05:37:57 pm on
Saturday 25 May 2019

The Matryoshka Doll
AJ Robinson

The Case of the Matryoshka Dolls almost sounds like an episode title for a mystery television show. I remember the Perry Mason show, in the 1960s, always had interesting titles. There was one called The Case of the Weary Watchdog.

► Toy or brick-a-bract.

More’s the pity; this is not a piece of fiction. I was a young child when I first saw one of those dolls. I didn’t know what was it, a toy or a piece of bric-a-brac.

After all, it was, at first look, a solid piece of wood. In fact, images of George Washington adorned the Matryoshka doll I saw. My grandmother gave it to me.

I cocked my head, my brow wrinkled. I was mystified as to what I was supposed to do with it. My grandmother showed me.

We popped it open together, my grandmother and I. Inside was another, smaller doll that looked like President Lincoln; I saw it was in two pieces. The two pieces were unaligned, unlike the first one.

I immediately set to getting it open. Inside the Lincoln doll I found Teddy Roosevelt, then his cousin Franklin, then Truman, Eisenhower and, finally, President Kennedy. I didn’t see the connections. My grandmother explained how the artist who made them considered those presidents the best in our history. Ah well, to each their own, I guess.

I thought of those dolls, recently, when I saw the news report of Paul Manafort and his prison sentence. I’m not going to argue that he got off light. I think that’s pretty much a given.

► Rich, white male law.

I did see it coming, though. He’s a rich white male appearing before a rich white male judge and so he received the sentence of a rich white man. This is pathetic when compared to what anyone else would get. We can only hope he gets a stiffer sentence from the Washington DC judge he’ll face this week. [Ed. DC judge increased his mandatory prison time to 7.5 years.]

No, my reason for mentioning him is the same reason I’m thinking of Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and several other people who all have two things in common. One, they’re criminals that have been found guilty of various criminal acts, many connected with Russia. Two, they’re all associates of Donald Trump.

Let’s consider those facts for a moment. I’ll grant you that it’s not fair to use the old guilt-by-association routine. Yet, it’s important to note that the company we keep largely defines us, especially in the eyes of others.

All these people are under investigation, as are others. They worked at illegal activities at the behest of Donald Trump. Are we supposed to believe, for one second, he didn’t know of at least some of their actions?

Now, again, let me be precise here, I am not bringing up the C-word, collusion. Hey, as far as I know, maybe Trump is telling the truth, which would be a first, when he says that he did not collude with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Even putting that aside, there are more than enough violations of state and federal laws to put all of these people away for years.

With all of that in mind, I have a hard time believing that Trump is not the tiny doll at the center of this criminal Matryoshka. The Trump doll includes Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. We know of these Don’s Cons, so far.

► Don’t bet there aren’t more to come.

Only time will reveal the truth. I’d be willing to bet that’s the case. The big question is will the media, the courts and the voters do anything regarding it. Now, that’s something I’m not willing to bet.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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