scene at end with dwarf in “Ship of Fools”

A Parable of our time: “Our democratic house is on fire!”

There is a man running up and down the street, with his hair all frazzled and his eyes filled with terror, shouting, “The house is on fire! Our house is on fire! Our whole democratic city is on fire!”

Outside a cafe, on a bright sunny morning, a number of people sit calmly drinking their coffee. A few, but not as many as in the past, are reading their newspapers.

“Help! Help!” the screaming man implores. “Don’t you know, the whole city is on fire!”

The seated individuals proceed calmly to drink their coffee and chat among themselves.

“Don’t you know?” the wild man implores again, “The whole city is on fire!”

Different individuals respond variously.

“You exaggerate,” one says. “We don’t see any flames.”

“The houses in the next street are on fire,” the wild man rejoins.

“Don’t worry,” another replies. “Someone will take care of it.”