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A Residue of Sludge 

Taking a Gander: The stink of the Trump era lives on.

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The second impeachment is officially over, and Trump is finally gone. But he and his clueless supporters still present a frightening impediment to the prospect of internal peace and a greater America.

Let's face it; our country has a problem. What are we going to do with the congressmen and senators who continue to reek of swamp slime? One simply cannot avoid smelling bad after immersion in the sludge of democracy's decay, and, sadly, there's an easily intimidated, morally bereft pro-Trump core that can't seem to find its way out.

I would have thought that the delusional, faithful Republican cronies—more specifically, those who believe that Jews in the sky use their Buck Rogers ray-guns to start wildfires in the West and that Hillary snacks on babies in the basement pizza shop—would take a dive after Trump's landslide loss to Biden. Instead, it's become clear that no amount of fact or reason can sway the brain-dead.

I guess, if we can believe in ghosts, then that ongoing support of a has-been is not at all surprising. What is surprising is that a large number of rich, well-educated legislators have been unable to extricate themselves from the fraud of their former leader. As inexplicable as it is, one thing is for sure: The motivation is more about fear than anything else.

There are lots of wise words that describe the situation, but author Lamine Pearlheart nailed it when he wrote about uncomfortable associations: "Never borrow the devil's pitchfork, for he will surely use it against you." Our representatives and senators saw some sick need to give their support to a man they neither liked nor respected. The truth is that no matter the degree of ill-founded loyalty, few in government actually liked Trump.

His predictably unpredictable behavior alienated everyone, and he made sure that anyone who crossed him paid for it. He loved firing people, but he loved highly public humiliations even more. Anyone who disagreed or fought Trump was drawn and quartered by his tweet and those of his mini-mes.

But now, it's the moment of truth: Those who have pledged themselves to their leader's "art of the lie" have found themselves faced with the conundrum—how to gracefully extricate themselves from the most dangerous former president in America's history while, at the same time, threading the needle of the next election.

Streams of these frightened souls continue to feign the adoration Trump that requires. Utah's Sen. Mike Lee, for example, most recently made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago for a fundraising dinner, where he no doubt sacrificed virgin goats, repeated a variety of incantations and lit candles to appease the wrath of a fallen god. Instead of standing back and condemning the corruption of the past four years, Lee and those of his ilk are buying into the idea that their disgraced leader is somehow still running things from the grave. They have no inkling about it, but the writing is on the wall, and their best bet is to extricate themselves and hope their constituents won't remember what they did in order to save their jobs.

Never before have so many powerful elected officials suffered such a mass extortion. Dead or not, Trump is sticking to his playbook: He will punish anyone who's disloyal to him and will be relentless in his efforts to harm. Likewise, he fawns over the patently foolish types, like Reps. Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the irrepressible sort, such as Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, and the Q-Anon wannabes, such as Utah's ex-NFL star, Rep. Burgess Owens. Trump understands that any pipe dream of a continuing political career will require his supporters retain the same delusional mindset that plunged him into two impeachment trials and kept him in office as the most unpopular president in history.

While there's always been the same nagging problem—legislators making decisions based on party affiliations rather than what's good for our country—there has never been a time when political agendas were so blatantly disloyal to America's fundamental principles. The violent Capitol attack and the accompanying echoes of Trump's "Stop the Steal" were truly the lowest point in our annals of history. While the gullible fools who stormed the hallowed halls of our government are facing the consequences of violent insurrection—lives and families permanently ruined—we need to figure out what to do with the legislators, governors and other MAGA supporters who, either directly or indirectly, sponsored the attack.

I have a plan: The recently successful Mars exploration has given me a great idea: Give the GOP the job of colonizing Mars. It would be the perfect new home for the likes of Sens. Mike Lee, Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz and the other "Party of Trump" Republicans in the House and Senate who betrayed our nation's trust.

Chances are, that despite the atmospheric and environmental deficits on the "red planet," these lower forms of life would thrive there just fine. Martian settlement by these infidels is probably a better plan than, say, executions or, god forbid, wasting valuable space in dumpsters.

The author is a retired businessman, novelist, columnist and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.

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