JOIN US TONIGHT FROM 10 -MIDNIGHT EASTERN ON DARKNESS RADIO WITH DAVE SCHRADER. WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT OUR BOOK, SENSING THE FUTURE, TO BE RELEASED JANUARY 10. LISTEN HERE.
I was taking Megan to a garage to pick up her car and she was just finishing THE DEAD ZONE, by Stephen King that was published 37 years ago. The story features Johnny Smith who fell on the ice and hit his head when he was six and was later in a car crash that put him in a coma for four years. When he came out of it, he could see future events.
As we approached the shop, Megan said: “Dad, listen to this.” It was a passage in which Johnny has written a letter to this father. In it, he says:
If Stillson becomes president, he’s going to worsen an international situation that is going to be pretty awful to begin with. If Stillson becomes president, he is going to end up precipitating a full-scale nuclear war. I believe that the initial flashpoint for this war is South Africa. And I also believe that in the short, bloody course of this war, it’s not going to be just two or three nations throwing warheads, but maybe as many as twenty—plus terrorist groups.
Stillson is on the fast-track to become president. He’s an arrogant, boastful businessman and huckster, who wears a hardhat—remindful of Trump’s baseball hat—to attract working class supporters. His detractors, including Johnny, consider him dangerous. If Stillson is elected, Johnny picks up that he will be America’s last president.
Megan googled ‘Greg Stillson Donald Trump’ on her phone to see if others had noted the comparison. She didn’t even need to put in Trump’s name. It came right up with Stillson, and there were several choices of blogs and websites writing about the comparison.
There was even a tweet from…no, not Trump, but King from earlier this year: Populist demagogues like He Who Must Not Be Named aren’t a new thing; see THE DEAD ZONE, published 37 years ago.
I don’t think there’s any question about who King was referring to in that tweet. Trump was on the rise knocking off competitors one after another. Megan was finishing the book just a couple of days after Trump was tweeting about expanding America’s nuclear capacity just as Russia’s Putin was saying the same for Russia. Putin is dangerous and crafty. He’s now worth an astonishing $85 billion, even though his salary is the equivalent of $137,000 a year. Yet, like many others, I’m more concerned about nukes in the hands of a Trump, a man who has repeatedly shown how easily offended he is and how he always feels a need to strike back.
Johnny glimpses the end of the world when he shakes hands with Stillson and knows he had to do something to stop him. He fails, but inadvertently Stillson’s reaction reveals his willingness to sacrifice others, even children, for his cause—a weakness that turns into his downfall.