Last Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the U.S.S Indianapolis, a U.S. Navy heavy cruiser sunk by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945 after delivering the first U.S. atomic bomb to an isolated Pacific island air base. It is a grim story, a primer for abject failure.
Among the engaging legends told by superstitious sailors of the time is one claiming the good ship “Indy” was gobsmacked by Poseidon himself for delivering the “Little Boy” atomic bomb to the glamor boys of the Army Air Force, so they alone could claim facilitating the end World War II. What else could explain why the Indianapolis’ shipwrecked crew suffered so horribly for four days before anyone noticed the ship was missing?
The Navy says 1,151 sailors manned the ship, but only 316 survived the sinking. The captain endured, only to be disgraced by court-martial before committing suicide. About 150 crewmen were eaten by sharks. Included in their history is a footnote explaining that the horrific incident included the greatest massacre of humans by sharks in recorded history. By any measure, the tragedy perfectly illustrates the meaning of total failure.
Donald Trump, however, has surpassed even that level of failure. Almost daily he provides another illustration of his stunning ineptitude. His latest stunt, suggesting the November presidential election should be set aside until the atmosphere is more conducive to voting, has a sinister tone. Is it real or is it Memorex?
Trump’s fantasy surfaced while the nation’s attention was fixed on the solemn funeral of venerated U.S. Congressman John Lewis, an event Trump did not attend. That slight at least is understandable. Brave, selfless people like Lewis make cowards like Trump feel inadequate. Attending his celebration of life would only underscore Trump’s realization that he will never receive the adoration and respect a brave man like John Lewis earned.
Unfortunately, the only way Trump knows how to respond to another man’s achievements is to call attention to himself through some bizarre, grandiose stunt. Delaying the election certainly fills that bill, never mind that Trump doesn’t have the constitutional authority or wherewithal to do it. Even his lard-headed sycophants know it is the type of unacceptable behavior tinpot dictators employ.
Trump’s fantasy didn’t come out of the blue. The Shinbone Star has several times reported on Trump’s unprecedented abuses of the U.S. Postal Service, the apparent key to his latest scheme.
The president seemed his usual manic self last Tuesday evening during his rubbish-filled coronavirus dog and pony show. The only blip on the radar showed when Trump provided an uncharacteristically poignant moment by revealing that nobody likes him. The most ridiculed man in the world is apparently having difficulty accepting that people admire women like Dr. Deborah Birx and men like Dr. Anthony Fauci far more than him.
“And he’s [Fauci] got this high approval rating. So why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect, and the administration with respect to the virus? So it sort of is curious a man works for us with us very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, also highly thought of, and yet they’re highly thought of but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality.”
Trump desperately needed Roger Stone to give him some tenderhearted guy time, maybe a hug with a peek at Richard Nixon’s stirring portrait tattooed across his back. Ever since Trump’s Tulsa disaster, he seems entirely defeated, beaten down, his usual Mussolini-like countenance melting like soft ice cream.
On Thursday. Trump tweeted:
“Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
He was back on his game.
Whoever coined “floated” as the verb for Trump’s despicable exercise in duplicity should be relegated to writing obits until the entire nation has expired. Trump’s aim was unerring: he needs chaos to win.
Even senior Republicans who usually decline to weigh in on Trump’s controversial tweets overwhelmingly rejected his idea that the election should be postponed for any reason. Their display begs the question of whether they will stop Trump before he can get started.
“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a television interview. “We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.”
Big words from a politician backed into his own corner. Like Trump, the Senate Majority Leader is also beset by well-schooled sharks, loosed upon him with growing ferocity by his Democratic opponent. McConnell gets reminded every day that Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, USMC (Ret.) is a decorated former Marine Corps fighter pilot and dynamic mother of three who wants his job.
Other powerful Republicans who find themselves in the same boat joined McConnell to sing in the new Republican choir. Has Trump finally crossed a line he can’t jump back across, forcing the Republicans to take a stand?
“Election Day is and will be Nov. 3, 2020,” said television savvy Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s press secretary. The Fox News commentator was adamant. “Mr. President — please don’t even pretend to mess with this. It’s a harmful idea.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) jumped on the same bandwagon Thursday after the morning news shows had properly castigated Trump for even thinking such a thing. If Trump is the ardent television watcher he is reputed to be, he can’t avoid seeing the idiot he plays on TV becoming a worldwide spectacle.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stayed calm, merely pointing out the passage from the Constitution granting Congress the power to set election dates.
Fiery Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), hoping for a nod from Joe Biden to be his running mate, was more intense. She tweeted Trump was going to lose to Biden, promising to see him at the ballot box on Nov. 3.
On Saturday, The New York Times revealed it is examining whether Trump is interfering with the U.S. Postal Service, hinting that Trump is hindering its ability to deliver mail-in ballots. Is his alleged recklessness part of a larger scheme?
When Trump says the upcoming election “will be the most inaccurate & fraudulent election in history” and a “great embarrassment” to the United States, is he telegraphing what he hopes to accomplish by undermining American democracy.
Many of the sailors who died 75 years go went to their death because the leaders charged with their welfare failed in their duty. Insist they don’t fail again.