Drain the Swamp

Drain the Swamp

Do you remember way back in 2016 when Trump would rile up his MAGA base by leading them in a chant of “Lock her up!”, saying that when he became President, he was going to “Drain the swamp”? Yeah, that was cute. He was referring, of course, to Hilary Clinton’s use of an independent email server during her time as Secretary of State, a transgression for which she was investigated by the FBI, leading to FBI director James Comey admonishing her personal choices in the matter but clearly suggesting that there was no evidence of an actual crime being committed. In looking back at that moment from today’s perspective, those days seem quaint by comparison, don’t they? Or if you happen to be one of those who were doing all that chanting back in 2016 but are singing a very different tune today as Trump becomes the very swamp he was supposedly going to drain, they seem to have never existed. Either that or the irony is simply lost on you.

This week brought a record-breaking fourth indictment against the former president of the United States, perhaps the most serious yet (though perhaps not as dissettling as it should be given that we all seem to have built up some sort of “How big of a crook can Trump be?” fatigue). And yet somehow, the same people who were outraged by Clinton’s missteps are blithely blasé about the laundry list of crimes perpetrated by their boy Trump. Instead of recognising the truth staring them straight in the face that the man they would have be president yet again is nothing more than a mob boss in a slightly more expensive, ill-fitting suit, they suggest that poor Trump is the victim of political targeting, that all of these various government entities, from DA’s in the states of New York and Georgia, as well at the Department of Justice itself, are all conspiring to weaponise the criminal justice system. Never mind the fact that members of their own party, previously staunch and loyal defenders of the Republican platform, were part of the January 6th committee that recommended criminal charges for Trump’s role in inciting a violent and treasonous uprising. Forget the reality that all of these charges were brought before a grand jury that had to vote to indict Trump and his cronies. And sure, just ignore the phone call we have all heard where Trump orders Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find him 11,780 votes, not because he had any evidence that there were 11,780 cases of voter fraud (because he didn’t), but because that was the specific number of votes he needed to steal the state’s electoral college delegates. That’s it- just keep petulantly sticking your fingers in your ears while you mutter “weaponising the Department of Justice” over and over until you actually start to believe that preposterous bullshit.

Or better yet, turn your attention to Hunter Biden. Why not? If you can’t figure out anything to pin on they guy who is actually President, why not go after his son. Now, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that Hunter Biden is as sleazy as Herb Tarlek after a couple of shots and chasers and that he won’t be housesitting for us anytime soon, but what exactly are the charges against him anyway? Two counts of tax evasion and a gun charge? Ok, but when the New York Times finally released Trump’s tax returns after years of Trump doing whatever he could to keep them secret, we learned that he paid $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and absolutely nothing in 2020 when taking a presidential salary, you folks suggested that he was just a smart businessman for avoiding paying his taxes. And aren’t you the people who are all for guns in the first place?

The suggestion, of course, is that Hunter Biden, and vicariously his father, were somehow beholden to China. But it was Trump who had bank accounts in China that he failed to disclose publicly before they were released as part of the tax returns no one in the Republican Party seemed to give a damn about. Nor did they seem to mind when he glowingly referred to Putin right after every single US intelligence agency declared that Russia had meddled in the 2016 election. Yes, the Biden’s must be the crooked ones.

To this effect, the resounding right-wing talking point of late has been to link Hunter’s transgressions to his father, despite an absolute lack of evidence that Joe has done anything wrong or been influenced by any foreign entity, other than gelato. The talking point being rallied around by conservatives like Virginia Foxx, Meghan McCain, and James Comer is that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Yeah, for those of you out there who aren’t fluent in conservative speak, let me translate that for you. You see, what they really mean is, “We don’t have a shred of evidence, but we are going to throw this shit at the wall and hope it sticks because we need to distract our highly gullible and undiscerning base from the dumpster fire that currently rules our party.” Yeah, the only smoke Republicans are smelling is what they are trying to blow up your ass.

Meanwhile, Trump has literally lit our democracy on fire and watched it burn, and they don’t seem to care a bit. All they want to talk about is “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” when there are videos of the conflagration that Trump lit as he lied to his base about election fraud and fanned the flames of insurrection. Many are the times I have tried to wrap my head around this cognitive dissonance and tried to make sense of it. But maybe when Trump and his 18 co-conspirators are all sitting behind bars, he will finally have fulfilled his promise to “Drain the swamp”.

Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com