I remember exactly how I felt four years ago, watching Donald Trump’s inauguration, and listening to his speech. A sense of foreboding. Disbelief. Fear of the unknown. That this guy is going to guide the U.S. to some dark places, and he may well take Canada and much of the rest of the world with him. Barack Obama was probably having similar thoughts when he penned his outgoing letter to Trump. In it, he wrote, “… we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them.”
In Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, there is a song called “Goodbye Blue Sky” – and if you watch the video of the song (taken from the movie), it conveys it well… you only need to watch the first 30 seconds… where things go from sunny and happy and hopeful… to darkness. The symbolism is not subtle; it’s blunt, like a sledgehammer to the gut. Trump did indeed take many things in the wrong direction, but at least he didn’t take the planet down with him. He left his country in tatters, from which it’ll certainly rebuild… and now, at least, it can begin. There was a big sigh of relief when noon EST came and went. It’s done.
Biden’s inaugural speech was the polar opposite of what was spoken four years ago; he preached unity, understanding, dignity, tolerance, respect. He faced-up to the challenges ahead. He alluded to the mess he inherits. We shall see. Talk is cheap, and his actions will speak louder than his words… but in my opinion, he offers for the U.S. something that’s been sorely lacking for the last four years… leadership.
I’d never intended to write so much about Donald Trump, but I started writing this blog exclusively because of the pandemic, and what became glaringly obvious very quickly was his brutal mishandling of it… and, along with that, his brutal mishanding of so much else.
I was asked this morning… come on, name at least a few good things Trump did in power. Sure, there are a few… he didn’t start any wars, and the middle east is on a potential path to a more lasting peace. Those who support his policies would argue that the reshaping of the federal judiciary is an achievement. Same with his tax reform. Space Force sounds like a joke, but it actually isn’t. But ultimately, whatever could be called a positive achievement is far overshadowed by the negative. There’s one other achievement, and it’s hard to label it positive or negative; his raging divisiveness served to rip off a huge, ratty band-aid that had been hiding a wound that’s been festering in the country since its inception… the deep, ugly gash of inequality. A lot of issues have been brought to light, and a lot of people (myself among them) are now far more familiar with systemic issues that have been plaguing American society for years. Decades. Centuries.
By now, you’re probably pretty sick and tired of hearing about Trump. It was engaging before he was elected, interesting early-on in his presidency… but grew tiring, repetitive and frustrating as time went on. Four years was more than enough. Four hundred thousand Covid deaths (not all – but certainly a significant amount, his fault). While we’re keeping score… 22,000 lies… about 15 per day of his presidency. 150 rounds of golf (one every 10 days). 127 days at Mar-a-Lago. Two impeachments. Two popular-vote losses. I can’t attach a number to the lawsuits that await him, but they will deservedly hound him for the rest of his life. It’s sad that his brainless followers will be the ones footing the legal bills, but the thought that he and perhaps some family members may be facing prison time… there are some sleepless nights ahead. I’m sure Mar-a-Lago has 24-hour room service; one burnt-to-a-crisp steak with ketchup coming right up, sir.
I’m looking forward to writing about other things. Trump mattered when he could actually do something: Mandate a federal mask policy. Set an example. Say something meaningful to his 70 million Twitter followers. He didn’t do any of that, and now he can’t. Now he’s just a two-time loser… silenced, and facing an unknown future… but now his problems (and lack of ability in solving them) are largely his issue; not his country’s, not this country’s… and, certainly… not mine. Moving on.
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