Katy Burns: Good riddance!

Monitor columnist
Published: 1/2/2021 11:00:16 PM

Mitch McConnell and Vladimir Putin – the dictators, respectively, of the United States Senate and Russia – have both finally decided that it is safe for them to acknowledge aloud that Joe Biden is, indeed, really and truly the president-elect of the United States of America.

It only took the two arrogant autocrats about five weeks to draw the same conclusion that non-delusional American voters had come to within three days of the official election.

As of midweek, our old president himself – the inimitable (thank God!) Donald Trump – has still not publicly admitted defeat, despite the fact that Mr. Biden’s inauguration will be in a scant 17 days.

In fact, even as I penned the words above, Mr. Trump popped onto my computer screen denouncing the “weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’” as “pathetic” creatures who “only know how to lose.”

I sometimes think that if Donald had devoted one-tenth of the energy he’s expending on pursuing this inane claim that he really won the recent election to spending the last four years doing his actual job as president – which he notably did not do, preferring to tour his various houses and explore his golf courses – he might even have won the election.

But he didn’t, of course, because he’s astoundingly lazy and almost deliberately, wantonly ignorant.

And so, to the enormous relief of a majority of Americans who voted on Nov. 3 – including me – Mr. Biden will move into the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

It’s interesting that I’ve been berated several times lately by Monitor readers for “not respecting the office of the president” in my writing.

But – on the contrary – I do respect the office of the president as it was conceived by our founders. It has been filled by some truly great men (at least, so far, just men) and others who have almost always recognized the grave responsibility the office entails and tried to rise to the job.

It has been the resident of that office for the last four years – Mr. Trump – for whom I have not a scintilla of respect. He doesn’t deserve it.

After all, he himself has shown no respect for his office or those who’ve previously held it. He belittles virtually every one of his predecessors and compares himself favorably to Abraham Lincoln who – he griped – nearly lost the Civil War to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

And his perceived great popularity clearly makes him singularly meritorious – at least in his mind, or so he seems to boast on Twitter: “Wow, highest Poll Numbers in the history of the Republican Party. That includes Honest Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.”

Presidential political polling, I should note, only began in 1936.

It’s almost too easy to mock Trump, to treat him like a buffoon since he so often unwittingly acts like one. But his basic buffoonery, combined with his almost pathological hatred – jealousy? – of his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, isn’t enough to have been solely responsible for the wide-ranging damage he has succeeded in doing in just four short years.

It was when he turned the basics of day-to-day governing over to a well-organized bunch of anti-government zealots who’d spent years planning for just this opportunity, that the real destruction began.

Our environmental protection laws – built slowly over the last century – have been chiseled away by the Trumpsters.

Contracts for drilling in the irreplaceable Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, one of the last and most valuable wild places in the world, are on the agenda literally just days before Trump is ushered from the White House.

Fragile desert wildernesses are being prepared for demolition, drilling and excavation. The pioneering century-old Migratory Bird Acts are being chipped away. And pioneering efforts to explore and expand alternative fuel sources for future generations are being shoved aside for fossil fuel advocates.

Our international relationships are in flux, and not in a good way. Donald Trump has cozied up to notorious dictators and strongmen – clearly the types he admires and emulates – while he has insulted and belittled and marginalized our traditional democratic allies.

And our long-time championship of human rights around the globe has virtually ceased and barriers to entry to our country have risen.

All you tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free? All that wretched refuse of far-off teeming shores?

Fuggedaboutit! The homeless and tempest-tossed can go elsewhere. The lamp is extinguished, the golden door is shut.

This nation has always fallen short of its ideals – but at least it has aspired to them. No more, under Trump.

The last straw for millions of voters was the absolute hash the Trump administration has made of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Donald Trump didn’t personally bring the virulent virus here, but he bears a giant responsibility for the nation’s catastrophic response.

From the start he belittled it, squandering valuable time. He tried to politicize regulatory agencies, silencing scientists and public health experts. He even mocked people who wore masks!

He declined to support a concerted federal response, abandoning the matter to individual states, and promoted – demanded – the lifting of whatever few restrictions the states adopted.

The result of his abject total failure of leadership has been illusion and confusion, leaving Americans fatigued and divided – and dead and dying.

The result is that on any given day the United States is at or near the top of the list of dead. And there’s no end in sight, at least until the wholly incompetent Donald Trump is out of the White House.

Can Joe Biden, confronting the wreckage being left by the Trumpists, do any better? We can hope. He can’t possibly do any worse.

(“Monitor” columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)




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