Cheryl Cook: Step right up!

Ladies and gents! This will be the greatest show in the history of the Earth. The next four years will be unbelievable! The likes of which you’ve never seen before. Amazing ratings! Winning, winning, winning. Step right up!

This is the final act under the big tent. You paid the money and you took your chances. How was the show? Over 225,000 Americans are dead from a failed attempt to control a deadly pandemic. Trump shouts, “It is virtually nobody.”

Over 35 states are spiking in cases with deaths predicted to escalate if current trends continue with an estimated 400,000 deaths by February. Trump shouts, “We are rounding the corner.”

Americans have suffered loss of businesses, jobs, and employer-sponsored health insurance. Eight million Americans have been forced into poverty amid the pandemic. Trump shouts, “All they talk about on CNN is the pandemic … stupid b******s!”

In a darkened corner of the event is a sideshow displaying 545 innocent children languishing in cages. They have been orphaned by this administration, no matter how young, because there was never a clear plan for their reunification with family.

In the center ring, FBI Director Christopher Wray has given top billing to white supremacist terrorist groups as the major domestic threat to our safety and security.

Outside, emboldened neighbors race trucks flying Trump flags through the streets like tanks through an occupied village. People harass neighbors with Biden bumper stickers. They rip Biden signs from their hands on public streets and signs from their yards.

The director of national intelligence delivers a curt announcement that Iran and Russia have hacked into registered Democrat voter rolls and sent out threatening emails: “Vote for Donald Trump or we will come after you. We have your address.” The recipient’s actual address is printed out.

You want to leave the show, but there are still a few days until the election and you realize the circus is actually an ongoing campaign rally.

Trump grabs the spotlight to mock and insult Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her leadership in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus in her state despite the lack of a national strategy. “Liberate Michigan!” he shouts.

A white supremacist terrorist group has been arrested and charged with plans to kidnap and try her for treason, but Trump still leads the rally in chanting, “Lock her up!”

The barker begins to brag about his ability to bribe companies to benefit him personally. For my next act … I will perform a campaign donation extortion from a corporation like Exxon. “Hi, how are you doing? Oh, you need a couple of permits?”

Someone should have taught Donald in his youth that even the tallest building in New York cannot stand the test of time when it is built on a rotting foundation. And that even wealthy and powerful Americans who perform illegal acts will be held to the same laws.

Someone should have taught Donald that a country is built. Not bought.

Thank God for all the patriots of both political parties during this administration who had the moral integrity to speak out in defiance of Donald Trump: former Defense Secretary James Mattis, former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, former Chief of Staff Kelly, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Gen. McChrystal, etc. Thank God for the whistleblowers, research journalists and scientists.

We know our economy will recover. Oxford Economics and Moodys recently performed an analysis of Biden’s economic plan and concluded that his plan would create significantly more jobs and economic growth than any current trajectory.

But will we recover the soul of our nation? That depends on whether this country will follow the spirit of our heroes. A hero like Lt. Col Vindeman who testified before Congress and lost his job. A heroine like Gov. Whitmer who tells Trump that his ongoing rhetoric is inciting domestic violence and putting her family in danger. A hero like John McCain who broke from his party with an 11th-hour thumbs down vote in the Senate.

I was in the grocery store the other day when an elderly lady dropped her purse on the floor. Three of us almost collided trying to pick it up and hand it to her. A man said, “I guess there is still a bit of humanity left in us.”

Americans want to feel good about our country again. We want a president whose performance is grounded in common sense, not conspiracy. In common purpose, not division.

The curtain is falling. The lights are coming up … exit carefully as you step right up to the polls.

Cheryl Cook lives in Penn Valley.

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