An Associated Press photo immortalized Lee Zeldin sitting without a mask at Trump’s Tulsa rally. This newspaper, on viewing it, dubbed him “just another face in the crowd” [“Just A Face In The Crowd,” Editorial, June 25].
The live feed of the event provides a larger perspective. Zoom out: There Zeldin is, not “socially distant” with safe politicos as he claimed, but smack in the middle of a back-slapping, whooping, hoo-hah cluster around Trump’s pitbull, Jim Jordan. Zeldin may be just another bare-face in the crowd, but the spittle-spewing, malevolent Jordan has been elevated to the face of the crowd.
The editorial muses on Zeldin’s lost opportunity to make a statement by wearing a mask (“[it] would have spoken volumes”) while side-stepping the “volumes” that his going unmasked clearly did speak: Loud and clear, it says that he is a loyal lap dog. And, as is well demonstrated, loyalty to his chosen moron-mentor Trump must be total.
So by his choice to join Trump, Pence and other flunkies in not wearing a mask, Zeldin signals his obsequious endorsement of Trump’s policies and actions, including but not limited to: Trump’s denial of the pandemic’s death toll and continuing rise, his weaponized stupidity, his nepotism, his lack of accountability, his destabilization of the political process, his dangerous lies, his pathological psyche, his destruction of the rule of law, his defecation on the Constitution, his racist rabble-rousing, his appointment of the ill-fit to sensitive public office, his emptying of the diplomatic corps, his willingness to sell out the country, his humiliation of the country across the globe, his demeaning of the intelligence community and armed forces, his criminal use of military force to attack peaceful protesters, and, most of all, his fealty to Putin, etc., etc., and so forth.
So, no: it is never about a “personal choice” (based on a First Amendment right?) for a politico to wear a mask or not at this moment in time and in defiance of the public welfare for political allegiance. And pie-in-the-sky hopes that Zeldin would seize the opportunity to oppose Trump and miss that moment of being greeted from the stage are daft. He could just as soon have come out as a Democrat then and there.
Instead, his unmasked face places him squarely in the circle of the cynical, debased Republican camp followers seeking favor or a nod from a blubbering mountebank — or, at best, not banishment nor a nickname.
Too bad, Zeldin seems like a nice guy, but that can’t mask his political choices, and he can’t be separated from his political choices. Like his mentor, he has to go for the good of all.
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One fine body…