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It is a bank shot. To execute a bank shot, aim at something else—the backboard or the bumper. If you line up the shot correctly, the bounce will redirect the ball into the basket or pocket. Today, all Republican political speech is laced with bank shots.
That is nice to know. Otherwise, we, who do not share the shibboleth, might be left wondering, worrying that their speech is irrational, irresponsible, or, at best, irregular.
For example, they have party members accused of serious crimes, arrested, fingerprinted, mug shots taken, and they wish to comment publicly about … Hunter Biden? After a five-year investigation by a special counsel, Republicans want to investigate some more.
It sounds unconnected to the serious matter before the nation until you realize they are talking about Trump; it is a bank shot. Where is the pocket? Right there where the bounce leads to the conclusion that they are all crooks so it is okay that Trump and his cronies are. It is okay to remove crookedness from consideration when deciding how to vote. Honest Abe? Piffle. A man or woman of character? Blather. Earn the honor? Drivel.
Let us aim at Hunter Biden. Here is what we learned in five years. Hunter lost his mother and sister in an accident. He and his brother were in the car. They survived but were injured and hospitalized. After the loss of his one remaining sibling, Hunter turned to drugs. He bought a gun for self-protection—from what, his fate? From Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos?
Hunter was informally accused of all sorts of things, but formally charged with two crimes. To acquire the gun, he lied on the form, and he did not pay his taxes on time. Hunter Biden returned the gun and paid the taxes in full including all penalties and interest. Through it all, he never held public office and never held power over We The People.
Well now, that is equivalent to an attempt to overthrow the government and fleece the people out of their hard-earned money with lies, isn’t it? We should learn to laugh more. Republicans are opposed to any restrictions on gun purchases. Denying a gun to a drug user, someone with a history of mental health issues, or a history of domestic violence, are all things the party opposes. Free and unfettered access to guns is what they support. Yet, they want to prosecute Hunter to the full extent of the law for neglecting to check a box on a form, thereby, sidestepping a restriction. This stuff is funny or silly, and yet, it isn’t. Some of it hits the hoop or the pocket, and the reverberations are damaging. In the public square, we argue about the Bidens as Trump and his cronies slip into the Fulton County jail for processing. Or worse: We don’t notice the hard work of a benevolent politician working to shift the economy and pass supportive legislation as the miscreants suck all the oxygen out of the room with their arrests.
Sadly, the press has always been the cohorts of the colorful, no matter how obscene. They do not root for the miscreants, but they never fail to give their shenanigans airtime. They report every nuance, while good government, hard work, the mundane, and the benevolent get short shrift. The media does not overtly approve of or well-wish the bad guys, but they continually give the incalculable value of publicity. No matter how tawdry, how plain silly, how despicable, inevitably, they report. Inevitably, some segment of the population accepts as normal, or at least rampant, criminal behavior.
The media cries, “It isn’t us us, it’s Trump. He knows how to manipulate the media. It’s not us, it’s the responsibility of Republicans who must step up and denounce one of their own.” They both blame the Internet. OK, but here is the good news. Remember when prognosticators said if you arrest him, there will be a violent uprising? Remember when prognosticators said the silliness in the House of Representatives would block the rise in the debt ceiling and cause the government to grind to a halt? Remember when they said inflation will bury us? None of it happened.
What happened? Even with forces arrayed against it, the system never failed us. We The People never failed the system. We consistently voted for a team of politicians who were true to the system, understood it, and worked within it. That team, the Biden team, saw us through. And yet …
Ron DeSantis opened the Republican primary debate with the words, “Our country is in decline.”
It is a bank shot.