Opinion | Tony Jones: Here there be monsters | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Tony Jones: Here there be monsters

Halloween is right around the corner. Pumpkin spice is redolent in the air and folks are curling up on the couch with popcorn to watch “scary movies.” I grew up on, and have always been a fan of, old-school horror movies, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, that kind of thing. Classics that were soon joined and overshadowed by the slasher movies that are so common today. 

I’m still a monster movie fan, but nowadays it seems the true horror is showing up on my newsfeed. We’re inundated daily with headlines that would make the wolfman run and hide. Whether it’s mass shootings, corrupt politicians that will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, or the threat of nuclear war, we don’t need Hollywood scripts to engender fear for the future. These horrors add to the undercurrent of tension and uncertainty that we live with every day. 

Certainly, there are good things that occur daily, and one might think that the media’s “if it bleeds it leads” mentality is at least partially responsible for stoking the fear that grips so many of us. But if you accept the reality of our current political and foreign affairs, it’s hard not to see the comparisons between the monsters in movies and the real monsters that stalk our daily lives. 

Sadly, one of those real monsters constantly in the headlines is the 45th president of the United States — the Michael Myers of politicians. Myers, the villain from the Halloween movie franchise, ends each episode after being defeated, showing signs of renewed life as the credits start to roll, letting us know there’s more horror to come. Similarly, our former president, a man whose corruption is evident across party lines and who should never grace a podium or ballot again, just keeps coming back no matter the blows to his plots and credibility. 

Everyone reading this has recently lived through another familiar horror movie theme: a global pandemic, but that scenario potentially pales to the greatest horror of all: war. There’s a monster loose in Russia and his rampage likely will not cease until he’s crushed those who would defy him or he himself has been destroyed. Those of us who believed that the threat of nuclear annihilation ended with the Cold War, are finding out that isn’t the case. The threat of Russia unleashing nuclear weapons in the Russia-Ukraine war is real, as is the potential for nuclear escalation. Nuclear war is the Godzilla of horrors, capable of obliterating whole cities and populations and leaving regions of the world uninhabitable for decades, if not centuries, to come. The potential for it has probably never been greater than it is now. 

People must have the courage to stand up to the monsters, including those that emerge from their own ranks. Fortunately, as in every horror movie, there are courageous fighters out there. Folks on both sides of the political spectrum, including the few remaining Republicans like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who aren’t afraid to call out the monster for what it is and fight back. I believe that the Democrats who comprise the Jan. 6 Committee are truly fighting to save the soul of our nation, but they also have political incentive to pursue the facts behind the insurrection. So, it’s committee members Cheney and Kinzinger, so-called RINOs, who most deeply inspire me. They are some of the last remaining hopes left for true Republican values and are fighting for integrity in government and to take the party back from the fringe. So, this Halloween, understand that there are real monsters out there and that you and I are the heroes who must overcome the obstacles and defeat them. We do this by standing up for truth, justice, equal rights and the rule of law, and we do it by voting for leaders who will uphold these values. There are heroes on both sides of the political aisle and it’s your votes that will enable them to take the fight to the monsters on our behalf. But we mustn’t rest on our laurels, because as in most horror movies today, there’s always a sequel, and if we’re not vigilant, the monsters will return.

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