For the longest time I have been unable to write. I have seen so much happening in this country – our country – and it has been mind-boggling, scary, and maddening. We have had a president who has been intent on destroying this democracy – flawed as it is. We have had a president who has stoked racism in the most vile ways, and who has turned his head when white nationalists have perpetrated violence while calling peaceful protesters “thugs.”
We have had a president who has had his finger in every aspect, every institution, every level of government. Nothing happened without his face and his voice. We watched him dismantle regulatory laws aimed at protecting the environment (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/climate/trump-environment-rollbacks-list.html). We watched him minimize the coronavirus as it began to rear its ugly head in this country, falsely assuring people that the hoopla swirling around it was overdone and that claims of the virus being of pandemic proportions were no more than a hoax. (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-calls-coronavirus-democrats-new-hoax-n1145721). He dissuaded people to wear masks, politicizing the call for mask-wearing to such an extent that mass gatherings were called, it seemed, primarily to give a finger to those who were saying masks were necessary. (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-says-i-don-t-agree-cdc-director-s-mask-n1234253) He got on national television and frequently upended the advice and direction given to the American public by the Centers for Disease Control and public health officials who were giving instructions to Americans that, if followed, would have curtailed much of the death and suffering this nation has suffered. Who can ever forget his suggestion that putting bleach in one’s body might help kill the virus – nodding toward Dr. Deborah Birx to show people her approval of the suggestion, and also pushing hydroxychloroquine as a sure cure? (https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/)
There is so much that I watched and listened to, things that he said and did and the reaction and support of the same by his over 70 million followers. In spite of many reports that said his supporters were primarily white and uneducated, the facts belied those hypotheses. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/06/05/its-time-to-bust-the-myth-most-trump-voters-were-not-working-class/).
When President-elect Joe Biden won the election in November, I thought the craziness would die down, that “we the people” would get a chance to breathe and inhale hope for the first time in four years, but instead, the president threw us into yet more turmoil, claiming that the election had been stolen and working to undo the results of the election – over and over again. I cringed as I realized that his racism was driving his determination to undo what legitimately registered voters had done – voted. I cringed as I saw his appointee to head the United States Post Office work to delegitimize post offices all over the country in an attempt to thwart mail-in voting, resorted to because of COVID-19. (https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2020/08/31/usps-mailbox-removals-drew-ire-trump-attacked-mail-ballots/3442736001/)
The nation – some of it – cringed as he called violent white nationals “very fine people;” we cringed as he criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and characterized athletes who chose to protest violence meted out to black people by white police officers as “thugs.” (https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article216495165.html) (https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/07/17/donald-trump-long-losing-war-with-the-nfl-366000)
Thinking about this president’s name-calling, his attacks on the American political system, his racism and Xenophobia, his mishandling of the pandemic – and so much more – still brings forth painful emotions. This country has been badly damaged – its principles and its institutions, and this president is still pulling a wrecking ball through all that we have ever known. It is not clear – yet – what he and his friends are planning on January 6. He has had too much time to brood and to plan ways to completely destroy American democracy. When people say that he is president only until January 20, I cringe because he is definitely planning to make that statement a lie. He is not concerned with the state of this country – the growing poverty, the numbers of people dying from COVID-19, the numbers of people whose unemployment benefits have run out and the possibility of the government shutting down this week – all because the wealth and the privileged of this wealthy, white man has caused him to be so spiritually sick that he cannot even talk about the plight of the people who live in the country he claims to love.
I will be glad when he has left office. Physically, he will be gone – but politically, he has blown a cloud of misanthropy, racism, sexism, and so much more – that will take a long time to dissipate, if ever. We have a lot of work to do. People keep saying that what has pushed through American political soil is “not who we are.” They are wrong. What this president has done is exposed is exactly who we are, and that’s why our work is just beginning. This president has shown us what we must do in order for this country to survive as a democracy.
A candid observation …