Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Gordon Robinson | Swift return of agent orange

Published:Sunday | February 18, 2024 | 12:11 AM
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce walks with Taylor Swift following the AFC Championship NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs in Baltimore on January 28.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce walks with Taylor Swift following the AFC Championship NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs in Baltimore on January 28.

American politics has finally become certifiably insane!

I’ve repeatedly told readers there’s little difference between political parties everywhere. Nowhere is this more glaring than during a time in American politics that can safely be called The Era of Agent Orange.

For those born after Andrew Holness or Mark Golding, Agent Orange was a chemical warfare tool made with a poisonous herbicide mixture used by US military during the Vietnam War. It contained a dangerous chemical called Dioxin. Dioxin is a highly toxic and persistent organic pollutant linked to cancers, diabetes, birth defects and other disabilities. Due to proven widespread and deadly effects of Agent Orange including on American soldiers, its production was halted in the 1970s. According to American government sources it’s no longer in use but the lethal effect of the Dioxin contaminant continues to linger and adversely affect the world’s health.

According to internationally renowned educational and policy studies organisation, the Aspen Institute “The Red Cross estimates that three million Vietnamese have been affected by Dioxin including at least 150,000 children born with serious birth defects. Millions of Americans and Vietnamese are still affected, directly and indirectly, by wartime US spraying of Agent Orange and other herbicides over southern and central Vietnam. Agent Orange was sprayed at up to 20 times the concentration the manufacturers recommended for killing plants.”

Why such a detailed account of the history of the first Agent Orange? Elementary my dear Watson! This is so that you can see as clearly as I do that June 16, 2015, heralded the coming (down a golden escalator) of the second Agent Orange in the form of Donald Trump. Spraying toxic doses of racism, jingoism, fascism and narcissism, more than 20 times the concentration of these deadly toxins in the average American, Donald “Agent Orange” Trump, a quintessential sociopath, birthed a MAGA cult. Then he contaminated the brains of its ever expanding membership until diseased minds attacked everything and everybody who looked, acted or just were different like infected Zombies in The Last of Us.

These days I regularly pinch myself to ensure I’ve lived long enough to see a Republican Party, traditionally the bastion of Border Defense, introduce a Border Control Bill in the House; negotiate bipartisan support; then refuse to pass it because Agent Orange ordered them to kill it. Is this the same Agent Orange who campaigned on a Border Wall? So, why this new diktat? It’s so Agent Orange can have an election campaign talking point that border issues remain unresolved by Joe Buddy.

And his blind, politically suicidal sycophants in Congress obey automatically and scupper the Border Control Bill while, in the same breath, impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over border policies.

Well impale me with a rusty totem pole! This is the epitome of panic-stricken self destruction. That’s understandable from a former President desperately trying to avoid what seems inevitable imprisonment after being charged with over 90 counts of federal crimes including (essentially) treason. I get that.

But why are congressional sheep going along with this established electorally fatal farce? Again, I get that every cult leader has a small stupid following. But why would most of the majority party in the House of Representatives, usually educated people with highly functioning minds, play Igor to Agent Orange’s Baron Von Frankenstein?

For once I can’t answer. Except to say it probably proves what I’ve been arguing for 50 years namely Americans aren’t very bright. So, even the supposed cream of the crop seems to suffer from intellectual deficit marinated in traditional prejudices.

But, despite MAGA’s dumb, thoughtless, almost insane political contrivances, the most idiotic of their obsessions is only peripherally political. Of course I’m referring to their fixated demonization of Taylor Swift.

And Travis Kelce!

I suspect readers are aware of Taylor Swift. But maybe not so much her boyfriend Travis Kelce – a star NFL Tight-End (an offensive player similar to an offensive mid-fielder in real football) for the four-time Super Bowl Champions Kansas City Chiefs. Since the relationship became public Taylor has been attending Chiefs’ games to support her man. Naturally, TV coverage spends time (less than a minute overall per three hour game) on shots of Taylor in the box excited at Travis’ play.

So far, you’d think, just another celebrity couple being highlighted by media like Brangelina; J. Lo and (fill in the blank); or Halle Berry and (I forget)….

No siree Bob. Not this time. It has to be said that Taylor Swift’s popularity in the music industry has reached legendary proportions such that she’s compared to past legends and present icons. So MAGA gets nervous. Why? Has Taylor made a single political statement? Not this time around although she did endorse Joe Buddy in 2020. But remember I told you. MAGA members are dumb! Building straw men is their forte.

Immediately, MAGA social media influencers started selling the snake oil potion that Taylor and Travis’ relationship was a ploy meant to benefit Democrats in the 2024 elections. They went further to predict there was a Democratic Party plan to rig the NFL playoffs so the Chiefs would reach the Super Bowl. Why? Oh come on throw away reason and you’ll see as clearly as Jimmy Cliff. The Democrats planned for Taylor to pop up during the half-time show, featuring Usher, and publicly endorse Joe Biden.

I kid you not. Nobody can make this stuff up except, of course, MAGA dimwits. Fox News host Jesse Waters claimed Taylor was a “front for a covert political agenda.” And just in case you think only political followers joined the chimera’s chorus here’s a tweet posted late last month by former Republican Presidential candidate and current Trump hack Vivek Ramaswamy “I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month. And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall. Just some wild speculation over here, let’s see how it ages over the next 8 months.”

No need to wait eight months Swami Vivek. It has already not aged well.

I confess I’ve been indifferent to the Taylor Swift drama mainly because I don’t know her music and haven’t been inclined to try. But I watched the Grammys two weeks ago. I found her first acceptance speech tacky (she used it as a promo of her soon-to-be-released new album) and her clearly disrespectful approach to musical icon Celine Dion (who came out despite debilitating illness to present Album of the Year) distasteful.

Then the Border Bill debacle came on my radar so I decided to look again at the MAGA campaign against Taylor. It matters not how much her inexperience and lack of life lessons showed on Grammy night. She doesn’t deserve the appallingly malicious, false and disparaging MAGA campaign against her that’s obviously driven by fear of political misfortune. I don’t understand why MAGA feels so threatened by Taylor? After all it has Kid Rock on its team!

Agent Orange is well on his way, with the unquestioning, tribal assistance of his MAGA cult, to the destruction of the illusion that was the American Dream. If he isn’t stopped in his tracks, he seems nailed on to succeed in turning America into a Dictatorship akin to that of his friend Vlad the Russian Vampire’s by making himself President for life. The good news is certain independent Prosecutors seem determined to contribute effective tracks-stopping efforts within the law and away from political influence.

We shall see.

Unfortunately, in Jamaica, we aren’t far off the pace in the political stupidity stakes. An incumbent who campaigns for Local Government Elections on a platform built on macro-economic management and economic growth sounds to me like he’s attempting to make this local government election national in nature and akin to a referendum on national policy. Yet, when that same incumbent, also a national government incumbent, is faced with an Opposition suggestion that the election is a referendum on the national government, the incumbent emphatically denies the election is any different from the Government’s daily experiences.

PM’s retort: “Every day my leadership goes through a referendum. Every day! This is no different.”

If, as an incumbent Government, with control of a majority of Parish Councils, you are confident of victory on February 26 why would you care that someone considers the Local Government Election a referendum on your Government? Isn’t the official verdict of electors in a formal polling process very different from daily off-the-cuff assessments of supporters, opponents and public affairs commentators alike?

Such a vigorous rejection of that idea sounds like MAGA style panic to me.

Peace and Love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com