At this very moment, Donald Trump’s attorneys are filing lawsuits and spreading COVID as they ask judges for an election re-do. The entire world is witnessing a meltdown of Pompeii-ish proportions. Trump is parading through the streets, wearing invisible clothes, as his sycophants praise him for his fashion choices.
But if the election stands (fingers and toes crossed), we’ll have a new president in January.
Some people inexplicably believe everything Trump did was amazing. They’re willing to overlook his lies, cheating, mocking, bombastic ego, and temper tantrums. Even Utah’s Attorney General is riding off into the sunset, looking for dead voters.
I can be tolerant of other people’s choices, but I shouldn’t be tolerant of bigotry or mass sterilizations. I don’t agree that wealth and position make you immune from the responsibilities of living in this country (paying taxes, acting like an adult, conceding, etc.)
It wouldn’t matter if the person in charge was a democrat, a republican or three raccoons in a trench coat; if they behave abominably, they shouldn’t be in charge.
Despite that, there are five things Trump did well during his reign of irrationality.
- He exposed our nation’s racist underbelly. By refusing to denounce white supremacy, Trump cast a harsh light on systemic racism and the oppression experienced by millions of people in this country. It’s made white folks extremely uncomfortable, which is good. Trump didn’t create racism, but he gave those groups a voice; he gave them permission.
- He encouraged people to vote. Never in the history of our country have so many voters showed up at the polls. Millennials and minorities showed up for change. Old, rich, white people showed up to keep things the same. An estimated two-thirds of the voting population cast a ballot during the election. Whether you voted him out or tried to keep him in, Trump can take credit for getting people off their couches and into voting booths.
- He made us constitutional scholars. Can Trump pardon himself? What is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act? What happens during an impeachment hearing? Any of Trump’s Twitter followers can answer those questions because we all took to Google to study up on the U.S. Constitution. Where’s Schoolhouse Rock when you need it?
- He taught us vocabulary. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary Twitter feed threw more shade than an eclipse as it called out Trump’s behavior. It customized its Word of the Day to fit any presidential topic. Some of my favorites: equity, cronyism, mythomania, braggadocio and nepotism. You’ve gotta love a woke dictionary.
- He showed us what we don’t want in a leader. More than 81 million voters stood up to say they don’t want children in cages, they don’t want a president who uses his position for profit, they don’t want a president who can’t show empathy, kindness, understanding or love, and they don’t want a president who continues to ignore climate change and a pandemic that’s killed nearly 400,000 Americans on his watch. I hope President Biden is responsible, caring and boring as hell.
If nothing else, we’ve learned our country is not infallible. Our democracy is precious and fragile, and it takes all of us to stand up for what we believe America represents. We want our country to work toward healing – and that might take many generations, but we need to start.
So, thank you, soon-to-be-former President Trump. You taught us some hard lessons. Hopefully, we won’t forget.