Where I Stand:

Keystone Kops in 2020 are no laughing matter


Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington.

It could be the worst wedding of the century — from the last two centuries!

What President Donald Trump and his minions are doing — besides wreaking havoc with the public’s confidence in America’s ability to conduct free and fair elections, as dangerous to democracy as that may prove to be — reminds me of two of history’s most well-known characters or groups of characters.

The first is the Keystone Kops. For most people younger than 40 years of age — except those who watched the 2012 New York Jets vs. New England Patriots “Buttfumble” game — please consult Wikipedia or another favorite source for mostly credible information. For the rest of us, we can just go to our memory banks.

What the Keystone Kops brought to American pop culture was a fictional understanding that even those in society who are supposed to have their stuff together — the constabulary, for example — can mess up with regular hilarity.

Mack Sennett’s early 20th-century film company silently entertained America with officers of the law running hither and yon — when the bad guys were running yon and hither — in an effort to keep the peace. Their on-screen antics made movie-goers laugh out loud when the laughter was all that was audible in the silent movie theaters.

Laughing at the incompetence of others, while nothing new in the expanse of man’s history, has become an art form in the United States. We can laugh with the best of them.

And that brings me to Donald Trump’s 21st-century version of the Keystone Kops, led less-than-ably by the star of the show, Rudy Giuliani.

At a time when the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is spinning out of control and our government is doing absolutely nothing to stem the virus, Rudy and his gang are doing Trump’s bidding — which is to disenfranchise as many millions of U.S. voters as he needs to claim victory over President-elect Joe Biden.

At this point, Biden has garnered close to 80 million votes for the presidency (nearly six million more than Trump) which makes him the acknowledged, fact-based winner of the 2020 election. He is the president-elect and he will be the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021.

But that isn’t what Rudy is trying to sell. Whether it is in a parking lot wedged in between a crematorium and pornographic book store or a sweaty hot press conference room during which his mascara or hair dye or some other cosmetic enhancement runs down his cheeks while telling whoppers to the public, Giuliani is doing his best to hoodwink enough of Americans (those people would be Trump voters) to believe that elections in this country are neither free nor fair.

Without a modicum of proof or even a hint of meaningful vote discrepancies, Trump’s Keystone Kops are running all over the land trying to convince the court, any court, that there is some there there. But it ain’t working.

What also isn’t working is this American democracy, which used to pride itself as the one country on earth that exalts the peaceful and orderly transfer of power from one president to the next. It isn’t working because public servants who take an oath to uphold the Constitution — those folks would be the Republicans in the U.S. Senate who used to care about such things as our democratic norms — are AWOL.

The Keystone Kops were funny. This modern version is anything but.

Which brings me to the other half of this unholy alliance.

P.T. Barnum was the 19th-century’s greatest showman. You may recognize his name from the circus that proudly displayed his name next to Mr. Bailey’s until just recently.

He is credited with saying that “there is a sucker born every minute.” By that he was describing the members of the public willing to part with their money to see the “bearded lady,” the “strongest man in the world” and other oddities, which all came together in the big tent for the peoples’ pleasure. And none were as advertised.

In short, it took many suckers to pay for P.T.’s lavish lifestyle, and there was no shortage of them in the United States.

Likewise, when Trump and his Rudy Kops traipse around our country trying to sell phony fraud theories about our elections and cast doubt when there should be no doubt in the fairness of our voting systems, it takes the biggest suckers of them all to buy what is being sold.

Far too many people are sending far too many hard-earned dollars to fund Trump’s fraud train, which is on a track to ignominy and destruction. The dollars, however, appear to be on a different track.

A wise man once told me that when the time comes that you just aren’t sure what is really happening, all you need to do is follow the money! And it will all become clear.

Trump‘s Keystone Kops have met Trump’s circus barking dogs, and the result is the diminishing of our democratic norms as well as a depletion of the bank accounts of those Americans who continue to be content to remain on The Donald’s list of suckers.

It is a marriage made nowhere near heaven but, rather, right in the middle of this hell on earth that Donald Trump has created.

Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.