When One Flew Into the White House - After Leaving the Cuckoo's Nest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Many of my generation may remember Jack Nicholson’s 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.


By Al Garcia

Many of my generation may remember Jack Nicholson’s 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

For those who do not remember the movie, it is about a patient in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, whose paranoia is evident from the first words uttered by the main character, Randal Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), who suffers from hallucinations and delusions.  The character’s worldview is dominated by his fear of what he calls the “Combine,” a huge conglomeration that controls society and forces people into conformity. 

Another main character is Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), a former army nurse who runs the ward with harsh, mechanical precision and tyrannical power.  Two characters.  Two minds.  Two delusional and aberrant individuals living in a simmering and seething neurotic and paranoid nest of untethered minds and unchained obsessions.

That was a movie.  McMurphy and Ratched were exaggerated characters.  The movie won the 1976 Best Picture Academy Award, and Nicholson and Fletcher won as Best Actors that year as well.  And, after two hours and 13 minutes, we were able to walk out of theaters and return to the normalcy of our lives and our well-tended nests in the real world.

If only we could have walked out of our surreal lives and return to the normalcy of lives of logic, fact, truth, common sense and common decency during the Trump Administration.  If only our reality had been a bad B-movie dreamed, and not lived.  Instead, America lived in an asylum of madness and psychosis for four years, and the experience continues.  The sad part was that Americans were the inmates, witnessing the ever-changing and ever-growing conflict between two characters living in one mind – imagine McMurphy and Nurse Ratched in one body, sharing one delusional, uncontrollable, and irrational mind.  Imagine the torment and the pain of living with such a damaged and injured mind.  Imagine the harm, destruction and disruption such a mind could cause – has caused.  The tragedy is, we didn’t have to imagine.  We lived it. 

And that brings us to where we are today.  A nation still on the brink of chaos, turmoil and disorder at every turn, while our ex-President plays golf and continues to stuff his pockets with the wealth of our nation and our citizens, and the capital of our struggles and our grief.  Every day the darkening clouds of growing discontent and disillusionment overtake the remaining rays of hope and sparks of shattered dreams.

About five years ago, a man left his gold-gilded cuckoo’s nest atop the shimmering and glistening Trump Tower in New York City, and flew to a new nesting place among the blood, sweat and tear-stained remnants of an old and even tattered White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.  It was a house built on ideas, ideals, concepts and precepts foreign and even abhorrent to a man brought up to believe that money, and only money, assures success, happiness, power, and most importantly, control.  Everything else was a hoax to him.  Everyone else was there simply to serve and to defer and submit to him.  And so, America changed.  And so, Americans began to serve, defer and submit to the whims of a madman, described by some as a true psychopath, sociopath and narcissist. 

During his tenure as President of the United States, the patient took over the asylum.  Gone were the restraints of shared power.  Gone was the chain of command and of law and order.  Gone was the logic and reason that once governed and guided our nation.  And gone was the nobility that defined America and explained our greatness. 

I found it incomprehensible that, with the incompetency, ineptitude and utter corruption displayed by the inarticulate and stammering President at that time, there were still those individuals who blindly and deafly followed, defended, enabled and excused the shenanigans and flagrant treachery, corruption and duplicity of that devious and dangerous man.  It was frightening to believe that 35 or even 40 percent of Americans had, and probably still have, lost their love of country, and were willing to embrace the hate, bigotry and racism that once almost destroyed our nation.  That thinking did not make America great again.  It only divided, destroyed and turned back the hands of time, and shackled again, the very spirit and soul that inspired and motivated us to strive and thrive. 

When I saw MAGA and Trump supports flying our American flag in front of their homes, or saw them wearing American flag pins on their lapels, I was outraged and offended -- for they were defiling the very symbol and idea they were attempting to destroy and extinguish.  How dare they, I thought back then, fly and display the red, white and blue under which our fighting men and women marched into battle and into harm’s way.  They were insulting our soldiers, who gathered on battlefields and strived to protect and defend battle-scared towns and cities, and sought out terrorists and extremists across the globe to protect and defend with their lives and with their unquestioned patriotism and devotion, the idea and ideals of freedom, democracy and liberty set forth on yellowing parchment that has kept alive the American spirit and the American Dream.

A scoundrel and a rogue had landed in our White House – after leaving a cuckoo’s nest atop a golden tower of deceit.  We willing let our White House become the nest for the gathering of vultures, scavengers and predators, who sought to devour the very heart and soul of us. 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Let’s enjoy the movie, but not let the tormented and delusional mind of one man still seeking to stay in power and relevant, at whatever cost, become our reality and the normalcy of our lives.

The swamp has overflowed onto the corridors of our government, and flooded the chambers of our Congress, leaving the cuckoo’s nest aflutter, and our democracy in disarray.

Submitted: June 05, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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