Once upon a time, a real estate developer known for his shady financial dealings had a son who was determined to follow in his footsteps. Backed by his father’s ill-gotten fortune, the son embarked on an ambitious business career, but ended up losing many millions in a series of ill-advised deals compounded by inept management practices. In response, he hired a professional writer to create a glowing account of his bold entrepreneurial style, and despite its flagrant disregard for the truth the resulting book became a best-seller.
From this experience, the son learned that lying through one’s teeth was a viable means of achieving success, and reoriented his career accordingly. Convinced of his genius for self-promotion, he built a flagship condominium and began licensing his name and lifestyle as a means to promote similar projects in cities around the world. At the same time, he used his domestic properties to help Russian oligarchs launder vast sums extorted during the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was on a roll.
Outstripping his father’s career in both ambition and criminality, his newfound success eventually landed him a starring role in a reality tv show. In it, he played a hard-nosed business executive engaged in evaluating and firing hapless subordinates who failed to perform arbitrary tasks. The idea was to reveal something of the inner workings of the business world, but of course it was all mere show business.
Nevertheless, it gave him the chance to use his growing name recognition as a springboard to political office, and with typical brashness he announced his candidacy for president. He was no more disciplined as a candidate than he had been as a businessman, however, and was soon bragging that he could shoot someone in public without losing votes, or that being a star meant that he could grope women whenever he wanted. Against all reason, the claims didn’t seem to affect his chances. Riding a wave of faux populism, he passed himself off as a champion of the poor and downtrodden, and miraculously won election.
Once in office, he quickly reverted to the rabid social climber he had always been, orchestrating the largest tax-cut-for-the-rich in history and restricting his concern for the common man to a dark nexus of conspiracy theorists and fascist elements. Above all, he craved the support of gangs of self-appointed militiamen willing to exercise their right to bear arms on his behalf, with whom he connected through dog-whistle messaging. The result was a sharp rise in politically motivated violence and death threats against anyone who opposed him.
Meanwhile, distracted by one culture-war confrontation after another, the country careened into an uncertain future, and when signs of a deadly pandemic arose, the accidental president opted to downplay its seriousness. Failing to impose necessary precautions during the first critical weeks, he enabled the virus to spread rapidly, destroying any chance of preventing the more than one million country-wide deaths that followed. Even when he himself contracted the virus—and received a level of treatment second to none—he persisted in dismissing its virulence, preferring to highlight his own robust health as the reason he survived.
By this time, the electorate had clearly had enough, and voted him out of office by a substantial margin, to which he responded by denying the validity of the vote and defying the orderly transition of power. Addressing a violent mob of supporters, he exhorted them to “fight like hell” or they would lose their country, and the ensuing riot—later passed off as a tourist-led protest—resulted in multiple deaths and innumerable injuries to police personnel, as well as lengthy prison terms to many of his credulous adherents.
The suffering of others was of no concern to him, however; he was too busy dwelling on his hurt feelings over the prospect of no longer being president. And when his prolonged pout failed to restore him to power, he stole a trove of government secrets and withdrew to his private estate, where he pretended to still be president to the detriment and degradation of the entire country.
As the wheels of justice begin to catch up with him at last, he seems destined to play one more reality tv role as The Defendant, a performance the country awaits with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. The last seven years have seen a steady stream of sleazy political stunts from someone who has never been held accountable for his actions at any point in his life. The time has come to redress this situation.
The moral of the story: Never celebrate or exonerate those without morals, and don’t even think about reelecting them.