I Hate to Flog a Dead Horse | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly
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I Hate to Flog a Dead Horse

Taking a Gander: But This One's Still Alive



Normally, when the circus is over, the crowd goes home. That's a fact in the real world, but try to tell that to the Orange Clown and his delusional peanut gallery. It should be obvious to everyone: The show ended when the votes were tallied and a new president stepped into the ring.

But, contrary to the facts, millions of Americans are still betting that a dead horse can win the race. As absurd as it is, the threat of another Trump-attempted coup is still there—something that would be impossible, were it not for his band of enablers.

After years of having facts twisted, misstated, and fabricated, the Trumpublicans continue to be intellectually challenged—preferring myth to fact and intentionally avoiding the truth. Donald Trump is, today, an ongoing menace to the health of our democracy. Autocrats have no place in America.

Sadly, Trump seems to have D.C. by the balls, and it's a vicious cycle—support Trump or he may be able to ruin you. But, when you support him, you give him the power to continue.

So who are these people who continue feeding oats to a dead horse? They are passionate lovers of the lie, people willing to make a mockery of their sacred positions of trust.

The next question is, "How did these people ever get elected?" That, of course, has an easy answer too: They were willing to speak any lie that would put and keep them in power.

We need to ask ourselves: How does the system work? What qualifications do senators and representatives need in order to get elected and stay in office?

Since education is not mandatory, a clean criminal history is not required, and a minimum IQ is not prerequisite, Congress is the go-to place for the cheerleader-type riffraff of society that is otherwise unemployable. Here in Utah we have multiple examples. It isn't just Mike Lee, Burgess Owens, and Chris Stewart—Mitt Romney, though I've admired his brief moments of integrity, is just another imperfect person in the mix.

So, really now, what are the qualifications for running for senator, congressman, or even president?

Zero. Absolutely none.

That doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of smart, educated people representing Americans. Many of them are attorneys (though that's not a high recommendation), teachers, pilots, doctors, actors, writers, and personalities. Most of them are relatively nice-looking, and that suggests how a shallow electorate equates good looks with qualifications. Nice-looking candidates are simply more believable—society distrusts the uncomely.

Sadly, the sharpest and most intelligent of our legislators are required to dumb down for their constituencies. They're not stupid—they know the facts, but they are forced, by the need for tenure and power, to come down to the level of the incompetents who elected them. Those who don't dumb down are punished for asserting themselves.

One thing most of America's Republican legislators share is the ability to change facts over a period of time. Case in point: While most of them decried the horror of January 6, they're now having a hard time remembering how serious it was.

They were scared shitless as it happened, but their selective amnesia has revised history. Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia is hands down the worst. "You know," he casually remarked, "if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit."

I just figured it out! The Republicans have overdosed on shrooms. Trump and his entire following are watching oranges, apples, and donkeys bouncing slowly, up and down in the ether. Along with others, Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene is complaining that the Capitol insurrectionists are political prisoners and should be released.

On January 6, every senator and representative knew just how dangerous it had been—and understood that loss of life within their ranks would have occurred, had Capitol Police and local law enforcement not intervened.

The absence of memory and the failure of—what should be—a dedicated sense of patriotism is what happens when bunches of wallet-sized green paper get caught in the small capillaries of the brain. Fear of losing reelection revenue keeps our senators and representatives kowtowing. So does the status and the money and the endless perks.

Sadly, Congress is where an unqualified dufus can shake enough hands and kiss enough babies to secure an easy life. All these legislators have to do is echo the lies, misinformation, and treason that their dimwitted constituents continue to embrace. In the bold traditions of the Republican Party and the "religious right," they continue to short Americans while taking every opportunity to denounce the real patriots. Our legislators are right there with the armchair athletes and fans, berating those patriotic athletes who understand that America is not a flag, nor is it an anthem, and the symbols of our democracy are no better than what's actually going on behind the scenes. It takes courage to rage against the machine.

At no time has there been a situation that so threatened the welfare of our nation and our sacred democratic principles. It's time to give the boot to the legislative traitors who continue to perpetuate the Trump lie. Utah and the nation need to make sure that none of those people survive the next election.

The author is a retired businessman, novelist, columnist, and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.