Junior and the Concealed-Carry Smoking Gun

So, serious stuff is happening. Like yet another Senate attempt to delay but later slither through a health bill that would literally kill thousands of Americans. Like Antarctica’s ice-shelf calving an iceberg almost as large as Delaware. Like the United Nations closing down its cholera-vaccination campaign in Yemen because the rampant spread of the disease there, combined with growing famine—both of which are side-effects of the devastation of war—would obliterate vaccination efforts. Not that anyone really gives a damn about Yemen, where a proxy regional power struggle, 1400-years-old, is being waged between (Shiite) Iran and (Sunni) Saudi Arabia, currently proxies in turn for (pro-Iran) Russia and the (pro-Saudi Arabia) U.S. Except now that Russia might be TrumPutinizing the U.S., well, Yemen’s dispensable, like road kill. Can you imagine just how bad things must be for the U.N. to announce it’s triaging an agonized little failed state—the poorest in the Arab world—abandoning it to what is, in effect, national erasure?

But I digress from my intended— No, actually, I don’t. We need to be making these connections.

Serious stuff is happening, but here in the land of the free we’re still forced to be preoccupied with the grotesqueries of a gravely disturbed man and his enabling family. I say “forced to be preoccupied” since it’s not as if we can go on our way or address other matters while ignoring Trump when he and his clan appear bent on destroying democracy, our Republic, and life on our planet. And if that comes across as extreme, it’s because even understatement sounds hyperbolic when simply describing the excesses of this regime with accuracy.

One straw I cling to in rage at our having to spread activist energy over so many fronts at the same time is the feeling that women probably invented multitasking anyway, so we’re up to it.

Another comforting thought is that these multiple fronts re-teach us how deeply issues (and solutions) are related, and how crucial it is that we ourselves keep seeking and making the connections: Environmental crisis is inseparable from population rates that are based in reproductive choices connected to women’s rights requiring economic justice that’s linked to literacy. Sexism and racism are inextricably intertwined—with each other, and with concepts of “the foreign.” In order to demonize science, superstition is necessary. Hierarchy promotes antagonism, which necessitates conflict. Violence in the state originates with violence in the family.

Wait, let’s zoom in on that last one.

The Trumps are an unfunny Addams family—all ghoul and vampire, no wit or style—given to violence in their family values. None of the fathers actually did any parenting. Friedrich, the German immigrant barber, made his money as a 19th-century gold-coast brothel keeper, a pimp bequeathing to his namesake son a fortune and so-called “killer” business practices. Friedrich Junior changed his name to Frederic, went into real estate, and intensified his father’s bad practices so effectively that he was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee for wartime profiteering in 1954, and by the Justice Department for landlord civil-rights violations in 1973—and that’s separate, you understand, from his having attended Klan rallies and possibly having been a KKK member. In turn, Frederic left the same toxic legacy to his junior, Freddy, who responded with alcoholism and suicide. But another son eagerly stepped up.

Donald. His own junior has now succeeded in supplying the first flickers of flame everyone knew were somewhere, given all that smoke billowing from the corruption of our electoral system. Oh, there was a time when Don Junior hadn’t yet been doomed, when at age 12 he refused to speak to his father after his parents’ brutal public divorce, and then again, after graduating from his alcohol-blurred college years. But apparently he “found himself” killing endangered animals in the great outdoors, blaming his mother for “manipulating me into estrangement from my father,” then in joining his father’s business and reality-TV exploits, and more recently in racist, anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic, and insanely anti-factual tweets—like the one where he compared desperate refugees to a bowl of Skittles. And this past week, in an attempt to head off a New York Times story he knew was about to break, Don Junior emerged, brandishing the concealed-carry smoking gun—one that implicates his brother-in-law Jared, the campaign, the transition, and yes, Daddy-o, in crimes and misdemeanors even, possibly, unto treason. (Oh, by the way, Don Junior and his wife Vanessa Haydon have two daughters and three sons—one of whom is named Donald J. Trump III. The poor kid will have to live down that name, or else change it.)

Meanwhile, are we surprised to learn that these newly surfaced entanglements with the interchangeable Russian government/mob/oligarchs had been cemented during the Miss Universe Pageant, then owned by Donald Senior, staged in Moscow in 2013? We are not surprised, no. Such men operate best when surrounded by objectified female bodies clad in bathing suits although nowhere near water, tottering on heels so high they can’t run away. I’d be surprised if anyone, at this point, is surprised. Beauty pageants seem trivial events on which to spend activist protests. Except when they’re not.

It’s really just a matter of making the connections.