He stands there in front of a church, without a mask, holding up a bible in his right hand.
He offers no apology or explanation, nor is there need for any. He is the President of the United States and if he chooses to forego the salutary effects of a face mask…well, the hell with you, if you don’t like it!
But then the thought crosses my writer’s mind that there are other masks we could talk about.
Like the one that originally concealed from most Americans—myself included—what a non-stop narcissistic blowhard you are, Mr. President! Or how little human compassion you actually possess. We have kept ourselves waiting for the slightest sign of empathy or concern for the millions who have died or lost loved ones in the pandemic.
We are still waiting.
Worse yet, even as the casualty numbers soar, you have clearly decided—as a calculated political consideration—to ignore the frightening reality of Covid-19 and pretend the virus is under control; acting recklessly and encouraging others to do the same. Pushing states to open blindly and your supporters to eschew masks and other safety precautions. The fact that lives are at stake doesn’t seem to enter into your calculations.
How many lives were lost because you wasted critical days and weeks in responding to the virus?
How many lives will be lost because you never mounted a clear national strategy—or any strategy at all, for that matter?
How many lives will be lost for the sole reason that the wrong person is in charge of our country at the worst possible time?
But that’s about to change, Mr. President. You can feel it in the air, sense it in the rising tempo of your serial outrages, scandals and firestorms, all backdrop now to the ceaseless melodrama of the Coronavirus.
Yes, the Coronavirus, Mr. President, whose dire casualty statistics are literally drowning out your excuses and lies, and making a mockery of your attempts to change history by gas-lighting yourself into a hero’s role. A hero whose hesitant and insufficient response to the virus’ deadly threat was responsible for the deaths of untold thousands of Americans.
Also, your incompetence and corruption have grown painfully visible, of late. The deadly confluence of a pandemic and major social upheaval in the face of your non-existent leadership, has made your incompetence and lack of a moral compass visible in a way they had never been before.
In simple terms, Mr. President, the people see you now for who you really are. No more “Get Out of Jail Free” cards for your many flaws and emotional shortcomings. No longer can you continue to place the interests of yourself, your family, Vladimir Putin, and other despots ahead of the vital concerns of the American people.
Sooner or later they were all bound to see—even your closest supporters eventually—as many of us did all along, that the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes. Nor was he as intelligent, interesting or insightful as first advertised.
How bad has it become, Mr. President?
So bad that nobody—not your constituents, not the media, not even America’s closest allies—feels they can trust you, the supposed leader of the free world, to a.) tell the truth; b.) do the right thing or c.) put the interests of the country, or the planet, ahead of your own.
The sad truth of your incompetence as a manager is seen in bold relief by your imprudent dismantling of critical government agencies, —especially the one for pandemics—and cannot be obscured by even the greatest of masks. No longer can you hide your pettiness, your lack of humanity, your rash inclinations and shady impulses. Nor can you conceal the fact you do nothing most days except play golf and watch TV.
Lately, I’ve noticed myself feeling different about you and your entire criminal enterprise, Mr. President. Less threatened, I guess.
Actually, it’s because you have visibly shrunk.
The coronavirus and your clumsy attempt to manage the optics has dramatically lessened you in our eyes. Made you appear older, more frail. Made you smaller and less fearful. As has your defensive reaction to the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests.
I don’t know when it was, Mr. President, but somewhere in your recent actions, in the midst of swirling crises and negative news stories, your lack of fitness or moral suitability for the Office of President of the United States has become strikingly obvious for anyone with eyes to see.
As you continue to prove every day, nobody can do as brilliant a job as Trump himself in tearing down the veneer that concealed your 3+-year explosion of lies, self-delusion and craven piggishness. Through your actions of late, you are finally being seen—in living color—for the morally bankrupt, heartless, and self-enriching swamp creature you have been all along behind your mask.
And there he stands, ladies and gentlemen, without a mask and holding up a bible in front of a church!
Not surprisingly, the bible is upside down.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: A friend wrote to tell me that stories of President Trump holding the bible upside down were inaccurate. Rather than go back and rewrite the ending—an ending I loved—I decided to offer this note.