A National Shame

After four years of chaos, conflict and dysfunction, the devolvement of the “Grand Ole Party” into an anti-American, obstructionist party of conspiracy theorists, kooks and angry losers and suffering a pandemic raging seriously out of control with 4,000 dying daily and a body count of over 350,000 dead Americans, it’s long past time to stop and reflect as to just how we came this far while supporting the crippling baggage of 71 million Trumpers, the unnecessary dead weight of misinformed believers in a criminally insane and corrupt showman, a Machiavellian media-master huckster.  Our faith in the protection offered by the ingeniously constructed system of “checks and balances,” a constitutional gift of our founding fathers, was misplaced.  They could not have predicted the circumstances we would find ourselves in today.  It signals that a revision is long overdue.

In the period leading up to the 2016 election, Americans were deeply unhappy with the lack of positive movement on the part of our self-serving leaders.  A system so deeply reliant on deal-making was brought to a standstill by the opposing forces of “checks and balances” under the sway of big money lobbies.  It seemed to the electorate that what was needed was a leader expert in the “art of the deal,” a successful businessman who knew how to get things done and in the process “drain the swamp.” Yes, if deal-making was the order of the day, we just needed the very best deal-maker.  Seemed simple enough.

Ill-equipped to vet such a leader, the true nature of Trump’s “successes” remained a secret, hidden by lies and false promises that lay veneered under an overt bravado that humiliated any and all opponents with comical slurs and hateful fictionalized stories questioning their  right to govern, all presented like a stand-up comic before a stadium crowd.  It was in every sense of the word “singing to the choir.”  He was expressing that which was deep within all of us at that time, perhaps even voicing the same names we screamed at our big-screen from the comfort of our Barco-Loungers, angry epitaphs of discontent. He assumed the angry voice of our own inner selves and had enough of us believing that he WAS us.  “Finally, somebody who agrees with me,” we thought.  How very wrong we were.

As we cheered him on through the primary process, the other eighteen GOP candidates fell one by one, the victims of their own idiocy, incompetence, failed record or inability to ward off the laughable insults and snide comments spewed relentlessly each night in the news, effectively heralding candidate Trump as the new “Jack the Giant Killer.”  It was about time somebody kicked their pathetic, slow-witted asses.  Yet, in all the time since, the irony of these events has been lost on the voters that carried Trump to office.  Those very same opponents who he cold-heartedly decimated were cheerily swept back into his administration or tasked as legislative puppets currying favor for a place at his trough. It would take four years before we fully realized the enormity of his accomplishment.  He had built a following of 71 million devout lemmings, an unusual mix of naive disciples and hardened ner-do-wells. Well-meaning, right-wing, religious fanatics partnered with the vilest elements of our society–racists, anti-Semites, Nazis, the KKK, the Proud Boys, and every variety of hate group protected by our freedoms—to form the coalition of Trump’s base, dedicated and unwavering followers blinded by their own desire to win at any cost.  Hillary was only partially correct referring to them as the “deplorables,” for to be certain there was more than an unequal share of them in the mix lurking just below the surface of conservatism.  These were the low-hanging fruit, easy pickings for a shape-shifting trickster, impossible for a candidate with rigid values accustomed to playing by the rules and trained like soldiers in a regular army, were unable to win a guerilla style war, mired knee deep in an unfamiliar swamp on enemy turf.
On January 6th, the inevitable happened.  A riotous mob of supporters incited into action by Trump, Don Junior, and Rudy Giuliani, stormed the capital building, broke in, ransacked and vandalized offices, stole property, killed a capital security guard and a sent both houses of congress into spasms of fear, locked down behind a shallow balcony wall wearing plastic-bag gas masks. Five people died that day in the attack.

What should we have expected from the same man who stole babies from their mothers, who deported them without their children, mothers who he punished by keeping their children caged in the United States, a man who attacked war heroes, gold star families, Mexicans, ethnic judges, journalists, the Pope, the disabled and even our allies among the many, while having love affairs with dictators and murderous autocratic leaders, a self-styled misogynist and admitted philanderer, a documented liar of gargantuan proportions, in short a person wholly unfit for office? Don’t say you didn’t know.  If you count yourself among those 71 million who embraced him, or even who just looked the other way, you are as responsible as he is. Re-uniting this nation will not absolve you of your shame.

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