Swamp Rabbit and I pored over Rick Wilson’s 2018 book Everything Trump Touches Dies and wondered about the accuracy of the title.
“Interesting thesis,” I said. “The author is assuming Trump’s flunkies aren’t dead to begin with.”
Swamp Rabbit quibbled. “The title says everything, not everybody. Most of them peeps who got close to Trump are still alive.”
I demurred. “They may still have a pulse but their souls are dead. Look at Kirstjen Nielsen.”
Nielsen had just that day been forced out of her job as Homeland Security chief by Donald Trump, even though she’d been on board with his inhumane directives, including his decision to separate immigrant parents from their children at the Mexican border.
“Think about it,” I said to the rabbit. The middle-aged Nielsen could have finished her cybersecurity gig in comfortable obscurity but instead chose to work in Trump’s Cabinet, presumably because the proximity to greater power thrilled her. Like her predecessor John Kelly, she embraced Trump’s core values — bigotry, cruelty, dishonesty — but not ardently enough to keep Trump from turning on her.
“The question is, did her soul die after she took the job or was it dead all along,” I said.
The rabbit was silent, but I persisted. Are fascists born or are they made? Is it really possible to corrupt someone who isn’t corrupt to begin with? Were Stephen Miller, Betsy DeVos, Andrew Wheeler, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke and the other flunkies decent people before Trump touched them?
“I’m guessing they were scumbags from the get-go, but what’s your point?” the rabbit said. “A lot of peeps go through life without working for Trump.”
“Only because they don’t get the opportunity,” I replied. “There’s no end to the number of decent people who would sell their souls to that hog monster for the promise of money and power.”
“I ain’t into morality lectures, Odd Man,” the rabbit countered, reaching for his whisky bottle. “Everybody gotta serve somebody, including you.”
I asked him about the word “serve.” Did he mean serving or sucking up? Working for someone or selling one’s soul? The problem was not so much about morality as it was about digestion, I confessed. I’d never been able to stomach working for Trump types.
The rabbit looked around at my shack. “Dog gone it,” he said. “No wonder you’re such a high achiever.”
I asked him to pass the bottle, not knowing if I would drink or just hit him with it.
Footnote: Wilson was a pretty sick soul, a highly skilled propagandist who worked for right-wingers to undermine Barack Obama and other Democrats. I guess it took the nomination of Trump to make him see the light. Now he gets to be a talking head on MSNBC.