Remember your eighth-grade civics class? You learned what a democracy is — a government run by the people. You learned what a republic is — a government that uses representatives to express the will of those people. And while we can make nuanced arguments about the effectiveness of our systems and institutions, or the original intent behind them, the fact remains that the United States is a republican democracy.
Well, America, you almost lost both of them. And just because Trump has slunk off to Mar-a-Lago, don’t think you can rest easy. It’s not over.
Four years. That’s all it took to go from a stable government to a shaky, uncertain government. An insurrectionist mob of angry Whites storming its capitol to undermine a legal election showed how fragile the government is. …
It took a simple gesture to begin leading the nation out of the Trump years — the lighting of two double rows of lights along the reflecting pool in front of Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The gesture was simple, but at once also grand and poignant. It marked the first time — the first time — that an American leader had conducted a memorial honoring the victims of Covid-19. The 400 lights symbolized the 400,000 Americans who had died at the time of the ceremony.
Donald Trump never acknowledged Covid’s victims. He first played down the severity of coronavirus, then insisted that official Covid statistics were inflated. …
Donald Trump went to Alamo, Texas, on January 12. Not the Alamo in San Antonio, but a small town on the Rio Grande named Alamo.
He went there to inspect a little bit of border wall that his administration built. But, as his niece Mary Trump posits, he hopes people will associate Alamo, Texas, with the Alamo and then cross-associate the mythology and iconography of that battle site with his own “America First” political stance.
In truth, Trump was trying to deflect national attention away from the Trump Capitol insurrection of January 6 and a brewing second impeachment in the House of Representatives. …
The man strides unopposed through the United States Capitol during the Trumpist insurrection on January 6. Over his left shoulder is a Confederate battle flag tacked to a dowel rod.
Behind him are depictions of three politicians who are intertwined in the story of American racism — one who championed slavery and Southern secession, another who vehemently opposed slavery, and a third who manipulated racism to gain the presidency.
It is one of those quirks in the flow of history — a historical convergence, perhaps — that brought these elements together on the day of the coup attempt. Reuters photographer Mike Theiler captured this image, which to me is destined to become one of the classic images of history, much like Robert Capa’s from D-Day, or Nick Ut’s photo of Phan Thị Kim Phúc from the Vietnam War. …
Last year about this time I wrote a prediction for 2020: Donald Trump would win reelection. I cringed just writing it. I was deathly afraid of being right.
I based my prediction on simple incumbency advantage, rabid Trumpism, and huge dose of pessimism.
Of course, none of us regular folks had heard of COVID-19 when I wrote that. The ensuing pandemic changed everything.
You know the story. Trump denied, blamed, lied, and obfuscated about the virus. He turned it into a political weapon. Mask wearing became unpatriotic, so did peaceful protesting.
There were any number of moments in 2020 where Trump could have turned it around for himself. …
This article is low-hanging fruit; a soft-target; easy pickings. Nevertheless, I persist, and I’m writing it anyway.
My thesis is simple: every member of Congress must read A Christmas Carol before they are seated in either the House or Senate. Then, they have to get booster shots of the Dickens classic once a year and prove that they have learned the lessons which the spirits have taught Ebenezer Scrooge. In addition, their records of bill sponsorship and voting must show that they “honor Christmas in [their] hearts, and try to keep it all the year.”
Don’t get all bent out of shape. I know that there are non-Christian members of Congress. But you get the general point, and so would they if they read this. Caring for the general welfare of mankind is not the province of a single religion. …
Columnist Joseph Epstein opined in the Wall Street Journal Saturday that Jill Biden should drop the “Dr.” before her name. “ ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic,” Epstein wrote.
The only thing that’s a “touch comic” here is that Epstein had the nerve to write such tripe. He even mixed it with old-school sexism by addressing Dr. Biden as “Madame First Lady — Mrs. Biden — Jill — kiddo.”
Doug Emhoff, the incoming “second gentleman,” responded to Epstein’s article that “Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. …
The photo above is a model of presidential courtesy, professionalism, and succession protocol. Outgoing President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden congratulating incoming President Donald Trump at his inauguration in 2017.
We know what those men thought of Trump and his ability to assume the presidency. We know how hard they had fought to put Hillary Clinton in the office instead. We know how fearful they were that the democracy was now in dangerous hands.
And yet, there they were, congratulating a man they distrusted.
They were there because it’s an American tradition. The peaceful, respectful, even hopeful transition of presidential power is a hallmark of the American experience. It’s not mandated. It’s not in the Constitution. But it is customary. It’s a symbol of democracy’s flexibility and acknowledgement that we have to work together for progress. …
President-elect Joe Biden slipped while playing with one of his German Shepherds, Major, on Sunday, twisting his ankle and suffering hairline fractures in his right foot. Docs say he will probably have to wear a walking boot for several weeks.
I know his foot will ache for a while, and the walking boot will be an annoyance, but Biden’s dog-playing incident gives me hope.
I mean, think about it. The president-elect was playing with his dog!
And that means we’ve got a dog-loving family going back to the White House. …
Erich Ludendorff birthed the “stab-in-the-back” myth. Adolf Hitler perfected it. Donald Trump is resurrecting it.
Trump lost the presidential election of 2020; Joe Biden won it.
But in the three weeks since the election, Trump has refused to admit his defeat, and he has dispatched a legion of sycophantic attorneys and surrogates to peddle the myth that he would have won reelection if not for traitorous Democrats and local election officials in battleground states.
He’s saying that he was stabbed in the back, and his followers believe him.
Trump knows he lost. And he will leave office on January 20, 2021. But he wants to cast doubt on the election results and emerge as a martyr for his millions of supporters. Whether he goes on to become some right-wing media mogul or disappears into the pantheon of political has-beens, Trump is just trying to salve his battered ego. …