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Will the Last Sane Person on Planet Earth Please Step Forward?

An examination of the illogic and confusion inherent in contemporary culture and society.

Okay, I admit it. I’ve completely surrendered searching for any semblance of reason amid the current political scene. Republicans are repudiating and devouring their own support base. Democrats have swung so far left they can’t even articulate the difference between socialism and communism. We have what appears to be shaping up as a contest for the office of POTUS between a bombastic, narcissistic, boorish political neophyte versus an unconscionable, lying, corrupt, incompetent hypocrite. Now really, these are the choices we have to select a leader for our nation? Give me shelter!

I decided to forgo wrestling with the illogic of politics for a spell and concentrate instead on finding some island of inspiration and hope elsewhere in the media. Can we still discover glimmerings within the common man and common woman of a retained grounding in sense and sensibility while living their daily lives? Spoiler alert! The conclusions drawn from my exploration may not seem uplifting.

A historic blizzard is enveloping the eastern seaboard, shutting down travel and threatening vast power outages. As much as 30 inches of blinding snow and near-hurricane force winds are predicted in places. Nevertheless, the Washington Examiner reports that a group of young people are conducting the annual March for Life in Washington’s National Mall on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Tending to be extremely more progressive in their views than their parents and grandparents, the youth today, however, in regard to abortion, are shifting toward a pro-life stance—so much so even as to risk frostbite, hypothermia and even death demonstrating their position. Is this courage and commitment, or suicidal folly? All in one’s perspective, I suppose.

Yesterday’s Kansas City Star featured an article with the headline “Murder Suspect Marries a Key Witness.” The gist of the details was that a local man murdered his former girlfriend, their 1-year-old son and her current boyfriend, the shootings witnessed by his current girlfriend. The current girlfriend confirmed to police what happened, but is now marrying the suspect so she’ll not have to testify in court, thus severely hampering the prospects for a conviction. Now, I ask you, is that any way to pick out a husband? Or perhaps she instigated the whole thing, and, if so, why isn’t she being charged as an accessory? Who can guess.

That same issue also carried a story about a police officer in Oklahoma City being convicted on 18 counts of different varieties of sexual assault and sentenced to 263 years in prison. (Lucky for him he was acquitted on 18 other counts or he might have gotten 526 years in prison!) Apparently he was guilty of detaining black women in seedy areas and checking for outstanding warrants or drug paraphernalia and then forcing himself on them. The article described him as half white, half Japanese and the son of a longtime Oklahoma police officer. Well, there’s a switch, I thought. Instead of white policemen shooting young black men, now we have a mixed-race officer raping young black women. The boys in blue these days just can’t seem to get their act together!

Another detail in that same article also piqued my interest. The officer’s various charges included some of second-degree rape. Now what exactly is that, I wondered? I thought rape was rape. Is that like when someone wakes up in the morning having no intention of raping anyone and later suddenly finds himself engaged in unpremeditated, nonconsensual sexual intercourse or something? Kind of a big “woops!”—sorry ‘bout that! Researching the definition, I discovered that “second-degree rape” has specific legal parameters pertaining to Oklahoma, may involve age differentials, nonuse of threatening instrumentation, mental or physical helplessness, etc. Hmmmmm. Well, who knew? Makes one wonder if Bill Cosby might be a classic example. Doubt he ever spent much time in Oklahoma however.

Enough, enough, I said to myself. Abandoning the newspaper, Internet and TV for a while, I opened a package that had just arrived in the mail from a financial advisor whose offer of some free reading material I’d accepted. The package contained a sample newsletter and two books. The first book was titled The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System. The second was titled National Bankruptcy: Why the Middle Class Is Doomed. Well, so far as I’m concerned today, that’s all she wrote.

What was it H. L. Mencken said exactly—“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”? I’d say the old boy knew whereof he spoke. I have some friends who firmly believe there are other planets with life and other worlds out there galore far beyond the developmental level of this one. I hope they’re right because I think I’m about to give up on this one. Scotty, beam me up!

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Mark Scheel
Mark Scheel grew up in east-Kansas farm country. He attended both Kansas State University and The University of Kansas, majoring in psychology and English. Prior to writing full time he served overseas with the American Red Cross in Vietnam, Thailand, West Germany and England, taught at Emporia State University and was an information specialist with the Johnson County Library in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. His stories, articles and poems have appeared in numerous magazines including The Little Balkans Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Cincinnati Poetry Review, The Kansas City Star, Heritage of Kansas, Samisdat, and Poet as well as many sites online such as Common Ground News. His literary activities have also involved membership in The Kansas Authors Club, a seat on the board of directors for Potpourri Publications Company and an editorial position with Kansas City Voices magazine. He co-authored the book Of Youth and the River: the Mississippi Adventure of Raymond Kurtz, Sr., and his collection of stories and poems, A Backward View, was awarded the 1998 J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award. His most recent book is titled The Pebble: Life, Love, Politics and Geezer Wisdom.

4 comments to Will the Last Sane Person on Planet Earth Please Step Forward?

  • Well, since no one else has stepped forward, I guess that makes me the Last Sane Person on Planet Earth….and, at age 79, I can’t hold on too much longer, so — barring a miracle –Planet Earth is heading into the throes of complete and final lunacy.

    It’s been nice knowing you, Mark.

  • Don Frankel

    Since sane is not my cup of tea, I can hardly step forward. I do write about the inanity of it all but the news is like the Bible in that “what you are libel” to read in there “well it ain’t necessarily so.”

    Also same with the candidates not just these two but people who run for office actually do put out detailed papers and they do speak to the issues but the Mass Hysteria concentrates on sound bites and whatever is the most sensational. So if the people running do say things that are cogent and on point but also say or do something sensational guess which the Mass Hysteria goes with?

  • mistermuse,

    Truly the pending apocalypse, mistermuse. Truly the apocalypse. Hang on as long as you can. I’m afraid of the dark! >:-|


  • Don,

    Well, fortunately muse stepped forward, but he advises he’s near the end of his rope. So we’re in grave danger.

    I absolutely agree regarding the “Mass Hysteria.” Scoundrels!


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