A tale of two candy stores

By Mike Weland

Mike WelandA CNN headline today proclaims that more than 60% of voters say Joe Biden’s tenure as president has been a failure while Donald J. Trump’s four dismal years were a success. In fairness, I contend the poll speaks more to the gullibility of the American voter than it does to the abilities of either man.

I’m not saying here that Biden is among the great presidents … maybe middle of the road mediocre. But compared to the huckster that is Donald Trump, Biden’s tenure has been far, far superior even as much of Biden’s effort has beenĀ  devoted to repairing the damage Trump did and continues to do in myriad ways.

If Trump were to be locked away in prison today, not to be heard from again, it would still take decades to undo the damage he inflicted on this nation, its economy, its environment, its judiciary, its world standing and so much more.

That the American people are even considering him for another chance to finish the destruction he started is a travesty that will be seen as a stain on American history. If Trump is given that chance, the history books will be kind to him for a time, because despots always write their own histories.

And yet it’s easy to see why Trump, a man who’s spent his whole life talking up things he didn’t do and denying things he did, is the P.T. Barnum of American presidents, knowing there’s a sucker born every minute and having an innate ability to reach them where they are.

Imagine it this way. There are two candy stores. In one, the proprietor runs a tight ship, keeping the shelves stocked with everybody’s favorites, keeping the lights on, the store clean and welcoming. When a stranger comes in, the owner is polite, giving the customer what’s available, but making sure that the sale won’t mean a regular might have to go without. She’s frugal but fair, enforcing rules to reduce risk and policies to ensure proper management and so serve it clients fairly and well long after she’s gone, knowing the day will come when she must hand over the keys, ever mindful the moment could come at any hour of any day and working diligently to ensure that the transition to a new ownership goes smoothly no matter when it takes place.

It’s nothing flashy, not particularly exciting, but it is dependable and business is steady.

In the second, Donald Trump, who spent the previous several years belittling the prior proprietor and spreading baseless yet pernicious rumors and innuendo, steps in, touting the record number of clients singing “Happy Days Are Here Again” who turned out to welcome him, which is but the first in a long string of lies. He begins almost immediately giving the top-shelf confections normally saved for the most special of occasions to high-falutin’ friends while telling his regular clients that hordes of people “that ain’t us” are pouring into our neighborhood to molest our women and chickens, beat up our fine, strong and courageous youth, take away our full-sized Snickers and Hershey’s and Mr. Goodbars for hog slop and bring in De La Rosa Mazapan, Paleta Payaso, Vero Mango and other of their candy-like food products we can’t eat, let alone pronounce.

“Unless you listen to me, these awful people … well I suppose there maybe a few good people but mostly they’re awful people who just want to take your best candy and leave you with terrible candy, like chili gummy bears … and who wants those, right?” he said. “I know how to protect you, how to stop them in their tracks … I’ll build a wall! A big, beautiful wall … and make them pay for it!”

And so the people, good patriots that they are, gathered up arms and ran outside to stand back and stand by and watch for awful people intent on stealing their candy while workers started on a glorious and beautiful wall that was threatening to block the view until construction came to a standstill the very next day as money ran out. Like a hero on a non-fungible digital trading card, Don Q Trumpote mounts Rocinante and they race off at a dead walk, Trump backwards in the saddle, lance tip dragging in the sand as he searches horizon to horizon for woke windmills at which to tilt.

Meanwhile, his store falls into worsening disarray, his clerks fearful to do anything needing done lest Trump turn on them. They reach out to him for answers. “We’re out of what they want? Give them what we have! We’re out of our rare and secret ingredient? Repeal the restrictions and drill, baby drill! We need more what and don’t have cash? Borrow more, deficits be damned! And be sure you tell them what a great job we did on pralines and horehound … I don’t care if no one likes it … we did a great job! And build that wall! Mexico’s going to pay for it. They want their Christmas candy now but the Pillow guy just snatched the last piece out of Rudy’s mouth? Oh, why did I give those imbeciles anything? Ask Elon if he has any left! I don’t care we can’t make more … deplete the strategic stockpile — do it now before the peasants catch on! We what? Blame somebody! ANTIFA … Black Lives Matter … the lamestream media … I don’t care … blame the Democrats … blame the RINOs if you have to.”

And the customers, not quite sure what was going on amidst all the confusion but knowing Trump loved them and cared for them because he gave them rare Christmas candy in August at a reasonable price, did rejoice and celebrate their boon, not noticing how far their once clean candy store had fallen into disrepair, how dusty the shelves, the jars no longer full. But there were those who did notice and realized such wanton neglect could not be long sustained, that soon there would be nothing on the shelves but the chili gummy bears sent as a cruel joke by the Mexican government.

And so it came to pass that a small majority saw his malfeasance, voted him out after one term, and put in a new leader who set about fixing what was broken, restoring protections, cleaning up all the mess and mayhem, saying little while his predecessor continued on as before, claiming he was robbed, it was still his candy store, who is this new guy tearing apart all I did?

And even after four years of vituperation, venom and lie after lie after lie, many still believed him, and looked back with nostalgic yearning to the halcyon days when it was okay to feel superior to others and you got Christmas candy in August.

And despite his facing multiple criminal charges for his acts both in office and before, they clamored to put him back in the candy store once again, even as he tells them his intention to raze it to the ground.

There’s a meme going around now some MAGA folk seem to think explains their unwavering loyalty to Trump in a way that can’t be missed.

“I identify as an over taxed under represented non-woke pissed off American,” it proclaims.

I beg to differ. I see you as spoiled, disgruntled and whining solely because you can’t have that good Christmas candy in August just one more time.