I was hoping that, as of Nov. 3, I'd have nothing left to write about—at least for a while. Think again!
Responding to the 2016 Trump election and the disaster that followed have been an endless chore—not just for me, but for all the journalists who have tried to make sense of the madness. If Trump doesn't just fade away into the closet of discarded fads, he will likely be remembered, not for any significant accomplishment, but for the damage he's done to our country, and particularly to the watchdog-of-society media and its members.
The election should have been a distinct turning point, but it's now feeling like a "B" horror show as new tentacles emerge. Trump's delusions, after all, are the substance of his existence. As a world-class failure, he cannot accept that America's voice has been heard. There is no way to change the stripes of a born loser. He will always lash out at those who unseated him, assigning blame to anyone who chooses to see things in a realistic way while longing for the one thing denied to him: Respect. Oh, yes; I'm sure of it: For himself, he has only a deep, narcissistic loathing and that's what has forced him to be the loud, fictional superlative of virtually everything.
Trump is unable to think outside his own box—one that allows him to live in an alternative reality. It shouldn't be happening this way; the 2020 election—even in early vote computations—gave Biden the win. The hope was for a peaceful, non-combative transition—one that after a staggering four years of chaos would give way to the sense of security coming from electing a non-maniacal leader. If you hoped for that—as most of us did—you were disappointed. What we're seeing now is a case of the corpse fighting off the grave diggers and slashing out at the gawking masses who've come to see the interment. Luckily, corpses never win. Trump's heyday is over.
Despite his noisy, last-stand fracas, Jan. 20 will show us the north end of the south-facing horse. Perhaps kicking and screaming, Trump will depart the White House for the real world. While most Americans will revel in that particular view of him, there will be those saddened that America's self-declared greatest-president-ever is gone. Much of that sadness will come from the relative absence of daily disasters and dishonest words—those Tweets and press conferences that continually stimulated our perverse appetites and skewed collective consciousness during the Trump term. After all, Americans have gotten used to viewing their daily POTUS sitcom—a "normal" president just won't measure up to the daily White House disasters that have enlivened our days since Donald hijacked the Republican Party.
People love bad news. The lust for the bad and bizarre has kept trash-periodicals in business for years. Trump has never let us down, providing a Photoshopped image to his puppy-dog press, while deluging responsible media with his reliably disgusting behavior.
Trump also hasn't let his troop of sycophants down; he is desperately trying, by hook or by crook, to invalidate the legitimate voice of the people. In the absence of any gratifying outcome, he is fully committed to making sure the new president is beaten to a pulp before he can salvage the nation from the damage of the Trump reign.
Despite his generally offensive personal qualities—including the shit show that happens every time he opens his mouth—there will be those who believe he was, as he has bragged hundreds of times, the most amazing leader in the history of our world.
In reality, most Americans do consider the man—and his tenure as president—amazing: amazing that he ever became our president in the first place; amazing that any world leader could be so offensive, foul and obnoxious; amazing that he could have failed so miserably and thoroughly in his business dealings; amazing that any president could be so utterly devoid of conscience and integrity; amazing that, until now, he's never served time in a public penal establishment; and amazing that he could intimidate America's legislative body into a group of tenacious, unflagging and pathetic accomplices (much of this disaster could have been avoided had lawmakers not been wimps).
Considering Donald's glowing self-reports, D.C. will be an immense vacuum when he's gone. Who can follow such a man—one he presented as always right and totally infallible? His accomplishments are unequalled in all our history—making friends of the world's greatest despots, keeping murderers and rapists at bay, fearlessly leading American troops from danger. Even deity cringes at such a challenge of perfection—Trump's greatness is such that even God himself could be in need of psychological counseling.
The real question is: After such an incredible man, how can anyone fill those presidential shoes? Joe Biden, if anything, will find them far too small. Welcome, America, to the prospect that our country can actually be great again.
The author is a novelist, columnist, and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.