Exactly four years ago today I posted a rare political rant about the extreme wave of anxiety that washed over me with the realization that it was Obama’s last day as President of the United States of America – and that the joker Donald Trump was going to take over. It was a panicky outburst full of caps and italics that is uncharacteristic of what I usually produce for my blog. Laden with swear words, calling out the people I held responsible (millennial non-voters, pundits who put Hillary Clinton up so high in the polls), it encapsulated the fear and shame of that moment and what was to come.
That fear and shame never left. For four of the longest years of my life, Trump went on to prove that he was in fact worse than anyone could have imagined. The small thought in my head that Trump would turn out to have swindled Republican voters and that actually he was only interested in his own monetary fortunes and so he would try to keep a semblance of the current world order so that he could continue to profit was extinguished almost immediately. Each time we thought he could not sink any lower, that’s exactly what he did. He broke precedents. He broke rules. He broke the law. He started a fucking coup!
We anti-Trumps had our hopes in Mueller. That didn’t pan out. Then he got impeached but Republicans made sure that didn’t go anywhere either – they suckled at his populist teat. We watched helplessly as he stacked the Supreme Court with conservative judges who will be able to roll back the hard-fought rights of millions of Americans. Then we watched as the coronavirus infected America while Trump stood by, and then did his best to interfere in any coordinated response. He ended by soliciting a violent mob of white supremacists to attack our government – anything to keep the attention on himself.
All of that attention. Every single day for the past four years opening up The New York Times was an exercise in sadomasochism. Trump owned the headlines like he owned bankrupt casinos. Whenever there was a decision to be made you could count on Trump to make the wrong one. It was like he was trying to be the worst President in the history of the United States. His Twitter feed was a torrent of hypocrisy – he held all sides of any argument at any given time. His megalomania was annoying when he was a reality TV star, but we saw just how dangerous it was in a position of power. Hundreds of thousands of American lives lost unnecessarily to covid-19 is proof enough that Trump was anything but a leader. He was a complete and utter failure, a balloon buoyed by ignorance and bombast that only sought to keep itself afloat.
As I write this I am watching Trump get on the Presidential helicopter for the last time. He is finally leaving the White House. It is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen – until a few hours from now when Biden and Harris are sworn in.
The Trump threat is not over. The extreme right and the over 100 Republican congresspeople that did not vote to support the election results need to be dealt with. The mobsters who broke into the Capitol with intent to kidnap and kill should be treated as terrorists. The politicians who egged them on and opposed the legitimate, peaceful transition of power should be removed from Congress and barred from ever holding office again.
But right now the nightmare is finally over, and while the dawn to which we wake may not immediately be brighter, it is not simply a new day, it is a new era.
God bless the United States of America.