By Nancy Churchill
A Progressive Visionary
“Dozens of former members of Congress now receive handsome compensation from corporations and special interests as they attempt to influence the very federal government in which they used to serve,” says OpenSecrets.org.
Welcome to an unorthodox (bizarre?) exploration of eerie similarities between acts of Congress and imaginary tales of alien creatures overpowering humans to overthrow or consume them.
Our fable opens with the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors, in which a mythological flesh-eating plant with a voracious appetite convinces Seymour, the florist, to dish up his human rival in exchange for winning the heart of Audrey, the girl of his dreams.
Please note that without Seymour to feed it, the predator plant would surely perish. “Feed me! Feed me!” it cries, and Seymour, lusting after his prize, complies.
Things get ugly before Seymour realizes his terrible mistake, when the insatiable plant, not satisfied with merely one human victim, begins eyeing Audrey hungrily, and finally Seymour himself.
Fade to Final Days of Planet Earth, the 2006 thriller in which Lloyd Walker and Marianne Winters team up to investigate mysterious and bizarre disappearances in San Francisco. The mayor’s assistant (Daryl Hannah) invites them to Room 86, from which, Walker is warned, no one returns. Disregarding the warning, he discovers a tunnel leading to a cavern beneath City Hall, lined with pods of giant praying mantis young, feasting on carcasses of missing people.
Walker discovers the city is completely overrun with these insects that can take on human form at will, and that the mayor’s assistant is one of them. They’ve come from a barren planet to cultivate and consume the human race, helped by human enablers, whom they reward handsomely. Though Walker and Winters cannot distinguish the mantises from real humans, their task is to warn everyone else, and differentiate the enablers from the unaware.
Imaginary tales such as these express our deepest fears. This is not a movie set, our predators are not aliens from another planet (we created them, Frankenstein-like), nor are they mantises, though, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, they’ve managed to acquire human rights. Only a small number of these “intangible persons” have turned on us, assisted by their enablers.
Aliens-cum-humans do not breathe the air nor drink the water; they do not eat, nor do they have familial relationships. They never sleep, and may conceivably live forever. They need one thing only: cash, derived from humans’ need for air, water, food, relationships, health, transportation, etc.
And, like Seymour’s flesh-eating plant, their appetite is insatiable. Not satisfied with some cash, nor even most, they must have it all. Thus, social services — Social Security, unemployment, health care, etc. — earned by real humans, is perceived by them as depriving them of cash that is rightfully theirs.
If you guessed that our predators are giant corporations, their enablers members of Congress, and the “handsome compensation” mentioned above is their prize of choice, consider yourself warned.
Nancy Churchill was raised in the D.R.C. (Congo), raced stock cars on short dirt tracks for 25 years, and is a proud, lifelong member of “We, the People.” She lives in Oregon, Ill.
From the June 12-18, 2013, issue