It takes a pine tree about 30 years to grow from seed to maturity. A single mature pine can be processed into up to 20,000 sheets of paper, which can be used to make books, newspapers, and magazines printed with all manner of literature. The tree has no control over what kind; one pine might be turned into, say, a marked-up keepsake copy of Middlemarch, and another tree just like it could be turned into the ghostwritten memoir of a girl power lifestyle influencer that will serve as a White Claw coaster until the dog chews it up.
But few paper tree fates are as undignified as that which awaits those that hit printing presses at the same time that a former Trump sycophant is launching a rehab tour. Imagine being a tree your whole life, and then having your afterlife devoted to insisting that some former government official’s tepid imaginary resistance to President Trump was actually a form of bravery that saved America. The indignity. Maybe that’s what happens to the bad trees.
The latest Trump contemporary on a mission to inform America that he is the real hero of the Trump era is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, a regular Big Bad John down in the mine holding up the joists so all of the miners can run out, at least as people familiar with his thinking put it. You may remember General Milley from that photo taken the day that President Trump had law enforcement use tear gas to clear protesters from Lafayette Square, so that the president could pose next to a church and hold a Bible aloft like it was a fish he’d caught on vacation. Milley was with him that day, dressed like a GI Joe side character and wearing a face so self-serious it made him appear to be suffering from constipation.