After the longest, hardest four years of our lives, the nation finally sheds its biggest most corrupt liar even as we must struggle longer with The Big Lie he leaves behind.
For more than four, grueling years, Donald J. Trump has been a cancerous disease, leaving the country badly injured.
The nation ran out of superlative insults for Trump even before he was sworn into office and immediately lied about how many people came to cheer that sad and ominous event.
Today, however, Trump returns to his previous career as just another loud-mouth New Yorker in Palm Beach.
It’s too soon to feel anything like relief. The assault on truth, democracy, decency, free press and humanity was too severe and for too long.
In his wake, Trump leaves the greatest nation on Earth staggered. Never has the United States faced such a horrific and destructive foe — from inside the government. Trump’s relentless mendacity and mediocrity created a stunning catalogue of chaos and crime.
Even after inflicting waves of racism, intolerance, enmity, corruption, xenophobia and fascism across the map, Trump was able to top even himself in the waning days of his chaotic term.
Trump incited a ferocious attack on the nation that will enjoy the same infamy as Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11.
In his failed attempt at dictatorship, he leaves a nation trembling.
No, it’s too soon to simply be relieved that, without the ability to fill the twitterverse with his provocative lies, he will fade to become just another anomaly in the world’s journey to self-government.
Mostly, it’s too soon because Trump leaves behind hundreds of elected officials elevated to their posts by the same voters who bought into, ignored or were attracted to Trump’s vile scams and schemes.
In Colorado, Trump leaves behind cheering devotees like GOP congresspersons Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn. Lamborn and Buck weren’t just fearful sycophants, like so many of the president’s Republican officials were. Many admitted to be sniveling cowards, looking the other way during Trump’s atrocities, terrified he would point his angry Twitter feed at them, and draw the wrath of the rogue Make America First base.
No, these three members of Congress passionately believe in gun worship, eliminating women’s reproductive rights, crushing immigrants, isolating the nation, destroying the Affordable Care Act, undermining truth and the free press, risking the planet by ignoring global warming and worst of all, promoting The Big Lie. Each of these members of Congress tacitly or passionately promoted Trump’s scheme to undermine the election and have congressional Republicans declare him president by lying about election fraud.
That’s what Trump leaves behind in his wake of four years of hammering destruction, an atrocity founded on one thing above all: lying.
As a testament to the nation he worked so hard to destroy, he didn’t.
For generations, scholars and just bystanders like me will try to understand one of the world’s greatest mysteries. How did a man who should have been jailed long before he took his infamous ride down a NYC escalator become a corrupt and foul president, deeply admired and lauded by millions of Americans?
While theories have abounded for years, we may never know how America came so close to suffering the fate of the Germans, bamboozled and destroyed by the fascists of the day.
There’s no time yet to feel solace that our form of government makes Trump just another citizen today because we must fight against other demagogues installed in our government. With loud voices in the halls of congress and across the airwaves, they will continue to promote the Trump brand of fascism even as new President Joe Biden rolls up his sleeves to do battle against it.
Thousands die every week still, in a large part from mismanagement of the pandemic. Homelessness rages through the nation like the virus. Racism, inflamed by Trump, ruins lives every day. Millions teeter on the edge of financial ruin. Our very existence is threatened by a changing climate crisis that Trump shrunk from.
There will be no easy answers. Reporters will have to work harder than ever to provide accurate, truthful accounts of the day. All of us will have to vociferously call out the delusional and savage lies that Trump’s fabulists continue to post, paste and promote, even as you read this.
Our hope is that the super-majority of Americans still believe in what was used to battle against Trump from the beginning: kindness, decency, honesty, equity, fairness and freedom.
Those are the touchstones we all must use to judge Biden, his detractors, each other and ourselves. Those American qualities are what allowed us to overcome Trump and his abuses. Those standards will help us get past them.
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