“Sanity Clause” is my attempt to muscle into the “Christmas Carol”/”It’s A Wonderful Life”/”A Christmas Story” gaggle of tales-you-enjoy-in-front-of-the-fire-next-to-your-Christmas-tree. It asks the question, “Can a soulless billionaire/plutocrat find a soul? In the zero-sum scrum that is free market capitalism, it crazy to be generous? Is it ever too late to redeem the loveless life of a selfish, greedy narcissist?”
The Trump character is Magnus “Killer” Diller, a ruthless real estate developer. The one (big) difference between Trump and Diller is that Diller shuns publicity as fanatically as Trump pursues it. Diller is trying to unload his portfolio of shopping malls for 700 million dollars. One mall is bleeding money, holding up the deal. His associates urge him to unload it, but he insists on going undercover to root out the conspiracy of tenants he believes are trying to steal it from him. And what better way to uncover this conspiracy than by going undercover, and becoming the mall Santa?
He quickly discovers two things. first, he’s the world’s worst Santa (imagine Trump as Santa, yelling at kids and berating parents). Second, the mall’s “Cookie Lady” is the kind, generous, lovely woman he’s dreamed of. Will she speak to him when she discovers he’s not who he pretends to be, and he’s trying to put her cookie shop out of business?
My goal was to write a comic novel with as radical a character arc as that of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” and to do it in as many words (28,000). Trump has all the qualities of Scrooge—sociopathic, malevolent, greedy, and ruthless. By the end of the story, he’s generous, compassionate, and—importantly—happy. Magnus has a similar journey. And like Scrooge and George Bailey in “Wonderful Life,” he has to (almost) die to live.
This story isn’t overtly political, but I wrote it for people who come to Daily Kos. I believe that you, like me, yearn for a world that Jim Hendrix described when he said, “The world will know peace when the power of love overcomes the love of power.” The reason we read “A Christmas Carol” and watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” every year is that Dickens and Frank Capra take us on a narrative journey that proves that the most hopeless case can find hope, and the most irredeemable souls can be redeemed. “Sanity Clause” is a modern, comic version of these stories. Before we can change the minds of our foes, we need to open their hearts.