If someone was inclined to make a scent that embodied today’s Republican party under Trump, then it would definitely be called eau de Swamp. It would smell like cocaine-laced crumpled dollars that had been smuggled across Eastern European borders deep in the nether regions of someone’s underwear, yet, mixed with the distilled sweat of punch drunk investment bankers and the heady stench of spittle flying from the mouths of enraged white guys yelling hate speech epithets. It could be sold in the gaudy unused bottles that were made for Trump’s failed line of vodka. Oh, what a pungent bouquet.
This odiferous parfum concoction wafts off Manafort and Cohen and Stone and Trump Jr. and the, oh so lovely, Ivanka, the sweatshop goddess. It permeates gerrymandered statehouses and Governor’s mansions and even lowly boards of education. It seems that everywhere there is a gathering of Republicans these days, there’s that unmistakable smell of burnt American dreams and festering corruption. It burns your eyes the same way that perfume does in houses of ill-repute. Sickly sweet and artificial.
Although Trump and his sycophants seemed to have an irresistible hypnotic effect on one third of our country, at least two thirds recognize his putrid odor and the obnoxious decay emanating from his cohorts. Those malodorous machinations to destroy American democracy in favor of a rigged bureaucracy for the wealthiest have seeped into the nostrils of those who mistake the rot for greatness. It defies explanation, but there are people out there who still like sniffing gasoline or spray paint for a buzz…
That Trumpublican smell can be explained. It’s what happens when core values are sold cheaply for power. It’s what happens when winning becomes more important than standing up for what’s honorably right. It’s what happens when you run instinctively from challenge and only listen to those who confirm your deeply held prejudices and assumptions. The secret ingredients are fear, ignorance, and a healthy spoonful of divine entitlement and superiority. A splash of gerrymander, perhaps. Eau de Swamp has been around awhile, but it’s never been so concentrated, nor marketed so brazenly. Or, sold so cheaply.
The vile permeation of it has choked civil discourse and strangled statesmanship. Its fester corrodes our common sense and its elixir lays waste to our sense of common good. Those who enjoy it, enjoy it as a reeking repellent so they may have the freedom to pursue their own selfish interests and craven pleasures and they laugh as others gag on its stench. Eau de Swamp isn’t for just anyone even though everyone can certainly smell it.
It’s the funk of pay-for-play politics and rotten quid pro quo secret deal-making.
In Alabama we’ve seen it at all levels of conservative government and, more recently, with the Oliver Robinson scandal it seems to have also involved some Republican state legislators and congressman in their delusional quest to neuter the EPA. As they talk of family values, they ensure the environment is a landfill for big businesses and they guarantee that quality, affordable healthcare is only a pipe dream for their constituents.
Trump has told us not to trust what we see or hear, but surely people can still smell the lies and corruption. Surely, Americans will come up for fresh air after breathing in these noxious fumes. Right now, the Republicans are intoxicated by it and it’s made them giddy. They have no idea how much harm they have created for themselves and others by bathing in that acidic cologne. It’s scents for the incensed and it won’t be very long until it causes a rash.
They may want to consider going au natural for a bit. Eau de Swamp stinks to high heaven.