We do still talk about him, the Former Guy, those of us who hated his presidency and feared that to which it portended.
The more hushed tones are neither harsh nor bitter. They are a mixture of weary and wonderment: weary that his name and his Big Lie won’t fade from the daily discourse in the way of other presidents before him. Wonderment that we have emerged from his presidency wounded and forever battle scarred, yet hanging by a thread that keeps the nation tenuously intact.
The new president daily pours the balm of Gilead upon our wounds, encouraging us that things will get better, have gotten better, will continue to get better.
Writing this, his campaign slogan of “Build Back Better” takes on ironic new meaning.
Yes, it is meant as a forward-facing goal. But it also harkens back to Former Guy, builder of tall towers, and the shrapnel of the artillery he employed as the most powerful man on earth. Shattered lives, shattered dreams, shattered nation.
Anyone at all familiar with his building history should have known it all falls down around him, sooner or later.
For he was never the great builder, you see. He hastily refurbished the buildings of others, with subpar material and an eye for cutting corners. Then he slapped his name on them and called them his own.
Those buildings he tried erecting he left unfinished, bankrupting his company, his contractors and his investors. It looked like the Taj Mahal, but there was nothing romantic about it. Instead it became a sordid, tawdry plaything with which he diddled for a while.
Just as he has now put his name on a political party he has remodeled to match his gaudy, baroque taste so that it no longer resembles anything once recognizable as itself.
Having cost it the House, the Senate and the presidency, and after sending his followers to ravage the Capitol with their hatred of democracy for anyone but themselves, you would think the GOP would be wise to him now.
But it can’t be, because its mind has melded with his, become his, to the point that like everything else he touches, the party is now synonymous with him. And everything he touches will die, just as Rick Wilson so presciently predicted several years ago.
The party is now a host for a parasite that continues to gorge its flesh to fill the emptiness of the parasite’s own soul.
Still they slouch toward Mar-a-Lago, those of the party he continues to devour. It doesn’t matter whether the journey is literal or metaphorical. Still they slouch toward him — some in worship; some for an anointing; some who mistakenly see him as the sign of a new kingdom to come; some resigned to a gravitational pull they do not allow themselves to escape.
But like the locust plague, he will devour all.
Until someone, somewhere, devours him — and atonement can truly begin.
Here’s looking at you, Liz Cheney.
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