“The Great and Powerful Don”

President* Trump,

I know you’ve maybe backed off your hard “no” on the stimulus package that Pelosi and Mnuchin have been negotiating – maybe. It’s hard to get a bead on much of anything these days when it comes to you except that you’re consistently a vile menace who belongs behind bars rather than cossetted in the White House. And no, I’m not just doing the silly schoolyard taunt-throwback here. You make up shit about your adversaries and then get your fan-peeps to chant about locking them up while you actually do criminal shit, much of it out in the open, and thus really should be behind bars.

Ah, but I digress. You do rather have that effect on people, don’t you? Keep shooting birdshot in people’s faces from every conceivable angle and we just get so distracted trying to protect our eyes that we’ll lose sight of whatever it is you really don’t want us to track.

So, lest I fall prey to that admittedly quite effective ploy of yours, I’m going to come back to the non-existent stimulus package.

Because it sounds like you actually have abandoned the idea of a comprehensive package and want to go with the birdshot approach and piecemeal it, I think it’s fair to continue to accuse you of trying to pull off another quid pro quo. By telling the American people that we’ll have to wait for a comprehensive stimulus package until after you win the election, you’re basically doing to us what you did to Ukraine. The Ukrainian people needed those monies released as soon as Congress appropriated them but you strung them along trying to eek out a bullshit indictment of your likely opponent – ‘if you make this public announcement I want you to make, then I’ll give you the money you need that we already promised you.’

For us, with regard to COVID relief, the needs are immediate – people are struggling, businesses are failing, cities and states are going broke – winter is coming, damn it! But instead of coming through for the country now, you’ve turned the provision of concrete support into yet another political football by conditioning the needed relief on your win. And don’t try to pass this off as politics as usual or as though it’s a typical campaign promise. I’ll grant you that your promise of another HUGE tax cut is a legit (albeit stupid, ill advised, further sign of your self-dealing and pandering to the wealthy) campaign promise, but withholding needed aid until after you win is simply extortion.

On my walk this morning the phrase “The Great and Powerful Don” popped into my head, which of course is a reference to the Wizard of Oz – that puny little man who hid behind the curtain and used optics to terrorize Dorothy and her crew to get them to do his bidding and slay the Wicked Witch of the West. You know the story, right? It’s a classic. While L. Frank Baum paints Oz as a rather bumbling, in the end good-hearted kind of guy (which is where the story diverges dramatically from yours), what he did to Dorothy et al. was the same sort of quid pro quo bullshit that you’re pulling. ‘If you do as I say and kill my nemesis then I’ll send you home and give your friends their hearts’ desires, but only if you do as I say and take out my foe.’ Rather stark, isn’t it? And this is a children’s book.

And you are our POTUS, the one who is supposed to be looking out for us when things are dire and we need support. Well, like Dorothy, we’re pretty much S.O.L. if we don’t play your shitty, nihilistic games, and for this alone, spending the rest of your life behind bars would be letting you off too easy.

May we be safe from men who think they are great and powerful.
May we be willing to pull the curtain down and reveal them for what they are.
May we not mistake boasts of strength for the real thing.
May we accept that we can’t click our heels three times and make this all better.

Tracy Simpson

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