J.D. Hayworth’s cute parable in the July 28 Foothills Focus is in desperate need of a careful reality-checking update. It tells of a happy family on a summer road trip in their station wagon to Washington, D.C., circa 1960-65, for the kids to become “better acquainted with their country.”
The eldest 11-year-old is the most animated and enthralled at the approach and sight of the “Capitol Dome” in the distance. Then the “Washington whirlwind” of sightseeing sweeps them up. The parents intertwine events of “personal, familial and national history,” as they tour D.C., to stimulate the reflections of the children with significant timelines increasing the relevance of the experience by connecting them to Pearl Harbor, FDR’s death, the resistance to allowing FDR, or “King Franklin” a third term (he died in his fourth term). Because of WWII, the parents explained that press and the presidency had spoken minimally about his faltering health.
The critical update to the sweet parable follows, demonstrating the horrific realities and starkly different national climate we U.S. citizens have tolerated during and after the Trump years. This New Year holiday, winter road trip in the family crossover vehicle to visit D.C., is the focus of this current parable set at the beginning of January. The parents explain, as they enter D.C. on Jan. 6, that this was a good time to take the trip, because the kids are doing school online due to the rampant U.S. cases of COVID-19.
Upon entering the wide venues of D.C., the family is surprised by the demonstrating masses, while seeing the soon-to-be former president shouting from a podium. The eldest son curiously asks, “Why are so many people in the streets carrying flags” promoting Donald Trump, QAnon, Thin Blue Line, the Confederacy, etc., while wearing military garb and body armor. The boy asks, “Why are they carrying bats, bars and other things that are dangerous?” Furthermore, he exclaims incredulously, “I thought Donald Trump was not going to be president anymore.”
The parents attempt to integrate the last several decades of U.S. history to clarify the present events beginning with Sept. 11, 2001, witnessed by both parents 20 years ago. They tell how that day the Twin Towers collapsed and the Pentagon survived a direct jet hit. The eldest son pursues this threatening storyline asking, “Is that why the National Guard is erecting Jersey Barriers and real high fencing around the Capitol?”
The parents tread delicately, describing a pattern of poor national governance over the previous four years of Trumpism leading to a severance of the unity in national confidence or “e pluribus unum.” The will of the mob or the loudest voices, rather than the wisest, were now dominating the national discourse. They explain how the Trump years have overwhelmed the populace by his multiple-times-per-day “tweet tantrums” threatening the stability of the world in service to his childish whims.
The parents then connect Trump’s denial of the scourge of COVID-19, which he has advised will “just disappear … like a miracle.” They mention how he pushed the citizenry to consider taking hydrochloroquine and/or swallowing disinfectant to treat COVID-19; how his administration blocked the press investigation about COVID-19, unless they catered/bowed to his will; and how he resisted attending press conferences. These controlling behaviors made it apparent that he did not have a clue about what was happening to the cohesiveness of the country due to his obvious ignorance and oblivious emotions concerning the more than 600,000 U.S. deaths in less than a year.
The parents did not want to scare the children even more by telling them the truth about how Trump, a terribly obese man in questionable health, got infected with COVID-19. The parents were reluctant to say he contracted COVID-19 because he was unhealthy, almost like the lack of public conversation around FDR’s faulty health in WWII. Rather, they tried to interject some humor, saying, “After all, he only sits around and eat burgers and fast food.” The eldest son, not getting the joke, seemed perplexed at the suggestion of Trump’s lack of exercise, responding, “But I thought he played more golf than any other president.” Again, trying to relieve the distress of the oldest, the father answered, “Well, he only drives golf carts around, gets out and hits a ball.”
They then realized the kid was still troubled, so they described how Trump was able to be nursed back to health with remdesivir and Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies — treatments unavailable to the public until after he left office. Meanwhile, the parents again try to inject levity for the kids by telling the story of how Trump said he would win an election, even if his competitors were Washington and Lincoln. This finally drew a loud laugh from the eldest at the thought of such absurdity that could only come from a narcissistic megalomaniac.
Near the end of his parable, Hayworth jumps to the present, referencing memory weaknesses of Joe Biden to suggest he will not survive his term of office and Kamala Harris will replace him. Ironically, Hayworth forgets that the United States stood in the sights of utter destruction during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Of course, Hayworth and his conspiracy plots probably are sympathetic to these violent mobs, believing that those insurrectionists are now “political prisoners.” Finally, can you imagine the weak Mike Pence being elevated into the presidency if Trump had expired due to his COVID-19? That is, if the Trump supporters didn’t hang him first for not breaking the law and refusing to certify the state’s electoral votes. Fortunately, Kamala Harris is no Mike Pence.