Kickass, the doorstop dog, joins the keeper on the eve of the election to consider the impact of personal numbers, such as life expectancy which indicate that he—the keeper and his age-group ilk, may or may not be around for the next presidential go-round. That puts a sharper edge on things, and causes the keeper to attach undue symbolism to the collapse of a giant American flag display at a recent Trump rally.
With a history of only casual political involvement, the keeper suddenly finds himself emotionally immersed in what seems to be the choice to retain a semblance of human decency or revert to the snarling hostility that prevailed on lower steps of the big ladder.
Guns at polling places, crashing pickup trucks into campaign busses, ripping down yard signs, encouraging idiotic violence, hinting of refusal to accept election results, all these retreats from common sense and decency combine to produce a great sadness with the keeper’s aging gang members.
But their “down” mood is redeemed by their anger! Angry old men and women are a formidable force, and never more so than when the members sense deliberate threats to their children and grandchildren. It is not an indication of age-related dementia when someone as old as the keeper has an insatiable urge to beat the hell out of the narcissistic jerks that–figuratively speaking, cause the American flag to topple over. Such instinctive fight-or-flight response is simply a hint that maybe the keeper’s step on the big ladder is not as secure as he likes to think it is.
You can’t hold the marker in a polling booth without unclenching your fists, Kickass says, which is a good thing for the keeper and his older crowd.