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    The Unmasking of a Con Artist

    “The U.S. of The Wizard of Oz is not so far from the U.S. of today. The supposedly great man living in Trump Tower—I mean Emerald City—turns out to be a con artist, a bloviating coward who relies on self-aggrandizement and empty shows of power to cow the people … . And the central reveal about the hollowness, cynicism, opportunism, egotism and fakery of our leaders is chillingly apt.”

    The Guardian, 2018

    ACT UP demonstration in front of Trump Tower in New York on October 31, 1989

    The viral meme “Surrender, Donald” soon followed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement on September 24 that a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump would be initiated. She said, in part: “The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” adding that he “must be held accountable—no one is above the law” and that his enlisting a foreign power to smear political rival former vice president Joe Biden was a “betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”

    President Trump’s July 25th phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the heart of the betrayal comes as little surprise to most detractors, however, and even seems characteristic of this surreal leader’s behavior. The MAGA hat wearers appear unphased by it along with widely used diminishing descriptions like “con artist” wielded even by Senator Marco Rubio and other Republicans.

    Google “Donald Trump con artist” and nearly 48 million articles appear. That amount is over 75 percent of the number of people who voted for the former “reality-television” personality in the November 2016 presidential election. While many of us believed him to be a con artist from the outset, the big reveal to his remaining supporters has not yet happened. Will there be an “ashy pall of disillusionment and disgust following the unmasking of the false savior,” as journalist Bidisha wrote of the Wizard of Oz in her 2018 piece for The Guardian?

    That moment would be welcome to the majority of our community, given that President Trump is no “friend of Dorothy” in all respects. (The catch phrase originated decades ago because The Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland was, and to many still is, a gay icon.) GLAAD and other nonprofits have been tracking the President’s attacks and derogatory statements concerning the LGBTQ community. Check GLAAD’s out here:

    “Surrender, Donald” couldn’t then be any timelier during this Halloween month with the film Judy in national release and the recently launched impeachment inquiry dominating the news. If only we could click our heels three times and find out that the Trump presidency was an orange-hued technicolor nightmare populated by characters more bizarre, irrational, and destructive than fictional villains.