Carpenter co-wrote and directed Escape from New York. In an interview he said that he "wrote the screenplay in the mid-1970's during the time of Watergate when Nixon was run out of office because he was involved in a burglary. The whole feeling in the nation was of real cynicism about our president...Its kind of America in a way, put into the future. It's...our fears."
After a long and deadly trek, Snake succeeds in getting the president out of New York City. The rescue was made more urgent by a cassette tape of a speech on nuclear fusion that the president was carrying. The tape's contents would lead to the end of the war that the US was waging against China and the Soviet Union (Russia).
The president, as played by Donald Pleasence, is a close approximation of Donald Trump; or, arguably, any president. When the president's Air Force One is falling from the sky, his words to the doomed crew are, "God save me and watch over you." Pleasence's president is smarmy and psychopathic. After Snake has gotten the president to safety he asks for a few minutes of the president's time. Here is the dialogue that follows:
President: I want to thank you back there for saving my life. If there's anything you want... anything at all...
Snake Plissken: Just a moment of your time.
President: Of course...Yes?
Snake Plissken: We did get you out. But a lot of people died in the process. I just wondered how you felt about it.
President: Well, I...I wanna thank them. This nation appreciates their sacrifice."
The president leaves Snake and moves to a microphone to play the contents of the tape. He fetches the tape from his briefcase not knowing that Snake replaced the president's tape with Cabbie's jazz tape. The president loads what he thinks is a recording dealing with nuclear fusion into a tape-deck and what gets aired is Cabbie's Bandstand Boogie. Snake walks away while pulling the tape out of the president's cassette and ripping it up.
Snake is a decorated combat veteran, a plus for any presidential candidate. He gets the job done: the buck stops with him. Americans like a clean beginning and end, not an endless War on Terror. He'd have acted on the COVID 19 Pandemic aggressively.
Trump is taking a page out of Recep Erdogan's, president of Turkey, electoral playbook. If Trump scores a second term as president the media analysis will read exactly like this 2018 report from Haaretz.
"In elections that were neither free nor fair, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stage-managed a mandate for ultimate power...But the victory is at expense of national cohesion. The country is more divided than ever - while looking ahead towards an economic disaster... The June 2018 elections will go down as the day that Turkey's opposition could have defeated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and halted the country's decent towards an elected dictatorship, but failed...There's also of course the fact that the elections were neither free nor fair. Erdogan and the AKP used state resources to ensure victory. The media is almost totally pro-Erdogan after years of co-option and censorship. On election day, there were reported cases of fraud, including ballot stuffing, an incident where a car filled with ballots was pulled over heading to a polling station near the southern city of Urfa. Ahead of the elections, legislation was passed to allow ballots without official seals to be counted..."
As a reminder of Joe Biden's "empathy" we turn to a piece written in The Guardian in 2019.
"As times have changed, Biden has expressed retrospective misgivings about some of those earlier actions and stances. For example, he very recently attempted to offer an apology of sorts, more like an unpology, to Anita Hill, which she quite understandably rejected. And he remains a pure, dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal, as much as ever a tool of Wall Street and corporations. We deserve better than a candidate who wants us to look past his record and focus only on the image he wants to project and, when that tack fails, can offer progressives only a "my bad".
[Biden's] most conspicuous affront to women was his role as chair of the Senate judiciary committee in condoning committee members' vile and viciously sexist attacks on Anita Hill when she came forward to testify against the supreme court nominee Clarence Thomas. He then abruptly adjourned the hearing while two other female former employees of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Thomas were waiting to give testimony corroborating Hill's allegations; Biden thus assured confirmation of one of the worst, most dangerously conservative supreme court appointees of the 20th century.
In addition to Biden's disturbing record on domestic policy, he has been a consistent warmonger. He has supported every military intervention he's been able to, including, most disastrously voting for the 2002 resolution authorizing war against Iraq and ushering the country into the endless war against "terror" we remain immersed in."
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
John Stanton can be reached at email@example.com