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Trump's Batty Garden of Heroes

Abby Zimet

 by Common Dreams
Trump's garden. Twitter photo
In a perfect finale to the long, long madness, Trump spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and his last full day in office, sulking, raving, boasting of imaginary accomplishments, issuing 45 pages of "racist nonsense," and signing a meaningless executive order on his glorious "Garden of American Heroes," a sort of statuary Night of 1000 Stars on steroids and Adderall “to reflect the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism,” which will never see the lucid light of day. On a holiday purportedly aimed at reminding Americans of King's edict to serve our community, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris both heeded the call by volunteering at food banks. Blithely ignoring that call, along with bourgeoning legal scandals, outrage over his failed insurrection, and America's 24 million COVID cases and almost 400,000 deaths - in L.A. County, one every six minutes - Trump's impressive, hilarious press schedule for Monday declared, "He will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings." While hiding in the White House in a heavily fortified capital, he chose to further roil the racial justice waters by issuing a 45-page “1776 Report” - an evident response to The New York Times’ “1619 Project” highlighting the impact of slavery on our history - in which old white conservatives slammed “identity politics" and painted slaveholders as abolitionists. One historian compared it to a “bad middle school civic textbook from 1955”; others called it "a hack job" and “racist nonsense... accentuated by culture war paranoia.”
A boy forever practicing his autograph, Trump also signed an executive order to build his imaginary National Garden of American Heroes. The move follows his efforts amidst BLM protests to essentially stop time and racial justice by ordering new "beautiful" federal buildings," vetoing a bill to rechristen Confederate-named military bases, and earlier proposing a garden for 31 “random, odd" "heroes." They're nothing compared to Monday's new, weird, deeply contradictory, historically inaccurate list of 244 figures to combat "a dangerous anti-American extremism that seeks to dismantle our country's history, institutions and very identity" as a white supremacist country. Like a 7th-grader told to Google famous Americans but he got bored, the order lists a wild grab bag of those who've made "substantive contributions," careening from history to pop culture: Samuel Adams, Kobe Bryant, William Buckley, Whitney Houston, Johnny Appleseed, Johnny Cash, Andrew Carnegie, Barry Goldwater, Hannah Arendt, Herman Melville, Annie Oakley, Billy Graham, Elvis Presley, Walt Disney, Betsy Ross, John Wayne, RBG. Many aren't American: Alex Trebek, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingrid Bergman, Christopher Columbus, who sparked a fierce debate: The one who pillaged America or made Mrs. Doubtfire? Also, Grover Cleveland the president or the movie pitcher played by Ronald Reagan? Many had questions: Where are Joseph Stalin, Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Col. Sanders, Ronald McDonald, Stormy Daniels, the Pillow Guy? With fascists next to anti-fascists, shouldn't it be the Garden of Contradictions? Will they be in a safari park/ inch-high in a shoebox/ Legos? Is this why he wanted to buy Greenland? Can Biden please spend all this money on a COVID memorial park? Does Trump know Woody Guthrie hated his family? Does he know who any of these people are? Does he realize Andrew Jackson (listed), once known as the worst president ever, isn't anymore? Is it over yet?

Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice." - Donald J. Trump, historian


Demented dreams of glory. Getty Image.

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email:

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