America right now is Westworld's Teddy Flood

In the final days of this election, my mind keeps going to Westworld (so, yeah, spoiler alert), specifically to the character of Teddy Flood, played by James Marsden. In one scene, we discover that Teddy, a robotic "host", was given a vaguely tragic backstory that was never fully developed. In another scene, faced again with the possibility of a future with fellow, increasingly sentient host Dolores (played by Evan Rachel Wood), Teddy alludes to some "reckoning" he needs to do first.

Running with this television show metaphor, it seems to me most Americans right now fall somewhere along the Teddy spectrum as his storyline progresses, with a collective backstory that is at least in part “a formless guilt you will never atone for,” and with a whole lot of reckoning yet to do. On one end, Teddy, vaguely optimistic, looks toward the future but never manages to break free from his story's loop. On the other end, Teddy's path, now with a fatalistic backstory, seems destined to lead to a violent end.

Choose your next adventure wisely, fellow Americans. Because this election ain't fiction.

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