If Trump is on your playlist, you should probably skip past this commentary.
First, let me admit something: I didn't listen to the whole "song."
I also didn't research the performer's claim that "And Justice for All" was the #1 download on iTunes. The thought of that is vaguely nauseating—like eating something you know you'll throw up later.
Unless you've been living under an asteroid-sized rock these past few weeks or lost yourself in the haze of omnipresent Capital-One television ads (please make them stop!), you've probably heard by now that indicted entertainer Donald Trump has branched out. No longer satisfied with being a reality show host and cheerleader for thugs and traitors, the former ersatz president is making a dent in the music business and, simultaneously, the music-video business.
His initial endeavor centers on a simple production: a choir sings a hesitant and interrupted version of the "Star-Spangled Banner" while Mr. Trump fills these welcome silences with his recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Aside from the irony of these words emanating from the mouth of a man who holds no allegiance nor has ever honored a pledge, the resultant mishmash is hideous even without the irony. It's as laughable as if a song like "Hotel California" were being performed with occasional interruptions by Ken Burns to explain its historical implications.
On second thought, that might be fun. "And Justice for All" is not.
I never thought that Donald Trump out-of-office could be a more significant danger to America than when he was in, but his continued admiration for the January 6 insurrectionists and his ongoing support and encouragement for the violent overthrow of the government contradict my earlier belief.
Eighteenth-century British writer and critic Samuel Johnson's famously said, "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." His words come to mind at times like these, especially when we remember that Dr. Johnson's intent was not to belittle patriotism but to assail the cowards and traitors who hide behind it or beneath it to cloak their self-interest. Donald Trump cares not a whit about patriotism—his disdain for any American not housed in a Florida castle is adequate proof. Still, by associating himself with two patriotic compositions, he hopes to reinvent himself and create an iconic version for the campaign trail. Or maybe the prison cafeteria?
What is more likely, however, is that a picture will emerge very much like the one from 2020 of Mr. Trump standing in front of St. John's Church in D.C. holding a Bible with the same "ease" that someone holds a baby for the first time. Donald Trump—defender of Scripture, is as ludicrous as Donald Trump—defender of patriotism. There is no history of either. Still, in the "social truth" category, let's agree that Trump did not hold the Bible upside down on that Sunday afternoon in the nation's capital, though the fact that his followers so loudly defend that fact is further proof of the abysmally low bar they have set for him. He knows how to hold a book!
And that bar is getting lower.
I know there are many who claim that his indictment will only make things worse. I don't see it this way. Here in Connecticut, the recent spate of stolen vehicles has roused politicians to demand stiffer penalties for youthful offenders. Maybe older offenders subverting our democracy shouldn't get a pass, either. To treat them with impunity because they might be angry or call out their goons challenges the courage and patriotism of us all.
Indicting the president who may beat the rap is not the risk. The true risk is turning a blind eye to lawbreakers without at least trying to hold them accountable.