“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American Public”
H. L. Mencken.
The end is near; Trump is exiting stage right in an ignominious testament to greed, narcissism, mendacity and ignorance. The very idea of this Richard III presidency is something I have been trying to figure out for the past 4 years. The enigma is a mystery, wrapped inside a riddle, as the Winston Churchill coinage goes.
Arguments range from Trump preying on the gullibility of the American public, to the intense rationalization that he was even able to convince intelligent people that he would “drain the swamp,” and clean up the fetid mess of corruption that is Washington, DC, a slog of lobbyists in Gucci loafers and congressmen in a never-ending rotating door, stuffing their pockets with cash in brown envelopes at the expense of the taxpayer. Also, “job creating” plutocrats thinking Trump would improve their portfolios, keeping the stock market high and their taxes low. Only 20% of Americans own stocks.
The grift continues, Trump having raised hundreds of millions of dollars, ostensibly for a 2024 run, but which will certainly be diverted to his legal defense as he is pursued by numerous district attorneys, the justice department, and attorneys general. Not to mention his multitudinous oligarchical Deutche Bank creditors in Russia (Putin) and Saudi Arabia. And let’s not forget the rape and defamation suits by various women such as E. Jean Carol.
This week, a mob of insurrectionists invaded the Capitol, believing the lies promulgated by Trump, nakedly at a podium, lying to them, that he would march along with them toward the palace of our republic. Instead, he got into his hermetically sealed limo and skulked back to the White House to view the spectacle he had created and delighted in viewing an enraged mob ransacking the place. Trump probably entered nirvana when one of the invaders sat with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk, almost like his voyeuristic leering at the disrobed Miss Universe contestants in their dressing room.
While CNN pundits screeched outrage, “treason and sedition,” Laura Ingraham’s pallid, raspy imitation of Tallulah Bankhead’s voice discussed how the Democrats were trying to impeach Trump “never having given him the benefit of the doubt,” saying nothing about the desecration of the Capitol which Abraham Lincoln rushed to complete during the Civil War, emphasizing the strength of the Union. Where Franklin D. Roosevelt requested a declaration of war upon Japan on December 8, 1941. Where Winston Churchill spoke during a joint session of congress in December 1941, shortly after the United States entered the war against Germany and Japan. Where Woodrow Wilson advocated for the League of Nations after the bloodletting of World War I. Where Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, John Lewis, and other great statesman had lain in state. Our historic Capitol, the seat of our government, the triumph of our democracy, where notables, and the framers enjoy memorialization and statuary, invaded by a mob of rabid rioters stoked by a deranged and deluded president, falsely alleging the election had been stolen.
Earlier, Ted Cruz, described as a “serpent covered in Vaseline,” and Josh Hawley, his fist held mob-high, disgraced themselves, turning a ceremonial procedure registering the electoral votes, to their own political benefit, sending fund raising emails. History will not look kindly upon this sordid spectacle. They should apologize and resign.
We saw Lindsey Graham, jumping over the side of the sinking Titanic, pushing women and children out of the way, securing his seat on the lifeboat. This, after his demonstrated hypocrisy during the Merick Garland episode, the about face on Amy Barrett, and two switches from Trump denigrator to admirer. Calling Graham a prostitute insults the world’s oldest profession. The power-hungry Mitch McConnell, now minority leader, forgive the cliché, had also sowed the wind and now reaps the whirlwind. His enablement of Trump over the last four years will not sit well with historians, excepting perhaps the example of how power corrupts.
Responsibility for this abounds. Fox news hosts and Rupert Murdoch have contributed mightily to the lying and false narrative presented to the public. News used to be a nonprofit enterprise of the major networks, CBS, NBC and ABC, presented as a public service, now transmogrified into a greedy crucible determined by marketers and audience demographics. Ratings avarice on Tucker and Laura and Hannity clearly do not help our country. Orwellian presentation of the news divides the public and shames its progenitors.
Republican house members now see their ranks riven with mutual accusations of who bears the burden for the nation’s disheartening catastrophe. A split of Republicans of principle and those of amoral self-interest dwells on the horizon. Elected acolytes of Trumpian amorality should know that their day of reckoning has arrived.