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Let The Joker Beat Himself

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The anger is this election cycle frightens me – on both sides of the aisle.  Bernie Sanders should be unthinkable – that he won New Hampshire as convincingly as he did is testament to a) what an awful candidate Hillary is, and b) how much anger there is in this cycle.  People are so upset that they are entertaining the unthinkable.

Analogously, in the world of comics there is an unthinkable – Batman killing the Joker.  The debate is endless in fan sites throughout the internet, and with good reason.  There have been entire miniseries/graphic novels dedicated to the question – it is pretty much the question that drives every Joker story line written, and not just with Batman.  It is not uncommon for Batman to show up at the last minute and prevent some other hero from doing what he won’t.  We’ll explore the “why’s” in a minute, but Batman never succumbs to his anger.

Nor should we in this election cycle.  We have many, many reasons to be very, very angry.  Obama’s governance by regulatory fiat and legislative legerdemain is reason for all of us to be angry.  Forget what he pursues – his blatant disregard for the rules that have made this nation what it is are sufficient to justify the anger.  But we cannot give in to our anger for the same reason Batman can never kill Joker.

A 2013 post at HuffPo did a decent job of explaining Batman’s self- restraint:

Because the Joker wins if Batman kills him. That’s what the Joker wants. Everything he does is to taunt Batman into killing him. In fact, the interesting part of their relationship, the real conflict of each story, is not to see if Batman will stop him (he will), but to watch Batman struggle with not killing him, because anyone other than Batman would of course kill him.

The same can be said of Obama.  If we allow our anger to carry the day, he gets what he wants, he wins.  If we add to his constitutional erosion in order to beat him, he knows he can win that game.  The Joker is better at mayhem than anyone else.  If Batman sets loose mayhem by killing the Joker, the mayhem takes over.  There is no way we can beat Obama at his rule defying game – if we go there, we lose.

Now, at this point the analogy breaks down.  There is a huge moral difference between what Obama has done and the repugnant killing of the Joker.  Batman can never kill the Joker, but he should have been executed after trial long, long ago – I don’t care how insane he is.  Nothing Obama has done warrants that.

In the seminal 1986 miniseries “The Dark Knight Returns,” we see the Joker commit suicide in a fashion that makes it look like Batman did it – he thinks he wins that way.  He tires to make the world entertain the unthinkable, even if by deception.  Of course, it puts Batman in a position of having to clean up a huge mess, but in the end Joker is gone and Batman wins.  Joker does not win.

I think that is how we need to approach this election.  Bernie Sanders is the Dems flirting (for now, if he is the nominee they’ve married him) with suicide.  Hillary is pretty much the same story, just not as dramatic.  They think they’ll win, but they won’t – at least not if we don’t screw up and let our anger get the better of us.  We have them on the mat, they are crippled and unable to escape our grasp.  If we let our anger carry the day, they can still win.  If we stand here and watch them do themselves in, well the ultimate victory is ours.

We just need to focus on the mess we are going to have to clean up.  The mess is enormous and growing by the moment.  We face a job that is unique and perhaps the largest any peacetime president has ever had to lead the nation through.  We best choose a candidate up to that task.


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