There are no Compassionate Conservatives in lifeboats…
or anywhere else.
In Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1944 film, Lifeboat, a few British and U.S. civilians, a German combatant, and a couple merchant marines are stuck in a lifeboat* together after their ship and a U-boat sink each other in combat. It was highly controversial back then, and our updated contemporary version is too; it goes like this.
It seems the USS GOP, an aged and fossilized frigate of the past, had been gradually filling up with bilge from Fox News and Rightwing radio for decades, but nobody thought to purge any of the foul brew until it was far too late. The GOP began floundering after Captains Bush and Cheney abandoned ship in 2008. As she lay wallowing keel up, a lifeboat of the GOP was launched containing a few of her “finest” officers. Our metaphorical film begins with this lifeboat drifting aimlessly in a moral sea of polarized propaganda.
The scene begins with “Rubio,” the spawn of illegal Cuban immigrants turned naturalized Americans, being pulled aboard the lifeboat, but when the “Others” see he is kinda brown, they accuse him of being a possible Muslim terrorist infiltrator, despite his finely tailored Cuban fishing ensemble, and it’s suggested he be thrown back into the shark infested waters. He denies being a Muslim or a terrorist, claiming instead to be a hapless immigrant patriot off a sinking Cuban fishing boat. A vitriolic debate erupts with one Teddy Cruz, a creepy weakling derp with a smart mouth and an assault rifle, born in Canada of, yeah, another Cuban father, and an American mother; but he demands this Cuban be thrown out of the boat to be eaten or to drown, whichever comes first.
Surprise surprise, some of the Others object! And you might think, well hey, there’s some “compassion” for you right there; but you would be wrong. An obscenely wealthy real estate narcissist, Donald Trump, and a disgraced and bitter ex-CEO, Carly Fiorina— who conveniently speaks “Cuban”— instinctively realize they need someone to keep the boat clean for them, so serve them, to empty their shitpots; they insist he be allowed to stay.
Ben Carson, a black man, who was allowed to stay because he was the GOP ‘s corpsman and seemed to know his way around the privatized medical kit, shrugs his agreement. Cruz and Rubio are immediately put on salary by Trump to use the boat’s oars— not to make way— but to keep out any small-o “others”— you know— anyone lost at sea who may try to climb onboard.
Fiorina, it seems, whose primary concern at first was a run in her stocking, has managed to bring her luggage with her. Soon it becomes apparent she is obsessed over (supposedly) having seen a video in which a fetus is sold one piece at a time by evil liberals. She claims to have the proof in her luggage, but can’t actually find it when asked, and her endless daily bleating about it provokes a series of escalating altercations with most of the men-Trump-who want to
use her for bait use her for food when the time comes.
Our film then follows the lifeboat cohabitants as they attempt to organize and mete out their rations, set a course for still waters, green pastures, and, you know— coexist to stay alive. With the exception of Trump, they start out being good-natured and optimistic about getting rescued and making their lives “great again.”
About every half hour Trump makes it clear to everyone that he is “astonishingly wealthy,” and if he gets all the food and fresh water he wants, he assures all of them that those who “treat him right” will later see his wealth “trickle down,” so to speak, upon them all.
In a grandiose ceremony, Trump writes a ridiculously large I.O.U to Cruz on a piece of toilet tissue, if Cruz will provide him with
all 99% of the lifeboat’s food and water. Cruz and his assault rifle takes charge, rationing what little food and water they have accordingly, with 99% going to Trump, and the rest to himself, Fiorina, Carson, and Rubio.
As the days drift slowly on, the backstories of each of their characters are scrutinized; divisions of race, religion, sex, economic status, and nationality are brought up from the dark depths to the surface. But they soon descend into deception, fear-mongering, and ugly bigotry with each other.
Rubio, who has been secretly consulting a compass, wrests the assault rifle away from Cruz during one of their debilitating daily debates. It turns out Cruz‘s assault rifle was never actually loaded, because he never had any real ammunition.
Early the next morning before the gray dawn, as the Others are sleeping fitfully, Carson, who has only survived onboard because of his skills with the knife he keeps up his sleeve— and more recently his drinking of copious amounts of seawater*— catches Rubio sneaking a sip of bottled water he had secreted in suitcoat of his tailored Cuban ensemble.
*The salinity of seawater is almost four times that of our bodily fluids. Unchecked, the net transfer of water from the inside of your cells to the outside will cause the cells to shrink— and shrinkage is never good. Dehydration sets in; depleted body fluids; muscle cramps; dry mouth; and yeah, thirst.
The body tries to compensate for the fluid loss by increasing the heart rate and constricting blood vessels to maintain blood pressure and flow to vital organs. You’re going to feel nausea, weakness, and delirium.
Thus Carson, babbling incoherent word salad about Rubio to his drowsy fellow travelers, is too delirious to be taken seriously; they return to their slumber, even as Ben gets bumped off the stern, and quickly sinks out of site.
When a brutal sun eventually awakens the Others, and finding no one to carry away their fetid bedpans, they turn to question Rubio. When they notice that his upper lip is actually sweating— like Richard Nixon’s used to do when he was lying— Cruz discovers his hoarded bottles of Poland Spring water in his jacket. In a spasm of anger led by Fiorina, they descend upon him as a group, beating him with their fists and Fiorina’s luggage, and throw him overboard.
Then Trump personally strikes him numerous times with one of Ben‘s boots to prevent him from re-boarding and, as he struggles to stay afloat in the murky water, Trump, in mock disillusionment of Rubio‘s behavior, laments to Fiorina and Cruz: “He was such a terrible person. What a loser. What do you do with people like that? What else can you do?? We have no choice! We have no choice.”
Rubio is suddenly bitten in half by a huge great white shark.
Within a few hours, the Others are spotted by yet another Cuban fishing boat, to which Rubio had been steering them. But before they can be picked up, the fishing boat is sunk by smart bombs from a U.S. drone. A lone survivor, a frightened young Cuban seaman floating in the wreckage, grabs hold of their lifeboat. The surviving passengers begin debating whether to bring him aboard, or just bash his face in with a boat oar, when they are distracted by another approaching vessel— the USS Iowa. The Cuban sailor, seeing his chance, suddenly pulls a gun on them, but is surprised by Fiorina‘s luggage against his skull, and is disarmed. Cruz gets the sailor’s handgun and gives it to Trump.
The sailor asks, “Aren’t you going to kill me?” Trump waves the gun at him and mocks him in a high pitched whine, saying, “‘Aren’t you going to kill me?’ Didn’t you try to kill me?? What can you do with people like that? What else can you do?? We have no choice!”
How can we expect rich white men, who are not even prepared to pay their fair share of taxes to help those less fortunate than themselves, to suddenly decide to give up their lives for people that they may very well despise— brown people, black people, lesbians, Muslims, Syrians, atheists; others.
Tough times call for tough decisions, and after the last Republican debate it’s clear they think things couldn’t be worse. We’re at WAR they said. Immigrants are flooding across every border day and night, 24-7. And even if only ONE OF THEM eventually turns out to be a terrorist, well, we’re all fucked.
It’s painful to live in fear. But Republicans, it seems, will not live any other way, refusing to see the world as nothing but a threatening, horrifying catastrophe; with death and destruction looming over every new horizon. You know, they only need enough “other” people to keep them comfortable in their quarters, to bring them their food and water, to keep their boat from sinking.
What do you do with people like that?