Pro-Trump conference unveiled a tacky 'golden calf' statue of him and the memes are priceless
via @jharrisfour / Twitter

The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicked off in Orlando, Florida on Friday. It's three days of panels and speakers with former President Donald Trump delivering the keynote speech on Sunday night.

It's believed that during the speech Trump will declare himself the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 nomination.

So far, the event has made headlines for a speech by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who tried his hand at stand-up comedy. "I've got to say, Orlando is awesome," Cruz told the cheering crowd. "It's not as nice as Cancun. But it's nice."



It was also marked by anti-mask protests. Early on Friday organizers were booed and met with chants of "Freedom!" when they asked that attendees abide by the Hyatt's policies and wear masks.

"I know this might sound like a little bit of a downer, but we also believe in property rights, and this is a private hotel," said Dan Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC. "And we believe in the rule of law, so we need to comply with the laws of this county that we're in. But a private hotel, just like your house, gets to set its own rules."

But the image that best sums up the conference, and the state of the Republican party in 2021, was the unveiling of a massive golden Donald Trump statue featured in one of the ballrooms. The golden statue depicts Trump in a suit with his trademark red tie, American flag swimsuit, and sandals. Classy.

Many have said the Republican Party has essentially become a cult of personality revolving around Trump over the past four years. But spelling it out with a golden idol of the man really puts a button on things.

According to a January poll, 74% of Republicans want Trump to stay active in the party in some way, including 48% who want him to remain its head.

It's amazing that he still garners such support after being impeached for the second time for inciting a violent mob that ransacked the Capitol building. Clearly, these people favor party over country.

The blind loyalty is also questionable being that even though he won the presidency in 2016, over the next four years, the GOP would lose the House, Senate, and the presidency.

After the insurgency at the Capitol building over 30,000 U.S. voters who were registered as Republicans changed their party affiliation.

The image of the golden Trump also drew many comparisons to the biblical story of the Golden Calf.

As the parable goes, the Israelites lost faith in Moses when he left them for 40 days and 40 nights. So, they pooled their gold to create a golden calf to worship. When Moses returned to the group, he burnt the golden calf in a fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on water, and forced the Israelites to drink it.

Could it be that the Republicans lost their faith in their beliefs and, instead, were led astray by the Golden Calf that is Trump?












Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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