David Treadwell

David Treadwell

Trouble, Oh we got trouble, Right here in River City! With a capital “T” That rhymes with “P And that stands for Pool.

In “The Music Man,” the charming rascal Harold Hill whips the unsuspecting townspeople into a frenzy of fear. He’s trying to get them to buy instruments and uniforms for a band to “keep the young ones moral after school.” His message? Just listen to me, and I’ll make everything all right. One small hitch: He plans to pocket the money and leave town.

In the race for the GOP presidential nomination, the brash businessman Donald Trump is singing the same tune, but with different words. To wit: “America is no longer great. Everybody’s taking advantage of us. We need to build a big wall and keep everybody out. Especially people of different colors. I know what I’m doing. Vote for me and America will be great again. Everybody will win. Don’t ask questions. Just trust me.”

Harold Hill changed his ways because Marian, the town librarian, saw right through him.

Donald Trump hasn’t met his Marian yet, although he has managed to lure a series of comely young women into his revolving door marital suite. Rather, he hires teams of lawyers to settle lawsuits and move on to the next big deal. And, based on his shenanigans in the GOP political campaign, he hasn’t changed his ways.

Ask former students of “Trump University” how they fared after succumbing to the Donald’s pitch which was, in essence, “Invest in my real estate and investment strategy course and I’ll make you rich, just like me.” One small hitch. According to a class action lawsuit Trump University violated federal racketeering law. The suit claims that up to 5,000 students paid up to $35,000 each to learn the Donald’s successful ways and emerged with little — or nothing — to show for it. The University has closed down, and the suit is now working its way through the courts. Oh, and don’t forget that four of Trump’s businesses have filed for bankruptcy.

Ask former members of the Trump National Jupiter golf resort in Florida what they think about the Donald’s business ethics. A Feb. 27 article in the New York Times does just that. And the conclusion shines a bad light on Trump. “What was taking place in Jupiter was an essential part of Trump’s modus operandi. He is notorious for refusing to pay full price to contractors and vendors after they’ve completed work for him. And he basically dares the people he has stiffed to sue him, knowing that his deep pockets and bevy of lawyers give him a big advantage over those who feel wronged by him.”

In fairness, millions of gullible Americans have been duped by the charms of amoral rogues over the years. Remember Jim and Tammy Bakker, the slick televangelists whose empire was brought down by a sex scandal? Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart suffered a similar fate. Jim Jones convinced members of his faithful flock to drink Kool Aid laced with cyanide poisoning. Remember the Enron scandal? Does the name Bernie Madoff ring a bell? The beat goes on. Joel Osteen, the prosperity gospel preacher of a Houston mega-church, celebrates God’s blessings — and a sumptuous lifestyle — with a net worth over $50 million.

Sadly, too many people would rather believe the slick promises of a charismatic leader than think for themselves. It’s easier that way. And besides, if so many other people follow this guy, how could I be wrong? Jump on the bandwagon. Let the good times roll! On the other hand, if history is a guide, maybe not.

Well, America,

We got trouble right here

With a capital “T”

And it rhymes with chump.

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David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary or suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns at [email protected]