We could change our national anthem to "Yes, we’re the great pretenders." I mean, consider some of what we are asked to pretend:
That TV wrestling is real. That big-college athletes are serious students. That Hollywood stars never knew Harvey Weinstein was a sexual predator. That Bill Clinton was not one as well. That college admissions are not rigged to favor or punish applicants by race, sex, religion and money their parents contribute. That Cuba and China are not really police states.
Lately we are asked to believe there was nothing suspicious to look at with Hunter Biden. Hunter has a lengthy history of drug addiction and the destructive behavior that comes with it. His life has been a train wreck. Yet he also has a history of fat jobs and gifts from people who want to curry favor with his powerful dad.
Lately we are asked to believe that a corrupt Ukrainian gas company paid him maybe $3 million because he was Hunter. And not because he was Vice President Biden’s son. The kid knew nothing about gas or energy. He had zero experience in the field. He did not speak Ukrainian. Yet we are supposed to believe the company’s payments had nothing to do with who his dad is.
We are asked to believe similar sleaze from China. The government-run Bank of China owns a big chunk of an investment firm. Hunter visits China with his VP dad. Voila! The firm suddenly drops a billion into Hunter’s new investment fund. (The amount has grown to over $2 billion.) A fund engaged in business about which Hunter knows zip.
We are asked to believe there is no smoke here. Nothing to look into. Just as we were expected to ignore the outrageous pay-to-play payments into the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was Secretary of State. And the million-dollar speaking fees for Bill. All of which dried up when she left office. And could no longer grant favors.
We are asked to believe there is nothing to inspect about the surge in the wealth of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife. She is in Trump’s cabinet. Their China connections helped them grow their wealth from $3 million to $33 million in four years.
We were asked to believe there was nothing fishy about the stock purchases of a former Republican congressman. When he was Secretary of Health and Human Services. He bought $300,000 of health-care stocks while working on measures that would boost their share prices.
We were asked to swallow a whopper with Andrew McCabe. He was the lying deputy director of the FBI. When it was clear that Hillary might face criminal charges Hillary’s close pal donated $675,000 to McCabe’s wife’s campaign. The Clinton probe got set aside. No quid-pro-quo here, folks. Nah.
Over the years we have been asked to believe such behavior is not really corruption. That such crap does not take place in both parties — everywhere in Washington, in Albany, in the Big Apple’s government.
Guys who want favors give millions to politicians’ charities. They hire politicians’ relatives for make-believe jobs. But we are supposed to believe there is nothing amiss with this.
We are asked to believe that it is mere co-incidence that so many political animals magically gain top jobs in big media. Because of their qualifications. Rather than their connections. And rather than who their daddy or mommy is.
We are asked to file all this in our Fairy Tale File. Along with Santa Claus and Peter Pan.
Well, it doesn’t seem to wash with us. For too many Americans it does not pass the smell test. Too many of us reckon the emperor is buck naked.
A Caddell & Associates poll tells us that 85 percent of us believe the following: The country is run by an alliance of incumbent politicians. Along with media pundits, lobbyists and other powerful money interest groups. For their own gain. At the expense of the American people.
The Caddell poll reckons two-thirds of folks would take the following action if allowed: If there was a place on the ballot where they could vote to defeat and replace every single member of Congress, they would check the box. Even if it included their own representatives.
Big media and politicians can ask and expect us to believe otherwise. But most Americans are onto them. Most Americans know that crony capitalism is rampant. That corruption is normal. That it enriches insiders at the expense of everyone else.
Give me a good reason to pretend otherwise.
Email Tom Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.