Untitled, Watercolor, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**

I found curious Individual-1’s opinion about the outcome of the Kentucky Derby, not that he had an opinion and rendered it but that he conflated the concept of political correctness and the basis for Maximum Security’s disqualification—an alleged violation of rules of the race. On further consideration, however, it made perfect sense. Individual-1 revealed from yet another angle the circular argument and twisted rationale behind his lawlessness and history of so-called winning. Equating political incorrectness and violating rules in order to win—some might call that cheating—serves as thin euphemism for his life . . . of crime and corruption. According to Individual-1, the best horse didn’t win.

Individual-1’s equating political correctness with rules-following helps explain his repeated attacks on the concept and argument that rules are for losers. He is correct about the last part, at least as applied to himself: if he followed rules, he couldn't win anything meaningful on the merits. He simply cannot withstand the truth being laid bare so the attempts to cover-up, the obstructions, continue. That's what cheaters and pathological liars do.

In sports, as in most everything else, we want the outcome of contests to be on the merits. A merits-based outcome is assured only if a set of rules exists by which all athletes, including horses and jockeys and teams abide. The meta rule—compliance with the underlying rules that apply to all participants—assures no one obtains an unfair advantage over the other competitors or teams. An outcome on the merits means no one violated the rules of the contest. The winner is, by definition, the best, qualitatively, free of cheating. Maybe just for that moment or on that day. Maybe until a record is broken. Maybe for all time.

What bothers us about sports cheating? Among other things, the outcome simply begs the question and, more significantly, deprives the non-cheaters the reward of their legitimate efforts and recognition.

What bothers us about cheaters? They are liars. They deceive. They break rules. The integrity of the contest or sport is, at best, secondary to cheaters’ selfish interests. They behave as though the rules do not and should not apply to them and in this manner gain unfair advantage over their competitors. Cheaters are willing if not eager to achieve an outcome through deception, manipulation, misrepresentation and fraud.

The appearance of merit is conjured to obscure cheaters’ dearth of skill, preparation, competence and/or authenticity. When caught, they usually deny having cheated or try to excuse or justify their behavior. The unsuccessful cover-up simply exposes the level of corruption and obstruction. By definition, cheaters are never the best, except at cheating, because the outcome was not on the merits. Once exposed, cheaters are often defrocked and sanctioned, the results recalculated and medals redistributed. Some cheaters go to prison.

The metaphor may not play well. Sports is, after all, much more important in our national psyche than politics, and we are much less tolerant of cheating and corruption in sports than in politics. Outliers in cheating, historically, are found in every corner of American politics. At this moment, however, cheaters have overcome their outlier status and are mainstreamed. Led by someone whose life and career are defined by extraordinary cheating, these mainstreamed cheaters now control the mechanisms and institutions established by the meta-rules (Constitution) and the rules themselves (Oaths of Office, Criminal Code, Congressional Oversight) for policing, catching, exposing and sanctioning the cheaters. Their highest virtue is winning and through whatever means necessary. Nothing is of merit except the level, quality and effectiveness of the cheat. And so they undermine and dismantle the mechanisms and institutions designed to root out the rot and thereby protect merits-based governance. In exercising its control of the United States government, the party of Individual-1 is employing transparent cheating of the quality and character the United States has historically criticized in the world’s most corrupt regimes.

Why do cheaters cheat? Because they are unable to withstand a merits-based challenge and unwilling to forgo the spoils of victory. Why does Individual-1 cheat? Because his narcissistically fragile ego can't withstand the idea of losing and he knows he would fail miserably in a merits-based, un-rigged challenge.

Set aside, for the moment, the mass cheating that occurs within American politics.

Set aside, for the moment, cheating via gerrymandering, designed by partisan cheaters to assure elections are not on the merits.

Set aside, for the moment, cheating via voter suppression, designed by partisan cheaters to assure elections are not on the merits.

Set aside, for the moment, the sustained cheating throughout the campaign by lying about . . . everything . . . including the Individual-1 Tower Moscow project, to assure the election was not on the merits.

Set aside, for the moment, the extensive contacts throughout the campaign with Russian operatives, all designed by cheaters to assure the election was not on the merits.

Set aside, for the moment, cheating by enthusiastically encouraging Russia to obtain evidence against his opponent, via illegal means, designed and enthusiastically endorsed by cheaters to assure the election was not on the merits.

Set aside, for the moment, Individual-1’s instructing Cohen to purchase the silence of two women with whom he’d had affairs, a last-minute plan designed by cheaters to assure the election was not on the merits.

Set aside, for the moment, that the American people were cheated out of a merits-based election and certainly a majority-based election.

Set aside, for the moment, Individual-1's ten known attempts to undermine and obstruct the investigation into his cheating.

Set aside, for the moment, that none of Individual-1’s decisions are reliably on the merits because he is unabashedly extrinsic, lacks any capacity for principled thinking, is incapable of cognition outside his fragile ego, is easily manipulated by flattery which he welcomes, is pathologically insecure, sells his office for access and influence, solicits and accepts emoluments from foreign sources, and places his financial interests and ego above the Constitution, citizens and institutions of the United States.

Let’s instead focus on the a priori question of whether our constitutional form of government accommodates Individual-1’s politically incorrect lawlessness, his cheating at everything, his undermining any rule or law that assures merit which we now know this cheater could never attain. The party of Individual-1 is doing everything it can to assure he and the rest of his corrupt gang are not held to account. The party of Individual-1 has become its lowest common denominator, a brazen, transparent cheater. With them, nothing is on the merits except the quality of the cheat. We have been cheated and the party of Individual-1 is doubling down on its cheating in order to obscure just how cheated we are.

*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to and

**Richard’s list of honors, awards and professional associations is extensive. He was Professor Emeritus (Painting and Drawing), Weber State University, having served three Appointments as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts there. He guest-lectured and instructed at many universities and juried numerous shows and exhibitions. He was invited to submit his work as part of many shows and exhibitions, and his work was exhibited in a number of traveling shows domestically and internationally. My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father's work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father's art reproduced in and are hers


Natural US Citizen. Caucasian. Shamed into blogging by DSM-V Cluster B 9/9-led regime, Utah's most embarrassing congressperson, and Newton's Third Law of Motion. The views expressed are mine.

USA, Utah, Salt Lake City


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