For those of you old enough to remember black & white prime time TV, or happen to watch science fiction reruns, you probably know about the venerable dramatic show “The Twilight Zone.” The show was famous for featuring episodes of characters confronted with unusually incongruous situations ranging from surrealistic to bizarre and even macabre, and ending in an ironic surprise plot twist.
This describes the Kafkaesque saga of a Michigan dairy farmer and conservative Republican state senator, Ed McBroom, as recently reported in The Atlantic Monthly. The farmer-legislator, chair of his state senate oversight committee, led an exhaustive investigation into the claims of election fraud in Michigan made by former President Orange Head and his GOP toadies.
McBroom’s committee spent eight months interviewing scores of witnesses, subpoenaing and reviewing thousands of documents, and extensively deliberating. They eventually issued a report concluding that absolutely no fraud occurred in the Michigan 2020 election.
The committee report set off hysterical criticism from the sacred GOP cow, Boss Trump himself. The Don even published the phone numbers of McBroom and the GOP senate majority leader, urging that people call and “tell them to do the right thing!” That is, to parrot the party line and endorse Trump’s Big Election Lie.
Ed McBroom has lived his life honorably as an outstanding citizen, hard-working dairy farmer, church choir director, father of a large family, and a conscientious and effective legislator. Although he dared to contradict Trump’s bogus election schtick, Ed figured that his neighbors — the people who knew him and elected him — would believe his findings of a legitimate 2020 election.
But no, the GOP community of Ed McBroom have been brainwashed into believing the false rantings of the Orange Grifter and his propaganda networks, and rejecting the truth and its teller in their midst. Ed and his family also are receiving nasty calls and email, and threats of harm from many, including members of his own community—people that he has known for years—people he considered his neighbors and friends.
I can almost hear the deep baritone of the late TV host and writer Rod Serling, concluding this episode with his customary terse commentary: “Ed McBroom—formerly respected member of his community—now cast out as a pariah for telling an important truth that people detest and reject—-because they fell into the trap of the Trump twilight zone.”