By Rod Miller, columnist
Matt Gaetz’ political death-spiral is obviously highly entertaining to some, but its also instructive. When you are finished either laughing or crying over this soap opera, take a bit of time to really think about what happened.
Gaetz was, just a short while ago, the corn-fed, rosy-cheeked favorite son of the Trump wing of the Republican Party, and poster boy of 21st Century conservative values. Today, he is one more living example of H.L. Mencken’s truism that, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”
The Wyoming Republican Party was so frantic to shame Rep. Liz Cheney for her vote supporting Trump’s impeachment, that they brought Gaetz to a rally in Cheyenne, and turned him loose to support any candidate challenging Cheney in the GOP primary.
Gaetz was showered with love and attention by Trump’s Wyoming base. Selfies with “the true voice of conservative thought today” were snapped by the hundreds., He was all but canonized in comments on social media about his love for Wyoming.
Today, those same folks’ lips are zipped while Gaetz is accused of being a sexual predator who traffics in underage girls across state lines. This elegant moment of political irony was brought to you by Ocean Andrew, Anthony Bouchard and the “Cancel Cheney” movement in the Cowboy State.
Here’s the lesson in this very public meltdown of a once-powerful politician, and its a lesson t hat transcends party lines. Don’t worship idols! Not only is that Levitical Law, its also sound political advice.
Any politician whom you might idolize for whatever reason is only one tell-all article by an angry intern, one inebriated night in the wrong club, one grainy photograph or one perp walk away from that inexorable circling of the drain in which Gaetz now finds himself. This truth is nonpartisan.
Political idols, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream described by the prophet Daniel, have heads, arms, bodies and legs of precious metal. They are shiny and bright, and people are attracted to that glitter. But they have feet of clay – all of them – and they cannot stand. They never do.
Idolizing politicians, no matter how closely they express our own personal political views, is a waste of intellectual energy. Its a crutch that we use so we don’t have to stand on our own two feet. It is listening to talk radio alone, and shouting “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”.
At the very least, we will be bitterly disappointed if we engage in political idolatry.. At the worst, we will invite Matt Gaetz to speak for us.