Seventy-one, at last count, empty folders among the purloined national archive files retrieved from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Forty-eight – 48! – of those files were marked “Classified.” And those file folders are empty.

          Who knows what was in them? Vladimir Putin?

          The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posed the obvious question: why would a guy who hates to read, who had every briefing paper dumbed down for his gnat-like attention span, tote box after box of national papers off to stash carelessly around his resort?

          That short attention span might be responsible for Trump’s inappropriate actions since he himself increased the penalties “for knowingly removing classified materials with the intent to retain them at an ‘unauthorized location,’” according to Sara Boboltz of Huffington Post.

          The old punishment carried a penalty of up to a year in prison. But, Trump, still ranting about Hillary Clinton’s emails – none of which contained classified material; none of which disappeared – had such crimes increased to a felony, with a sentence of up to five years in prison.

          With Trump, there’s always the chance that it is his entitled, rich kid arrogance that makes him think he is above all laws and societal standards. But, this is the same guy who:

          • Once said: “The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” And then took the Fifth repeatedly in New York to questions about his real estate dealings.

          • Broke dishes and splattered White House walls with ketchup while the 2020 election was turning toward Biden.

          • Just last month demanded that he be put back in office – or, at the very least, President Biden should call a special election.

          So, did “lock her up” Trump just forget what he said about purloined government documents and the Fifth Amendment, is his above-the-law arrogance just that great or are we seeing signs of mental slippage?

          And the twice-impeached former president is not alone. His loyal fascist base follows whatever new direction he takes. We could say they were abandoning principles, but their only principle in complete devotion to Donald Trump.

          It was more than a year-and-a-half ago that former Oklahoma Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards declared the Republicans “no longer a political party. It’s a cult.”

          Last month the Republican Lincoln Project called Trump’s GOP a “nationalist cult.”

          In a discussion, on art as it turns out, Paul Weiss observed:

          “Religions speak on behalf of a supreme being or value whose demands may not conform to what men might think right, expedient, wise, or intelligible.…If ethics or politics or art make us neglect or even qualify the obedience and love we should give such a sovereign being, they must be condemned by those who believe in him.”

          Thus, we have the vilification by Trump and his disciples of anything opposing the Great and Powerful Donald. Threats of his displeasure scared many moderate Republicans out of politics once he took office. Rep. Liz Cheney lost her primary to a Trumpista because she works to root out the insurrectionists who tried to overthrow the republic.

          Trump is now aiming his vitriol at the “sleazy” FBI for recovering the federal papers he absconded with. Calling the FBI “a criminal enterprise” last month, he referred to the warranted search of Mar-a-Lago as a “break-in” and “a sneak attack on democracy.”

          Which is worse than siccing a mob on the U.S. Capitol?

          And, would-be apostles echo his anger. Mary Papenfuss of Huffington Post reported: “Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) urged Americans to “destroy the FBI.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) appeared to be calling for civil war over the search.”

          Then, too, Sen. Lindsey Graham predicted “riots in the street” if Trump is charged for any of his misdeeds.

          As predicted at the time, such rancid rhetoric spawned threats against the agency and its agents. A joint bulletin from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security in mid-August reported: “”These threats are occurring primarily online and across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, video sharing platforms, and image boards.”

          Among the threats were those “including a threat to place a so-called dirty bomb in front of FBI Headquarters and issuing general calls for ‘civil war’ and ‘armed rebellion'”

          One Trumpian martyr was killed when he attacked a Cincinnati FBI office armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and a nail gun.

          So, — now that their messiah has declared the FBI the enemy –  his obedient, ovine following should ask every pro-Trump candidate on the Oklahoma ballot whether Timothy McVeigh should have received a medal instead of the needle – after first posing that question to their mirrors .

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.

Empty folders; worship-full devotion

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