Bob Franken




“Over the hills and through the woods, the sleigh this year should be empty, And to Grandmother’s house we don’t go.”
Somehow, this year’s adaptation lacks the holiday spirit of the 1844 original, but back then we didn’t have the lethal coronavirus dominating the crisp November air and striking us down, inside Grandmother’s house and in every building where we seek warmth from the cold.
The Thanksgiving ritual of getting together in large family groups to eat ourselves into oblivion, watch football and, of course, argue saturates our culture. But to indulge that tug on the primal heartstrings means plunging into a potential superspreader, no matter how conscientious you are about testing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it is discouraging Turkey Day get-togethers in order to protect Granny: “The tragedy that could happen is one of your family members, from coming together in a family gathering, could wind up hospitalized and severely ill and could die.” In spite of this advice from most public health experts, millions upon millions of Americans are going to be taking to the roads, and millions more flying, as they head hither and yon to keep the tradition going. Maybe they just want a break from Zoom.
As for President Donald Trump (does anybody care about him anymore?), he’s forgoing the trip home, if Mar-a-Lago can be considered home. He’s staying put in the White House. No need to rev up Air Force One if all he’s going to do is sulk and/or tweet grievances and made-up information. In addition to clinging to his Norma Desmond fantasy that he won reelection, he still has enough time left to spitefully create some dangerous misadventures while he still has the power. He even refuses to allow the transition to start, even though it will save lives when the new guys move in. But he knows deep down in what passes for his heart that soon he’s going to have to leave. Or be evicted.

This is all part of the act that brought him to the White House to begin with. He wants to litter the political world with grievances to make governing more difficult for Joe Biden. For starters, that will appeal to the millions in his base, keeping it intact with the belief that Biden only won because of massive fraud coordinated by the “deep state.” Or even the international conspirators described by his lead counsel Rudy Giuliani, who seems to be dissolving before our eyes. That way, they will make sure they discredit anything the new administration does in the eyes of his mass of supporters. The more chaos the better, and if that slips into violence from more extreme white supremacist elements, he doesn’t care about that.
Trump obviously considers efforts to brand his successor as illegitimate fair game. After all, his opponents did everything in their power to discredit his presidency. There were the investigations of collusion with Vladimir Putin, for instance, that still hang over his head, and the embarrassment of impeachment that Trump, with help from his GOP enablers, was able to squash in the Senate. Then, his subsequent actions were motivated by revenge, particularly the firing of anyone he decided had been disloyal.
However his future plans play out will now complicate things for those same Republicans, particularly the ones with their own presidential ambitions. He might even lose his bootlicker Mike Pence, who will join the festering swarm of those who want to lead the party’s quest to take power again after 2024.
In that case, Donald Trump would have to choose a new running mate in his “I shall return” quest. Who better to form a “Dream Team” than Rudy Giuliani? There are only two problems: Giuliani may have thoroughly discredited himself for good by his bizarre leadership of the legal team during Donald Trump’s last stand, and “America’s Mayor” may want to become America’s President himself. Stranger things have happened. Just look at the winner in 2016.
Hopefully by 2024 the pandemic will have dissipated. But not before the surge in cases that results from this year’s visit to Grandmother’s house.

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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