Spring, 2015. Scene opens with six men in suits gathered around a large conference table in hell’s most opulent high-rise. The view of the flames below is breathtaking really. But one gets used to these things.
Characters: Rugburn (Screwtape’s apprentice) and his right hand man, Rottswell and assorted cronies who bicker among themselves and generally play on their cell phones and tune out as if waiting for a meeting to start but don’t really care.
Rottswell: (leaning in) So boss, how can we get the Jesusy* ones to vote for our guy?
Rugburn: Easy. We make him pro-life.
Rottswell: What?! They’ll see right through that. They’ll take one look at his character–at everything he’s done, and left undone, everything he’s said, all of the Grand Master’s investments–and they’ll go for anyone else.
Rugburn: Stop fretting. You’re forgetting about Fox News. We’ve got this.
Rottswell: Maybe we need to look for somebody else. Isn’t his guy still giving big money to democrats? How long ago was it that he gave all that money to Senator Chuck Schumer, for example? How do we get him to him to switch over to a completely different brand of politics without anyone noticing?
Rugburn: Again, Fox News. Also, you underestimate the power of distraction. As for him, he just wants the power. He doesn’t care how he gets it. He’ll run on whatever platform we give him.
Rottswell: With all due respect, most weasely one, not all saints are republicans or even conservative. I mean the Enemy isn’t a republican or a democrat as you well know. I realize it’s in our best interest to obscure these things…But back to my point, despite our 20-year media strategy to withdraw the saints from general public discourse by labeling the media as secular and liberally biased, we can’t assume all the saints are going along with it. I mean, there are even Christ-following reporters in mainstream media. They make damn effective reporters because they’re so obsessed with truth and [he cringes, can barely say it] justice.
Rugburn: Right, you numbskull. [Rug burn smacks Rottswell on the back of the head. The other cronies in the room look up.] Why do you think we took out Gwen Eiffel? That effectiveness, that accountability, that smile, that work ethic and compassion. She had to go. Disengaging them from mainstream media is half of the equation. They can’t be receiving the same information. It just leaves too much room for interpretation, dialogue and commonality. Separate information, separate analysis equals zero common ground. Isolate, insulate, fabricate, annihilate. You got me?
*I didn’t come up with this term. I got it from Anne Lamott. Thanks, Anne.