Alden Graves | Graves registry: Throwing stones from a glass house

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"I'd like you to do us a little favor," said the spider to the fly.

Donald Trump has lately turned his attention to corruption, especially as it applies to anyone he perceives as a threat to his second (God help us) term in the White House.

Trump pontificating about corruption is like a pickpocket lobbying for better streetlights.

I have a question for the voters who approached the ballot box with caution when they cast their vote for Trump. The people who didn't much like Hillary Clinton. The ones who thought incoherent rambling signified a refreshing new voice in American politics. People who trusted him because they were unaware of the magnitude of the lies he was capable of peddling. The good folks who have had to constantly readjust downward the scales that measured a man's integrity, his honesty, and his morality.

Aren't you sick of it yet? And what the hell else is getting done in this country while this endless reality show soap opera plays on and on?

A political ad by the GOP looking to unseat Rep. Antonio Delgado accuses the congressman of failing to live up to his campaign promises because he has been so focused on picking on our poor, persecuted president. A logical response would be that Mr. Delgado's time might indeed be better spent on matters beneficial to the country if Mr. Trump was not the most dangerously unstable and unpredictable president in our nation's history. He needs babysitters. Lots of them.

His spinmeisters try to convince you that what you just saw, you never saw at all. Trump makes some spastic motions in a despicable imitation of a reporter with physical disabilities to please his adoring mob. You watch him do it. Millions watch him do it. Meryl Streep calls him out for doing it in an eloquent speech at a Golden Globes ceremony. And they try and tell you that it wasn't what you saw at all.

They try to tell you that what you just heard, you didn't hear at all. Whether the now infamous call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will be the final nail is anyone's guess. We have been at this point a number of times in this beleaguered mess of an administration. But who could possibly question what Trump is proposing, even in the draft of the conversation released by the White House? You get me some dirt on the Bidens and you will get your military aid from me.

It is quite possible that Donald Trump is worse at simply being human than he is at playing president. Living the kind of life that he has, Trump probably assumes there is always dirt to be gotten on everyone. He's a bully whose threats are always done at a safe removal from the target. When cornered, he lies as easily as most people take a deep breath. He's lazy, conceited, inarticulate, and intellectually vacuous (a fancy term for the epithet he often hurls at others, "dumb as a rock").

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He sits on a chair like he is in a stall in a men's room that doesn't get cleaned very often. I know that's a fairly inconsequential offense, but it really bothers me.

After a lifetime of making terrible decisions, he still relies on what he believes is his infallible instinct to guide him. That might suffice when he had daddy's money to bail him out of his business fiascos, but it has brought this country perilously close to the brink.

And still, like desperate sailors grasping the wreckage of a torpedoed ship, Republicans cling to him. They excuse his appalling incivility to nations that once were our closest allies. They cover up the blunders, dismiss the rampant corruption, shrug at the nepotism, and shudder at the thought of evoking his wrath. They have collectively checked their honor and integrity in the vestibule and willingly walked into the dark amphitheater of Trump and his alternative truth.

I have to confess, however, that I occasionally get a lot of enjoyment out of watching what may someday be recalled as the Old GOP Squirm. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, one of those Stepford Republicans with the perfect hair and the Andy Hardy demeanor, thought he had found an opening in his slick defense of Trump by accusing Scott Pelley of adding the word "though" at the end of the president's "I'd like you to do us a favor" pitch.

"It is right here in the transcript," said Pelley, showing the document to an obviously dumfounded McCarthy.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had more fancy dance moves than Fred Astaire ever dreamed of before he admitted that, not only did he know a little something about the call to Zelensky, he was listening in on the entire conversation. I know that there is a widespread opinion that Donald Trump demeans and diminishes everything he touches, but I think some of the people who do his bidding, like Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr, the portly protectors of the palace, had a good head start.

If you really want to know what kind of man Trump is, access the speech in South Carolina on the internet when he mocks the reporter ("You should see this guy.") with arthrogryposis. It will tell you all you will ever need to know about his capacity for mindless cruelty. Then, you can just ignore the soulless crony who tells you that you can't trust what you plainly saw or clearly heard.

And take a good look at the people laughing in the audience, too, if you want an idea as to how we have gotten to where we are today. The base, all secure in their mass idiocy that he wouldn't toss every one of them to the wolves if it suited his purpose or netted him a lousy dollar.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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