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.

toon-1toon-2toon-3

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.

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…

View original post 725 more words

World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day … doesn’t feel much like it here in the U.S., does it?  According to the website Inspire Kindness

World Kindness Day is a global day that promotes the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself, and to the world. This day, celebrated on November 13 of each year, has the purpose is to help everyone understand that compassion for others is what binds us all together. This understanding has the power to bridge the gap between nations.

Let’s all try to remember that we’re all in this boat (planet Earth) together, try to set aside our differences for a bit, and remember to be kind … not just today, but every day.

wkd_seven_ways

Love ‘n hugs to all my wonderful friends from Filosofa!

Who Is The Republican Party?

E.J. Dionne is a columnist for The Washington Post, but he is also a government professor at Georgetown University, a visiting professor at Harvard University, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and a frequent commentator on politics for National Public Radio and MSNBC.  Needless to say, he is well-qualified to opine on the current situation in Washington.  This morning, I found his latest column in my inbox, and I found it well worth reading … and sharing. If we thought that the Republican Party would pull away from Trump as he throws his juvenile tantrum after losing the election, we were wrong … they are sticking to him like glue.  Mr. Dionne reminds us that this is not new behaviour …


Of course Republicans are doing this. It’s who they are.

Opinion by

DionneE.J. Dionne Jr.

Columnist

November 11, 2020 at 4:19 p.m. EST

No. Not this time. Not again.

We knew that President Trump had no respect for democracy or the Constitution. So we’re not surprised that he’s lying, and lying, and lying again to claim he prevailed in the election that President-elect Joe Biden won decisively, fair and square.

What we did not know for certain was whether the Republican Party would once again bow before Trump’s corruption and his indifference to the fate of our republican institutions.

Well, the GOP has turned out to be as despicably ready to validate Trump’s falsehoods and authoritarian behavior as its worst critics feared. With precious few exceptions, Republican leaders are quite happy to be complicit in Trump’s subversion.

Some innocent souls still want to see the GOP as a normal party ready to work with Biden to solve the nation’s problems.

Sorry, but that party disappeared long ago, and we should not, in retrospect, have expected anything else. After all, this is not the first time that Republicans moved immediately to discredit a Democrat who won the presidency. It’s not even the second time. The practice of hamstringing a new Democratic president by suggesting that his victory wasn’t genuine goes all the way back to Bill Clinton.

Recall that in 1992, Clinton won an overwhelming 370-to-168 electoral college majority over then-President George H.W. Bush. Clinton beat Bush in the popular vote by 5.8 million. But the businessman Ross Perot ran a serious campaign as an independent and won 18.9 percent of the popular vote. As a result, Clinton’s share was 43 percent.

That was all the Republicans needed to assert that even though Clinton won, he was actually a loser. Then-Republican Senate leader Bob Dole declared the day after the election that Clinton had no “mandate” because “57 percent of the Americans who voted in the presidential election voted against Bill Clinton.”

Dole added: “I intend to represent that majority on the floor of the U.S. Senate.” Presto: A drubbing becomes a triumph.

To this day, many Republicans believe, because they have said it so often, that Perot was the reason Bush lost. But the data showed conclusively that this was not true.

The Voter Research & Surveys exit poll that year found that 38 percent of Perot voters listed Clinton as their second choice, and 38 percent listed Bush. The rest said they wouldn’t have voted if Perot hadn’t run.

Thus, a reallocation of Perot’s second choices showed that even if Perot hadn’t run, Clinton would have led Bush by roughly the same popular vote margin. And, at most, only Ohio would have flipped to Bush, leaving Clinton with a still-robust 349 electoral vote haul.

But the truth never caught up with reality. Clinton was hobbled right out of the gate.

In 2008, Barack Obama defeated John McCain by such an overwhelming margin (9.5 million popular votes, 365 to 173 in the electoral college) that even the most creative Republicans couldn’t spin that outcome into a defeat. But along came “birtherism,” the false charge (touted most notably by a guy named Trump) that Obama was ineligible to be president because he had not been born in the United States.

We forget how powerful a hold birtherism had on Republicans and how long it has hung around. The lie was ridiculous, outrageous and racist all at once. Obama kept hoping that the claim’s self-evident absurdity would discredit it. When that didn’t happen, he finally — more than two years after he was inaugurated — released his long-form birth certificate proving he had been born in Hawaii.

Even then, Trump wouldn’t give it up. For example, he tweeted on Aug. 6, 2012: “An extremely credible source has called my office and told me that @Barack-Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”

This is the man Republicans are backing up as he makes equally ludicrous claims about our election. They are doing it to make sure Trump voters in Georgia turn out for two Republican senators in a January runoff election. They are doing it because they fear Trump. But they are also doing it to weaken Biden and make it harder for him to govern.

And notice how Republicans have escalated their level of irresponsibility over the years. They started with a phony election analysis in 1992; by 2008, they were allowing a wild lie to poison the consciousness of their base. Now, they are willing to do something even worse. As Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of “How Democracies Die,” said in an interview, the GOP could “damage the legitimacy not just of Biden but of our democracy as a whole.”

Biden keeps telling us: “We are not enemies. We are Americans.

That’s decent and honorable. But enemies or not, the Republican Party’s leaders are behaving like a nest of vipers. Be wary, Mr. President-elect.

Good People Doing Good Things —

This week’s ‘good people’ post is shorter than usual, and for that I apologize.  I was working on a good people, but realized around midnight that it was more in-depth than I had first thought and I was running out of energy, having been awakened after only 3 hours of sleep by the roofers for the last two mornings.  Funny how hard it is to go back to sleep when you awaken at 7:30 a.m. to the sound of men walking directly over your head, pounding and scraping!  Anyway … I had bookmarked the first story last week for use in a future good people post, and the second I stumbled on tonight, so … long story short … I have only two short stories for today’s post.  But, I think you’ll enjoy them.


A shared love of all things baseball … especially cards!

Reese Osterberg is 9-years-old, lives in Fresno, California, loves baseball and collects baseball cards. 

“I like baseball cards because they are pictures of people doing happy stuff. Doing what they love. And what I love.”

Reese’s collection contained about 100 baseball cards in all, and she loved those cards.  And then, on September 5th, Reese and her family were forced to evacuate their home because of the Creek Fire, the biggest fire in California’s history of wildfires … which, by the way, is still burning.  The card collection was left behind, and Reese had high hopes of returning to it within a few days.  But, tragically the Osterberg home was ravished by the fire and nothing was left of Reese’s baseball cards.

Enter Kevin Ashford, our ‘good people’ this morning.  Kevin just happened to be listening to the radio when he heard the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) telling Reese’s story and asking for donations to replace her lost cards.

Call it fate, call it kismet, call it whatever, but it just so happened that Kevin Ashford himself is a collector of baseball cards.  Kevin began collecting cards in the 1960s and over the 60-year course of his collecting he had amassed quite a collection.  In fact, he had recently contemplated selling his collection on Ebay, and it was estimated at a value of somewhere between $35,000 and $50,00 … a nice little chunk of change!

But, when Kevin heard Reese’s story, he did not hesitate.  He picked up the phone, called the number on his screen, and told the operator at Cal Fire that he had a collection he wanted to donate to Reese. 

“I had initially planned on selling my cards on eBay, but when I thought about the smile I could put on that little girl’s face, it was an easy decision. I felt compelled to donate the cards to her.”

Cal Fire quickly put Reese and Kevin in contact and even offered to help deliver the many boxes to Reese’s home in Fresno, which they did Friday.

Cal-fire

“When she told me that she used to sit with her binder of baseball cards in front of the TV watching baseball, I knew I had made the right decision, because that’s exactly what I used to do as a kid.”

ReeseBut there is another ‘good people’ in this story, and that is Reese herself.  She is sharing some of the cards with her friends who are also baseball enthusiasts, and according to her mother, Amy, they are planning to send cards and notes of encouragement to children at the nearby Children’s Hospital of Central California.  Now, this might seem a small thing, but think about it for just a minute.  This is a family who just lost their home to a horrific fire, lost all their worldly possessions, and yet … and yet they are thinking about kids in the hospital, taking time out of their efforts to re-build their lives to do something nice for sick children.

I think both Kevin Ashford and Reese Osterberg deserve a thumbs-up this week, don’t you?


They DO exist!

Now, I keep politics out of my good people posts, for these posts are about compassion and kindness, not words we typically associate with politics.  And this story isn’t really about politics, but about showing that we can set aside our differences and care about others, regardless of political views and affiliations.

It happened in Washington County, Wisconsin, a republican stronghold, where Tim Place is one of only about two democrats with a Biden/Harris sign in his yard.  Well, he did have one, until somebody stole it.  A few days after the sign was stolen, Place received a gift — a new Biden campaign sign from a neighbor … a neighbor who supports Donald Trump!

The benefactor was Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann, who lives a few doors down from Tim, and who has a Trump/Pence sign in his own yard.  Says Schoemann …

“l thought, ‘that’s just not right. Although we are Trump supporters, we love our neighbors and want them to be able to exercise their freedom of speech just like everybody else.  I decided to take my son and go and replace their sign.”

The gesture brought the neighbors together for the first time, sharing a moment as they met.  The two found unity through an unlikely item — a sign, they say, that stands for more than politics.

Tim-Josh

Tim Place (left) and Josh Schoemann

Y’know … as I read this, I asked myself a question:  If I had a neighbor who had a Trump sign in his yard and it got stolen, would I be so kind as to buy him a new one?  And the answer … well, let’s just say it disqualifies me from ever being featured in one of my ‘good people’ posts.

Just Two Tidbits

Just a couple of tidbits I wanted to weigh in on today sans snark … well, okay, maybe there’s just a tiny bit of snark …


Has Fox found a conscience?

I’m not sure what is going on over at Fox ‘News’, but it almost seems as if they are trying to become a legitimate news network!  First, they were the first of all the major networks to call Arizona in Joe Biden’s favour at 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday – election night.  Needless to say, Trump was not happy, and Jared Kushner actually called Rupert Murdoch to complain.

And yesterday evening, Fox actually cut away from a news conference with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany because she claimed without evidence that Democrats were inviting fraud and illegal voting.  WHOA!  This sounds like the work of an actual news station!  Has Fox fallen off the Trump bandwagon?

Fox’ anchor Neil Cavuto said, as the network cut away …

“Whoa, whoa, whoa … I just think we have to be very clear that she’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting. Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this.”

Cavuto is the same one who earlier this year found a backbone and said …

“Mr. President, we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you — just report on you.”

Another Fox anchor, Bret Baier, has also declined to fall in line with Trump’s claims of massive voter fraud, saying …

“Listen, we are not seeing any evidence of widespread fraud. We want to look into everything as well. But we just haven’t seen it. You know, it hasn’t been presented. There’s all kinds of stuff flying on the Internet. But when we look into it, it doesn’t pan out.”

Of course, Cavuto and Baier are on the news side of Fox.  The opinion people still play the game, with Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, and Sean Hannity claiming, without a shred of evidence, that Trump is right about massive voter fraud, and continuing to fawn over him.  If Rupert Murdoch intends to improve the credibility of Fox, then he needs to shut down the opinion side, or at least hire people who are not witless pawns.

It disappoints and disturbs me that some of the Fox staff have been receiving threatening calls and emails from people because they aren’t falling in with the Trump line of false rhetoric.  I always thought that the people of this nation were better than that, but over the past decade I’ve come to realize that a significant portion are not.


ACA – on the chopping block?

Maybe not.  I am pleased and somewhat surprised today to read that both Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts might not be so eager to strike down the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare.

As you will remember, the penalty for the individual mandate requiring every individual to have at least a basic healthcare insurance plan, was reduced to zero in December 2017, when Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which eliminated the individual mandate penalty, effective January 1, 2019.  The mandate itself has remained but is not enforceable without the penalty.  At issue is whether the mandate is constitutional or not, and if not, then does that render the entirety of the Act unconstitutional.  Some, such as the newbie Justice Amy Barrett, have been hyper-critical of the previous Court rulings that upheld the ACA, but today, as the Supreme Court is reviewing the case, it seems possible that ACA may weather yet another storm.

“It does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the law in place.” –  Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh

“I think it’s hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act.” – Chief Justice John Roberts

Along with the three-remaining liberal-leaning justices – Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Elena Kagan, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor – it appears likely that ACA will remain, saving tens of thousands of people from suddenly finding themselves left without health insurance.

That there is such a deep partisan divide in the Court goes against what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution in 1787.  The goal was to have a non-partisan Court with moderate, fair justices who decided cases based on constitutional law, not their own ideologies.  Today, we are about as far from that as imaginable, and yet sometimes it still works properly.

What’s Next?

Okay folks … we’ve danced in the streets, popped the champagne corks and celebrated Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election.

Now it’s time to get serious, for what lies ahead is a 73-day transition period that presents a number of pitfalls & perils, given the contentious nature of the incumbent and his loyal lapdogs.  We need to prepare ourselves to survive these next two-and-a-half months with our country and our sanity relatively intact.

In his column today, Robert Reich tells us what we can likely expect over the coming weeks leading up to inauguration day.  I have no doubt that despite all of Trump’s machinations, temper tantrums and legal challenges, Joe Biden will take office on January 20th, but what happens between now and then, and even beyond?  Let’s hear what Reich has to say …


How can Biden heal America when Trump doesn’t want it healed?

The nearest thing America has had to a dictator is beaten but unbowed. He will disgrace the national scene for some time yet

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

It’s over. Donald Trump is history.

For millions of Americans – a majority, by almost 5 million popular votes – it’s a time for celebration and relief. Trump’s cruelty, vindictiveness, non-stop lies, corruption, rejection of science, chaotic incompetence, and gross narcissism brought out the worst in America. He tested the limits of American decency and democracy. He is the closest we have come to a dictator.

Democracy has had a reprieve, a stay of execution. We have another chance to preserve it, and restore what’s good about America.

It will not be easy. The social fabric is deeply torn. Joe Biden will inherit a pandemic far worse than it would have been had Trump not played it down and refused to take responsibility for containing it, and an economic crisis exacting an unnecessary toll.

The worst legacy of Trump’s term of office is a bitterly divided America.

Judging by the number of ballots cast in the election, Trump’s base of support is roughly 70 million. They were angry even before the election (as were Biden supporters). Now, presumably, they are angrier.

The nation was already divided when Trump became president – by race and ethnicity, region, education, national origin, religion, and class. But he exploited these divisions to advance himself. He didn’t just pour salt into our wounds. He planted grenades in them.

It is a vile legacy. Although Americans have strongly disagreed over what we want the government to do, we at least agreed to be bound by its decisions. This meta-agreement required enough social trust for us to regard the views and interests of those we disagree with as equally worthy of consideration as our own. But Trump continuously sacrificed that trust to feed his own monstrous ego.

Elections usually end with losing candidates congratulating winners and graciously accepting defeat, thereby demonstrating their commitment to the democratic system over the particular outcome they fought to achieve.

But there will be no graciousness from Trump, nor a concession. He is incapable of either.

He will be president for another two and a half months. He is still charging that the election was stolen from him, mounting legal challenges and demanding recounts, maneuvers that could prevent states from meeting the legal deadline of December 8th for choosing electors.

If he continues, America could find itself in a situation similar to what it faced in 1876, when claims about ballot fraud forced a special electoral commission to decide the winner, just two days before the inauguration.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump refuses to attend Biden’s inauguration and stages a giant rally instead.

He’ll send firestorms of aggrieved messages to his followers – questioning Biden’s legitimacy and urging that they refuse to recognize his presidency. This will be followed by months of rallies and tweets containing even more outlandish charges: plots against Trump and America by Biden, Nancy Pelosi, “deep-state” bureaucrats, “socialists,” immigrants, Muslims, or any other of his standard foes.

It could go on for years, Trump keeping the nation’s attention, remaining the center of controversy and divisiveness, sustaining his followers in perpetual fury, titillating them with the possibility he might run again in 2024, making it harder for Biden to do any of the national healing he’s promised and the nation so desperately needs.

How can Biden heal the nation when Trump doesn’t want it healed?

The media (including Twitter, Facebook, and even Fox News) could help. They have begun to call out Trump’s lies in real time and cut off his press conferences, practices that should have started years ago. Let’s hope they continue to tag his lies and otherwise ignore him – a fitting end to a reality TV president who tried to turn America into a reality warzone.

But the responsibility for healing America falls to all of us.

For starters, we’d do well to recognize and honor the selflessness we have observed during this trying time – starting with tens of thousands of election workers who have worked long hours under difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances.

Add to them the hospital workers across the nation saving lives from the scourge of Covid-19; the thousands of fire fighters in the west and the emergency responders on the Gulf coast battling the consequences of climate change; the civil servants getting unemployment checks out to millions of jobless Americans; social workers dealing with family crises in the wake of evictions and other hardships; armies of volunteers doling out food from soup kitchens.

These are the true heroes of America. They embody the decency of this land. They are doing the healing, rebuilding trust, reminding us who we are and who we are not.

Donald Trump is not America.