The GOP is Bat**** Crazy

Jeff is angry and so am I. In fact, any person with a functional brain should be! He is spot-on with this post. Thank you, Jeff, for saying what most of us are thinking.

On The Fence Voters

I’m a little angry today, so please excuse the following post, for it might offend some people. Sorry in advance.

The GOP is the gift that keeps on giving. Since media outlets declared Joe Biden President-elect, I wondered how it would affect my writing in this space. After all, for much of the past two-plus years, the White House’s current occupant provided lots of material – the majority of which was mind-numbingly despicable and shocking.

But then I figured out that even after Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20, 2021, we will have one political party that continues to establish itself as the party of kooks, whack-jobs, science deniers, and conspiracy theorists.

In other words, I’ll have plenty to write about. I suppose I owe them a thank you?

Seriously, though, as Joe Biden said yesterday in his press conference when talking about the current GOP’s obstruction and…

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Trump vs Pandemic — No Winners

I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, that Donald Trump has not so much as mentioned the pandemic, despite the fact that we are at an all-time high for new cases and deaths.  It shouldn’t come as a shock that he is more interested in perpetuating his own brand of fraud to attempt to stay in power in a dictatorial fashion, rather than focusing on the people in this country dying, in part because of his neglect.  It is only further proof that Trump does not care one whit about any of us … republican or democrat, male or female, Christian or atheist … he doesn’t hate us, he just simply doesn’t care about us.  Eugene Robinson said it best in his column in The Washington Post yesterday …


Amid the worst of the pandemic, our mad king rages only about himself

Eugene-RobinsonOpinion by 

Eugene Robinson

Columnist

This is becoming like Greek tragedy. The nation is on fire with covid-19, cases and hospitalizations are soaring to unthinkable new highs, and our leader does nothing but rage and moan about his own punishment at the hands of cruel fate.

If it is true that “those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad,” then President Trump is finishing his shambolic term in office as Mad King Donald. Cumulative U.S. covid infections leaped from 10 million to 11 million in just six days, signifying uncontrolled spread. Hospitals are crowded with nearly 70,000 covid-19 patients — more than ever before — and medical systems, especially in the Great Plains and the Mountain West, are wavering under unbearable strain. The morgue in El Paso is so overwhelmed with bodies that inmates at the county jail there are being pressed into service as helpers, pending arrival of the National Guard. Yet Trump spent Monday morning on Twitter, pitifully howling “I won the Election!” about a contest he clearly and decisively lost.

We have reached the point in the pandemic that epidemiologists warned about months ago. They begged Trump to do everything he could to push infection rates as low as possible before autumn arrived and cooler temperatures forced people indoors, where the virus is transmitted much more easily.

Rather than heed the scientists, Trump listened only to the sirens of his own vanity and ambition. He marginalized the experts of his coronavirus task force, declining even to meet with them for the past several months. Instead, he found faux experts whose advice was more to his liking, chief among them Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist — not trained or experienced in fighting epidemics — who on Sunday called on the people of Michigan to “rise up” against a three-week curb on social gatherings announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Trump wanted the economy up and running, with everything back to the way it was, in time for the election. His insistent pushing toward this unrealistic goal disastrously turned the adoption of sensible public health measures into a political wedge issue. Republican governors who wanted to remain in Trump’s favor had to accept his framing of the issue: Restrictions were bad, “freedom” was good. Those governors’ constituents are now paying a terrible price.

A responsible president would have used his megaphone to urge all Americans to wear masks and practice social distancing; would have understood and explained how full cooperation with burdensome shutdowns earlier in the year could allow some institutions, including schools, to return to more normal functioning in the fall; and would have valued patience and resolve over instant gratification.

And a president who was compos mentis never would have made the nonsensical claim that the United States had more covid-19 cases than other countries only because we did more testing. Rather, a president grounded in reality would have insisted on a vastly expanded, nationwide testing program as a way to hasten our safe return to offices, stores and restaurants.

The Trump administration did one thing right by pushing hard for rapid development of vaccines. Two drug companies — Pfizer and Moderna — have announced highly encouraging results from formal trials, and the federal government’s commitment to purchase millions of doses means these vaccines, assuming they are proved to be safe, will be available in record time.

But Moncef Slaoui, co-chair of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine effort, said Monday that, under a best-case scenario, roughly 20 million doses of the two vaccines will be available per month, beginning in December. And initially they will go only to high-risk groups. There are 330 million Americans, meaning that most of us may remain vulnerable to covid-19 for some time.

The United States is once again averaging more than 1,000 deaths a day. A smaller percentage of covid-19 sufferers perish now than did back in the spring — doctors and nurses know much more about how to treat severely ill patients — but this remains a deadly disease. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who works at your local hospital. They’ll tell you.

President-elect Joe Biden has no magic wand to make covid-19 go away. But he does understand that no attempt to return to normal life can succeed unless we first get the virus under control, and that controlling covid requires following the advice of public health professionals.

At the moment, however, there is nothing Biden can do. The Mad King, clinging to the fiction that he has not been deposed, will not even allow federal officials to begin sharing data with Biden’s incoming coronavirus team. The theme of his failed reelection campaign should have been “Make America Sick Again.”

A Few Words Found …

You’ll remember yesterday afternoon when I told you I couldn’t find my words … I think I found some of them, but it seems this batch is smaller than I had on Sunday.  At any rate … I shall see what I can make with the words I do have and perhaps by tomorrow the rest will turn up somewhere.


On a personal note …

My granddaughter Natasha, aka Miss Goose, gave me her Christmas list last week and the very first thing on the list was … a donation to Black Lives Matter.  This kid … she’s 25 now … she just makes me so damn proud of her.  I feel tears welling every time I look at that list.  The next item on the list, of course, is a new computer (that I just ordered, but don’t tell her), followed by a couple of shirts and a long list of books.  But how many people do you know who start their wishlist with a donation to anybody, let alone such a worthy cause?  I just had to give some kudos here to a young woman with a heart of pure gold.


Oil.  Alaska.  Wildlife.  Asshole.

It would appear that Donald Trump plans to leave as his ‘legacy’ a 21st century “scorched earth” policy as he leaves the White House, hopefully forever.  Numerous things have come onto my radar that he and his nasty band of cronies are attempting to enact prior to January 20th.  For starters, the “Trump administration”, aka Donald Trump, announced yesterday that they are planning to rush through the sale of leases to oil companies that would achieve Trump’s long-sought goal of allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

The Wildlife Refuge … REFUGE, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a place that provides shelter or protection”.  Animals, some on the brink of extinction, would be murdered in order for oil companies to make more profit!  According to Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League …

“This lease sale is one more box the Trump administration is trying to check off for its oil industry allies.  But it is disappointing that this administration until the very end has maintained such low regard for America’s public lands, or the wildlife and Indigenous communities that depend on them.”

Disappointing?  No, it goes well beyond disappointment.  Disappointment is when your favourite restaurant is out of fish ‘n chips … this is infuriating, unconscionable, rage-inducing!

The Arctic refuge is one of the last vast expanses of wilderness in the United States, 19 million acres that for the most part are untouched by people, home instead to wandering herds of caribou, polar bears and migrating waterfowl. It has long been prized, and protected, by environmentalists, but Trump has boasted that opening it to oil development was among the most significant of his efforts to expand domestic fossil fuel production.

We. Don’t. Need. The. Damn. Oil.  Somebody please, turn a few dozen polar bears loose on this moron and let them have him for supper!  Truth is, it isn’t and never was about the U.S. needing that oil – it is and always was about the fossil fuel industry and their profits … men who already sit on billions of dollars of wealth, while some of us struggle to put food on the table.  DAMN you, Donald Trump … just DAMN YOU.


How to make the pandemic even worse … hire Scott Atlas!

In just under a week, the United States went from 10 thousand cases to over 11 thousand, and we are on track to hit 12 thousand within a few days.  Yesterday, we had 162,149 new cases, the day before 146,544.  We lead the world in both coronavirus cases and deaths.

Scott Atlas, who I have mentioned before, is the highly un-qualified senior advisor on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a position that was once occupied by the very well-qualified Dr. Anthony Fauci.  Whereas Dr. Fauci’s entire career has been dedicated to the study of viruses and immunology, Atlas is a neuroradiologist … nothing to do with communicable diseases. Whereas Dr. Fauci cares about human life, Atlas cares only about licking Trump’s boots.

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In the absence of federal guidance, states’ governors are taking the virus seriously and doing what needs to be done to keep the people in their state safe … or as safe as is reasonably possible.  One such governor is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer who, concerned by the recent spike in cases announced Sunday a three-week pause on indoor dining, in-person learning and several other activities.  So, what did Scott Atlas do?  Rather than support the governor in her effort to keep people safe, he tweeted …

“The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”

Freedom matters … indeed it does, but somehow, being free once your dead, or lying in a hospital bed hooked up to a multitude of machines, somehow pales in comparison to being alive.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Monday that Atlas’ call to action represented a “grave concern” and warned that it could provoke violence in the state …

“These public health orders are absolutely necessary to preserve human life.  But once again, here you have members of the Trump administration that are so much more hurtful than they are helpful.”

Atlas, a physician with no expertise in infectious diseases or epidemiology, has won favor in the White House in recent months by advocating against coronavirus restrictions and downplaying the disease’s threat.  He has also publicly attacked Anthony Fauci, accusing the nation’s top infectious disease expert of stoking fears about the pandemic for political purposes ahead of the presidential election earlier this month.  One of Trump’s worst choices, one who did not require Senate confirmation, and one who ought to be stoned in the public square for his hideous disregard of our lives, along with his boss!


Well … puff puff puff … it seems I found enough words to make a post, yes?  And now, I think to soothe my own jangled psyche, I will go find a song for this morning’s music post.

Missing Words …

I simply cannot find my words today.   I don’t remember where I left them when I went to bed last night … er, this morning … and I’ve called and whistled for them, but no words are forthcoming.  However, John Oliver does not have any problem finding his, and he has graciously agreed to fill in for Filosofa today with words that are wiser and more informed than mine would have been, even if they had come out of hiding.

Seriously, though … this clip, while it is nearly 18 minutes long, is well worth watching as he assesses the current situation here in the U.S. and quite effectively puts to rest the rumours and conspiracy theories that are being spread by Trump and his nasty cohorts even faster than the coronavirus pandemic.  I do hope you’ll take the time to watch this from start to finish … it is well worth the time … plus there is a glint of much-needed humour.

Welcome to America, Where the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer

Yesterday, I wrote of my frustration with this nation’s apparent inability or unwillingness to unite — left vs right, Republican vs Democrat.  Today, Robert Reich’s column in The Guardian shows us that the divide is a calculated one, a manipulation by those with billions of dollars in their portfolio, aided and abetted by the GOP.  Reich proposes that the real division is the 1% vs 99% and that a middle ground no longer exists, nor can it.  Take a look …


Trump’s refusal to concede is just the latest gambit to please Republican donors

Robert Reich-4by Robert Reich

Millions who should be ranged against the American oligarchy are distracted and divided – just as their leaders want

Leave it to Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting non-existent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 244,000 Americans and counting.

The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While Covid-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.

The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come – making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.

Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.

Leading Republicans like the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.

The biggest beneficiaries are the party’s biggest patrons – the billionaire class, including the heads of the nation’s largest corporations and financial institutions, private-equity partnerships and hedge funds – whom a deeply divided nation serves by giving them unfettered access to the economy’s gains.

Their heist started four decades ago. According to a recent Rand study, if America’s distribution of income had remained the same as it was in the three decades following the second world war, the bottom 90% would now be $47tn richer.

A low-income American earning $35,000 this year would be earning $61,000. A college-educated worker now earning $72,000 would be earning $120,000. Overall, the grotesque surge in inequality that began 40 years ago is costing the median American worker $42,000 per year.

The upward redistribution of $47tn wasn’t due to natural forces. It was contrived. As wealth accumulated at the top, so did political power to siphon off even more wealth and shaft everyone else.

Monopolies expanded because antitrust laws were neutered. Labor unions shriveled because corporations were allowed to bust unions. Wall Street was permitted to gamble with other people’s money and was bailed out when its bets soured even as millions lost their homes and savings. Taxes on the top were cut, tax loopholes widened.

When Covid-19 hit, big tech cornered the market, the rich traded on inside information and the Treasury and the Fed bailed out big corporations but let small businesses go under. Since March, billionaire wealth has soared while most of America has become poorer.

How could the oligarchy get away with this in a democracy where the bottom 90% have the votes? Because the bottom 90% are bitterly divided.

Long before Trump, the GOP suggested to white working-class voters that their real enemies were Black people, Latinos, immigrants, “coastal elites”, bureaucrats and “socialists”. Trump rode their anger and frustration into the White House with more explicit and incendiary messages. He’s still at it with his bonkers claim of a stolen election.

The oligarchy surely appreciates the Trump-GOP tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks and the most business-friendly supreme court since the early 1930s. But the Trump-GOP’s biggest gift has been an electorate more fiercely split than ever.

Into this melee comes Joe Biden, who speaks of being “president of all Americans” and collaborating with the Republican party. But the GOP doesn’t want to collaborate. When Biden holds out an olive branch, McConnell and other Republican leaders will respond just as they did to Barack Obama – with more warfare, because that maintains their power and keeps the big money rolling in.

The president-elect aspires to find a moderate middle ground. This will be difficult because there’s no middle. The real divide is no longer left versus right but the bottom 90% versus the oligarchy.

Biden and the Democrats will better serve the nation by becoming the party of the bottom 90% – of the poor and the working middle class, of black and white and brown, and of all those who would be $47tn richer today had the oligarchy not taken over America.

This would require that Democrats abandon the fiction of political centrism and establish a countervailing force to the oligarchy – and, not incidentally, sever their own links to it.

They’d have to show white working-class voters how badly racism and xenophobia have hurt them as well as people of color. And change the Democratic narrative from kumbaya to economic and social justice.

Easy to say, hugely difficult to accomplish. But if today’s bizarre standoff in Washington is seen for what it really is, there’s no alternative.

The Week’s Best Cartoons: “You’re Fired!”

This past week has provided so much fodder for the political cartoonists to work with … I wonder if they’ll be bored once Trump is gone?  As she always does, TokyoSand scoured the ‘Net looking for the best of the best, cream of the crop, and she did a fine job!  Thank you, TS, for finding these and for permission to share.

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View Original Post: The Week’s Best Cartoons: “You’re Fired!”

Musings From The Rabbit Hole — Unity

Joe Biden, who will take the Oath of Office in just 67 days, has promised to try to unify the people of this country … unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office who has done nothing but divide us.  I applaud that effort, and until yesterday I naively thought it might just be possible.  I still hope that it can be done … certainly if anybody can, Biden is among the best candidates to do so.  But today I have my doubts.  I don’t want to be negative or a naysayer, for we all need all the hope we can find, but I am nothing if not a pragmatist, a realist. Yesterday as I perused the news, considered what was happening, it occurred to me that a large number – about half – of the people in this nation do not want unity, but rather thrive on division and chaos.

Certainly, there have always been political divisions in this country and always will be, for we are a nation of humans, but what we are experiencing now goes beyond ideological differences and into the arena of personal hatred.  This “Reign of Cruelty” as I term the past four years, has changed us, has made us more willing to accept things that we once abhorred.  It has made us less human.

I hate that it has boiled down to Republican vs Democrat and the language of hate, the finger-pointing, the blame game is always … always the fault of everyone who identifies with one party or another.  I, too, have been guilty of saying, “The republicans only want …” or “The republicans are the cause of …”, and it’s not something I’m proud of, but admittedly it will likely happen again, for I am human.

Today, thousands of people are gathered in Washington to … what?  I’m not sure what they hope to accomplish, but they are protesting the results of the election, results that clearly prove Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. They are parroting Trump’s false claim that the election has been ‘stolen’, that there was massive voter fraud, even though this has been disproven.  They’ve brought their guns, they’ve brought their Proud Boys, their maga hats, their Trump banners, and while so far nobody has been killed, I won’t be surprised if there is violence and death before the day is done.

I am neither a democrat nor a republican, but for the past twenty years or so, I have found nothing particularly valuable in the republican platform, while I do support the same sorts of things the Democratic Party supports, things like providing affordable health care for everyone, women’s rights, equal rights for the LGBT community, equal opportunities for people of all colours and religions in such areas as housing and employment.  I support raising the minimum wage, workplace safety, and perhaps most importantly, taking care of the planet that we have long neglected.

The pandemic perfectly highlights the differences between the two ‘sides’ in this nation.  We cannot even agree to protect each other from a deadly virus, cannot agree on something so simple as wearing a mask in public, else staying home.  If we cannot agree on even that, how can we possibly come to terms on such things as environmental regulations, universal health care, and ending systemic racism?

This nation was founded on freedom of religion, which also means freedom from religion, and yet today a growing portion of the population believes that their religious beliefs ought to be the basis of the laws that we must all live under, even those of us who do not share their beliefs.  This only further divides us … wars have been fought over this very thing, but we fail to learn the lessons of history.

The effort to unify will require compromise, and I just don’t see a willingness among the people of this nation to budge so much as an inch, let alone meet the other side at the halfway mark.  What will it take to bring the people of this nation together, united in a common goal?  Will it take bombs being dropped on us by an outside entity?  Will it take the deaths of half the people in the nation before we open our eyes and realize that we cannot keep killing each other?

Can we possibly set aside our vitriol and hate for a moment and think about the things we have in common?  Or do we still have anything in common?  I think we do … we all love our families and want the best for them, we just don’t agree on what is the best or how to achieve it.  We all have certain basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and breathable air … we just don’t agree on how to achieve those things.  We all want our children to have a good education … we just don’t agree on what, exactly, that is.  So yes, we have much in common, but we view it from different perspectives.  All of which would be fine, if we respected each other, respected others’ viewpoints and agreed to compromise.  Instead, we try to shove our views down the throats of others.

If you’re waiting for me to tell you how we can fix this … don’t hold your breath, for I have no idea.  I only hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are far wiser than I and can make decisions and policies that will help narrow what I refer to as the Great Divide.

Filosofa’s Frustrations …

Several things crossed my radar this morning that I find relevant … I’m defining relevant as rant-inducing here.


A brief update about the pandemic

Two days ago, Thursday November 12th, the U.S. set yet another record, with 161,541 new cases and 1,190 deaths in a 24-hour period.  Yesterday, Friday November 13th, we broke even that record with 183,527 new cases and 1,395 deaths.  To all those fools who still believe Trump when he says it’s going away … I’ve got a lovely bridge in Brooklyn I’ll sell you really cheap.


Hazards of the job?

When a person applies to become a Secret Service agent, they obviously accept that they will sometimes be in danger, might even be in the literal line of fire, as Special Agent Tim McCarthy was when he stepped in front of President Ronald Reagan during the assassination attempt of March 30, 1981, and took a bullet to the chest.  What they do not expect, however, is that they will recklessly be exposed to a potentially lethal disease.

It was reported yesterday morning that more than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers.  This amounts to roughly 10% of the agency’s core security team, and the infections are believed to have stemmed from the series of campaign rallies that Trump held in the weeks prior to the election.

Now consider that not only are the agents themselves affected, but most have families – spouses and children – who are now also at risk. Donald Trump owes every single one of these agents and their families an apology, yet he has not so much as mentioned the pandemic for days now.  I guess he still thinks it just … went away.  Way to go, Donnie – kill the very people who risk their lives every day to protect your sorry life.


And justice for all???

Justice Samuel Alito has been on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court since January 31, 2006 when he replaced Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  Alito is a textualist, meaning he takes the words of the Constitution literally, not allowing for the events that have changed the times over the past two centuries.  He is also a conservative thinker, but until yesterday, I did not realize the extent to which he refuses to consider any opinion that does not fall in line with his own.

Alito delivered an unusually inflammatory public speech Thursday night to the Federalist Society where he said that liberals pose a growing threat to religious liberty and free speech.  Say WHAT???  What has this man been smoking?

His premise was, in a nutshell, that liberal support for LGBT rights such as the right to marry as confirmed by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges in 2015, was a direct assault on religious freedom, for some religions insist that marriage be defined as being between a man and a woman.  Okay, welcome back to the 19th century, Mr. Alito.


The never-ending election

Yesterday evening, the results for the last two states were announced:  North Carolina for Trump, and Georgia for President-elect Joe Biden.  This brings the total electoral votes for Biden to 306 over Trump’s 232 … a comfortable margin.  Biden also leads in the popular vote … by more than 5.2 million.  And yet … Trump and his cronies such as Mike Pompeo and Kayleigh McEnany continue to claim that it will be Trump who is inaugurated on January 20th.

I said a few days ago that we should, and I would to whatever extent possible, ignore his rhetoric … pay no attention to what he says, but focus on actions.  Trouble is that his continual tweets and threats are doing significant damage to the people of this nation … perhaps irreparable harm.  A PEW Research survey shows that 70% of republicans believe the election was not fair.  All of us are on pins and needles, and the U.S. is a tinderbox waiting for just the right spark to set it off.  I am surprised that there has been no major violence in the streets, but how long can that last, with the tension and vitriol that abound?

A top committee made up of officials from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and its election partners refuted Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and irregularities in a statement Thursday, calling the election “the most secure in American history.”  And still he throws his tantrum, saying the election was ‘stolen’ from him.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Every other president since George Washington has had more respect for We the People than Donald Trump has.  My proposal, if I had the ear of people like Mike Pence, is that he needs to be removed NOW, not in 67 days.  It could be done using the 25th Amendment, and frankly if Pence or Trump’s ignoble cabinet members had a conscience, it would have already been done.  Instead, they will drag the uncertainty and planned chaos out all the way up until noon on January 20th, by which time I and many like me will already be dead from either stress-related illness or from jumping off a tall building.


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A Most Dangerous Game

Blogging friend Brosephus has put into words what, I think, the majority of us are thinking right now. Thank you, Brosephus.

The Mind of Brosephus

The election is over, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are president-elect and vice president-elwct respectively. Even after the dust around the recounts and lawsuits settle, those two will still retain those titles. America has spoken, and it is done.

Nonetheless, Republicans are playing a very dangerous game or should I say games. Let me explain. I may ruffle some feathers with this post, but this needs to be said.

There was no voter fraud in 2020 enough to affect the outcome of the election. Unlike 2016, there was more attention being paid to security efforts, and that attention appears to have paid off.

Yet, we have Trump and his syncopants going on Fox News with alleged evidence of fraud. Fortunately for America, Fox News is not a court of law. When these allegations are made in court, they have been shown the door all across the country.

So, we…

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Presidential Vandalism

Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat graciously is certainly no surprise.  The ‘man’ does not know the meaning of the word gracious.  Still, though I am not surprised by his antics over the past week since it became clear that Joe Biden has won the presidential election, I find it deeply disturbing.  That so many people in and out of government are playing along with his little game, either out of fear or because they have no respect for the founding principles of this nation, is even more disturbing.  Never before in the history of this nation have We the People been treated with more disdain and disrespect by the top elected official than we are today.

Yesterday, I came across the following OpEd by Nickholas Kristof reminding us how other presidents have accepted their defeat.  No matter what you thought of Hillary Clinton, you have to admit her response to her loss was far more dignified and professional than any we’ve seen since then.


When Trump Vandalizes Our Country

The president should grit his teeth and repeat Hillary Clinton’s line from 2016: “We must accept this result.”

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

Nov. 11, 2020

As it became clear that she would lose the 2016 election and news organizations called the race for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton spoke to her supporters.

“We must accept this result,” she declared. “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

She did not boast that she had won 2.9 million more votes than Trump. She did not file lawsuits to try to reverse thin margins. And she did not offer evidence-free allegations of voter fraud — as Trump did, even though he had won. Rather, she buttressed the norm in American electoral politics of the loser acknowledging the winner.

This norm is as traditional as it is wrenching for the losers. In conceding the presidential race in 1952 and sharing how he felt, Adlai Stevenson recalled what Lincoln supposedly said after losing an election: “He said he felt like a little boy who had stubbed his toe in the dark. He was too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh.” Still, Stevenson resolutely called on his backers to support Dwight Eisenhower in the presidency.

In 2000, after the Supreme Court effectively ended Al Gore’s quest for the presidency, Gore likewise admitted his heartache but urged voters: “I call on all Americans — I particularly urge all who stood with us — to unite behind our next president.”

Trump might study the particularly eloquent speech by John McCain as he conceded to Barack Obama in 2008. McCain said: “I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together.”

President Trump’s pattern instead has been to scrape the wounds opened during campaigns, for he has been a sore loser as well as a sore winner. In 2016, when Trump lost the Iowa caucuses, he claimed that “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it.”

Today Trump is not simply saying that we should wait for every vote to be counted in the 2020 election. Rather, he is fabricating election fraud and falsely claiming that he won, sowing doubts within his base about American democracy itself. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 70 percent of Republicans don’t believe the election was free and fair.

Republican officials have, with some noble exceptions, joined Trump in this dangerous charade, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserting — perhaps jokingly — that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

The blunt truth is that there is zero evidence of widespread fraud or impropriety, and in any case, the average statewide recount over 20 years has resulted in a shift of just 430 votes. There is no realistic chance for recounts to shift enough votes for Trump to win a second term.

Yet Trump is denying reality and impeding a lawful transition in ways that diminish the United States before the world, that make our country less governable and that risk inciting violence. This is presidential vandalism.

Can America heal?

The most likely course ahead, I believe, is that reality will gradually take hold: Trump’s litigation will fail, voting results will be certified and the Trump administration will grumpily accept the inevitable and cooperate with a transition.

But I may be wrong. If Republicans egg Trump on, rather than try to rein him in, might he try to block the transition in ways that would be comparable to an attempted coup d’état?

Sean Wilentz, the historian, told my colleague Thomas B. Edsall that if Trump were to deny the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election, “It would be an act of disloyalty unsurpassed in American history except by the Southern secession in 1860-61.”

One impediment to healing is that we now all have our own news ecosystems to feed our selection bias, reinforce our prejudices and dial up our outrage. In recent days I’ve been tuning to the conservative outlet One America News, and it’s the simplest way to travel to another planet: On that planet, Democrats are engaging in massive election fraud and trying to steal the election. If you live on that planet, with Facebook feeds that reinforce that fiction, you’re not inclined to sing “Kumbaya.”

Yet we have to try to heal and reassert norms of civility that are the lubricant that make democracy work. Biden has modeled those norms in his outreach to Trump voters, in empathizing with their disappointment, in quoting the Bible in his call for Americans to unite and heal. But it will take all of us, on both sides of this divide, to join him.

Republicans scoff that Democrats, after delegitimizing Trump for four years, now preach harmony. I take their point. But for the most part Democrats protested that Trump was a bad president, not that he wasn’t president at all. It is possible, imperfectly, to uphold norms both of acknowledging losses and of pushing accountability.

The day after the 2016 election I wrote a column saying that “having lost, we owe it to our nation to grit our teeth and give President-elect Trump a chance.” I now invite Republicans, having lost, to grit their teeth and give President-elect Biden a chance.