There is a perceived problem afflicting a portion of today’s America, and a great deal of people would argue that the problem is very real. They live their daily lives frustrated with the direction of their country/society, fed up with the people that surround them, and afraid there is little hope that things will get better. Many people in America feel like Adam and Barbara Maitland from the movie Beetlejuice.
Try to see the parallels for a moment. You just came to the realization that you are no longer in the world that you thought you were in. You don’t feel dead, but it seems like you are. No one notices you or what you care about. You don’t understand what is going on or how you got to this point. You have questions and no one has answers. You try to get help, but no one is there to give you that help. The world is so strange to you when you walk out your front door, that you’re better off staying inside forever. And now, to top it all off, these weird people you don’t like are moving in, and there’s seemingly nothing you can do to get rid of them or their weird art. You just want things to go back to the way they were. You’d do anything to have life go back to the way it was before.
To a lot of Americans (seemingly) this is exactly how they feel in today’s America. They are scared, they want help, they are fed up, and they are ready to do whatever they have to in order to get what they want…
…and then their television lights up.
There’s a man, telling them everything they want to hear. He seems to understand exactly what their problems are, and seems to know exactly what to do to fix them. Sure, his hair is very odd, he’s wearing an obscene amount of makeup, and he seems a little abrasive, but he makes them wonder if that’s not exactly what they need: It’s time to shake things up. He’s telling them that he can make all of their problems go away, and all they have to do is empower him.
If you’ve seen the movie Beetlejuice, you know what happens after this point. The Maitland’s give Beetlejuice the go ahead, and all hell breaks loose. It turns out Beetlejuice is a shyster, a charlatan, a fraud. There were some who tried to warn them not to get involved with this man, but they wouldn’t listen. They didn’t do enough digging into who Beetlejuice really was. The Maitland’s let themselves make a poor decision out of fear and anger, and they ended up in much worse trouble then they were in before… Everyone ends up in much worse trouble.
In the end, the Maitland’s realize what a mistake Beetlejuice is just before it’s too late. They realize they will never be able to get back to the way things used to be, but that’s okay. While the Deetz’ who moved into their home are strange to them, and flawed (as we all are), they are not bad people. The Maitland’s learn to live with the Deetz’ so that everyone has a better life. Most importantly, the Maitland’s learn that they are the ones who are responsible for the quality of their own lives, and that as long as they live out of fear and anger, nothing good will come of that.
So BEWARE. You may be living the plot of Beetlejuice.