By Richard Hack
There’s an old saying that suggests “If you wait long enough, all things become clear.” And so it was for all of America to peek behind the curtain last week and discover exactly what its President was trying so hard to hide.
Here was the supposedly successful businessman who wouldn’t reveal the source of his wealth or the bottom line on his taxes. It was enough for us to hear from his lips that he was “very, very rich.”
We watched as the Republican party cowered before this illusion who bullied and name-called anyone who suggested he was being less than forthcoming. “Trust me,” he said. “I know more than the IRS about taxes. More than anyone.”
Trump alone could cure our ills and strengthen our economy by changing the tax code to give the top two percent of the nation’s wealthiest individuals even more money through corporate tax cuts.
Those citizens of color or those newly immigrated to this country were ridiculed and openly mocked, creating divisions that were simply wrong.
Yet, perhaps, the most consistent degrading was reserved for the LGBTQ community whose rights were questioned. In the case of its transgender members, they were revoked by executive order. Forget using a certain bathroom or serving patriotically in the military. Nope. You are out, came the word from the Oval.
As fake news became the label placed on all media that did not align with his vision, the formerly reputable New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and even the venerable Associated Press fell victim to his self-styled superior intelligence and untouchable power.
Pandemic? What pandemic? It is nothing more than the flu which will miraculously disappear. Blame the Chinese. They let it “escape.”
Stores shuttered, economies stalled, and both political parties unable to move around his autocratic power. “Not my fault,” he said. “I take no responsibility,” he said.
Heads rolled as officials were fired or quietly resigned. His National Security Advisor–gone. White House Chief of Staff, Communications Director, and his Secretary of Health and Human Services–gone.
The Center for Disease Control suggested wearing facial masks, hand washing and social distancing as a means of preventing the suddenly out-of-control COVID-19.
“I don’t like masks,” the President said and appeared without one wherever he went, including massive rallies of his entranced base, whose shouts and applause were all too clear. No masks for them either.
They were invincible. Sure some got sick. But that was because we were testing too many people. “That’s the way it is,” he said.
What we don’t know, won’t hurt us. Or so we were told as tear gas filled our streets and the military were used like deputized law enforcement against us–those they took an oath to protect.
And then last week arrived. We had waited three and a half years, and suddenly–all became clear.
The first clue came via the New York Times that reported that Trump hadn’t paid much in the way of any taxes. Furthermore, his companies seemed to be deeply in debt–as was the President himself. Hundreds of millions of dollars. Or was it billions?
“Wrong.” Fake news, he said.
Not two days later, along came the first Presidential debate. Shouting and bullying to an exhausting level. If there was a vision for the future in this time of crisis, there was too much noise for it to be heard.
The Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, spoke from the heart, but not at a level that pushed utter nonsense aside. Not even the moderator Chris Wallace could get the President of the United States to condemn White Supremacists. Here, in the land of the free and home of the brave. The place where transgender soldiers could be kicked to the curb and the Supreme Court could be top-loaded by conservatives that could make short work of abortions, and “don’t get me started” on the rest of those L,G,B, and Qs.
If there was a crescendo among this madness, it was lost amidst the vulgarity of indecency spewing in every direction as if this new normal was, well, normal.
Just when we thought we would never see another rainbow that hadn’t been sullied by the autocrat-in-chief, the world became silent in a collective holding of breaths. Hushed by the news that Donald Trump had caught the dreaded virus. Pumped full of chemicals, he walked from the White House–while wearing a mask (!)–and got whisked off without a word to the hospital.
While the mighty may have fallen, there was no relief. No exhale in place. Somehow, we all felt guilty for having allowed this to happen.
His faithful legend of fans stalked under his hospital window hoping that their homage would grant him his health. But there he was, in isolation, fighting for his life. or, wait a second, can it be. Is that the gravely ill President doing a motorcade tour of his maskless base of supporters?
So it would seem. Coiffed blond hair sprayed in place, looking out through the closed tight windows of the President’s armoured vehicle, giving the Papal wave before disappearing from view yet again.
No. That can’t just have happened, we ask ourselves. Once again, truth becomes stranger than fiction in a week which just keeps playing itself out with new twists and turns.
Two–no, three, Republican Senators have now caught it we’re told. And the Senate Judicial Committee trying to rush to a confirm vote on yet another Supreme Court justice just keeps pretending this is all okay. Even as they keep falling like flies.
If there is a happy ending to this tragedy, it better show itself quickly, because in another four weeks we have an election. Absentee ballots and vote by mail are either all-the-rage or the cause-of-corruption–depending on whose word you trust.
And somewhere out on Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty tries to pretend it still has the welcome mat out and in place. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” she pledges.
Suddenly, that seems to be all of us.