“The official campaign-hawked ‘MAGA Dad’ whiskey glasses for Father’s Day? WTF?” my friend said. “We need sober minds right now! We’re in the middle of a pandemic and global protests about American racial violence and the militarization of the police. Unemployment is off the charts. Alcohol sales are booming. Drinking to cope is becoming the summer sport for middle schoolers! And the president’s campaign wants Dad to get drunk for Father’s Day? Talk about tone deaf! Why do you even get emails from Agent Orange’s campaign?”
We had both watched Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” on Juneteenth, so I forgave him for using Spike Lee’s call sign for POTUS. I prefer “Ol’ 45” to “Agent Orange,” myself.
“Can’t trust fake news,” I said. “I like to see where the official campaign is coming from.”
“Same as always: from the Kremlin!” he snickered. “But the man doesn’t even drink! How anyone can trust a man who doesn’t drink is beyond me. But how can anyone possibly trust a man that doesn’t drink and sells whiskey glasses for Father’s Day?”
“I dunno,” I shrugged. “Maybe Ol’ 45 figures his odds are better in November if America is blind stinking drunk.”
“Were they at least tulip snifters to hold the aroma? Tastefully engraved with the presidential seal and signature?” he asked hopefully.
“For only a $40 contribution, your dad can have a historic plain rocks glass, emblazoned with ‘MAGA Dad,’” I mimicked the late-night hawker.
“His own brother died of alcoholism!” my friend practically shouted. “And Agent Orange doesn’t even drink!
My friend and I had talked about our Teetotaler-in-Chief’s drinking habits on other occasions. We agreed Ol’ 45’s rage-tweets would make a lot more sense if he was gulping gin all day in a Winston Churchill sort of way. Kellyanne’s Conway’s job would be a lot easier. She could wink, nod and say, “Late night—that was the whiskey talking” or “Here’s what he meant to say…”
If Ol’ impeached 45 were drunk as a skunk most of the time, it would make sense he fired a Marine general nicknamed “Mad Dog,” teargassed peaceful protesters to stage a photo-op at a church he’s never visited and holding a Bible he has never read, appointed his unqualified daughter and inexperienced son-in-law to high-level positions in the administration with access to highly classified information, or called anyone but Elton John “Rocketman.”
Honestly, I can’t even see hard-scrabble, hard-drinking Ulysses S. Grant selling cheap whiskey glasses on Father’s Day to a nation in crisis. Then again, Grant didn’t suffer from heel spurs. Grant won the bloody initial phase of a Civil War we’re still fighting today. Ol’ 45 keeps fighting for the Lost Cause of the Confederacy.
“I’m sure they are crassly merchandising the presidency because they can’t sell stuff at rallies,” my friend said before heading to another peaceful Black Lives Matter event in downtown Wilmington. I didn’t have the heart to correct him. I’ve been on the official email list for four years. In that time not a week has gone by that the presidency has not been for sale, the office has not been used to sell some trinket, memento or historic keepsake to potential donors. The 2016 sales campaign never ended.
That’s one big reason why Vice President Biden has far less available money to run his campaign. Ol’ 45 has been selling his brand and seeking to replace what’s left of democracy with crass capitalism since day one.
I headed back to my home office, connecting with folks, listening to their loneliness, helping them find ways to cope with the stress of the pandemic, unemployment, isolation, racial injustice in ways that didn’t involve getting blind drunk.
I intend to stay sober. At least through November’s election.