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The Elbert Files: Life imitates art

T 8.Sculpture
The sculpture T-8 by Mark di Suvero, at the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Photo by Dave Elbert

My friend K.C. was at the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, lying on his back and looking nearly straight up from beneath artist Mark di Suvero’s T-8 steel I-beam sculpture.

“What are you looking at?” I asked.

As he stood up, K.C. said, “I was just thinking about how life imitates art. 

“These twisted I-beams give new meaning to the Republican race for president.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well,” he replied, “you see all these steel beams, and how they start out from different directions and angles; then, they all come together here in the center where they twist around and get knotted up before they shoot off in different directions. The artist was trying to show how damage to the human spinal column impacts nerves inside the column.

“But the beams can also represent Republican candidates,” he said.

“Which is Trump?” I asked.

“He’s the one that starts over here and then does all the twisting around when it gets to the center. He’s the one tying knots around the other candidates.” 

“Which is DeSantis?” I asked.

“He’s this one,” K.C. said, touching a beam that squeezes under the twisted mess and shoots off at a low angle toward the horizon.

“This could be Nikki Haley or Rick Scott,” he said, touching another low-angle beam that glances off the twisted mess in the center.

“Obviously,” K.C. continued, “there’s not enough beams to represent all the candidates. There are 10 Republicans in the race now and half a dozen more waiting in the wings.”

“Yes,” I said, “but what about the beam in the center? The one that pretty much shoots straight up right through the mess in the middle and keeps going.” 

“That could be Chris Christie, or Asa Hutchinson,” he said. “They’re the only Republicans who are not afraid of Trump.

“Right now,” he added, “neither seems to have a chance. But that could all change now that Trump is indicted and none of the others are willing to call him out.”

“I like Christie,” I said. “He’s the only one with a sense of humor. But he’s not even running in Iowa. His announcement barely got any notice here.” 

“Christie is using the John McCain strategy,” K.C. said. “Ignore Iowa and put all your chips on New Hampshire. 

“It worked for McCain in 2008. He didn’t campaign in Iowa, but he won New Hampshire and went on to win the Republican nomination, before he fumbled the general election to Obama.

“Think about it,” he said. “Why would Christie want to come to Iowa, where Republicans are afraid to call out Trump for being a bully, a sexist and not too bright, and where every candidate has to take the ethanol pledge?

“Christie is a realist who knows that both ethanol and Trump are in the past. Neither are good for the future. 

“Christie and Hutchinson are the only ones holding Trump’s feet to the fire on all the crazy, bad stuff he’s done,” K.C. said.

“None of the other Republicans have the moral fiber to call out Trump for what he is.”

“And what is that?” I asked.

“He wants to be a dictator,” K.C said. “His role models are Putin and Saudi leaders. He even poses like Mussolini and Hitler – defiant jaw in the air and looking like he’s the only one who has the answers.

“His only answer to any question is ‘me, me, me.’ 

“Have you read the indictment for his handling of top-secret documents?” K.C. asked.

“It’s devastating,” he continued before I could answer. 

“The only Republican candidates who see the indictment for what it is are Christie and  Hutchinson. Both are former federal prosecutors. Christie even put the father of Trump’s son-in-law in jail. 

“Good prosecutors know trouble when they see it, and Trump is in it deep.

“It’s like this sculpture,” K.C. said.

“The only path for Republican success now is to go right through Trump, like this center I-beam does,” he said as he walked away.

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The view of T-8 that inspired K.C.’s musings. Photo by Dave Elbert


Dave Elbert

Dave Elbert is a columnist for Business Record.

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