Whew! The U.S. of A. has managed the peaceful transfer of power. It doesn’t sound like much, but I won’t underestimate this country’s accomplishment: we sent a fabulously gifted strongman packing, one installed in our ultimate seat of power. The guardrails of democracy were tested, and they held.
I say “fabulously gifted” because Donald Trump is, IMO, a spectacular one-off: a charismatic media maven cum amoral sociopath. Though some of my friends over the last several years, in their great anger, simply called him “stupid,” I never underestimated his machiavellian potential. To me, Trump was always calculating, cunning, hard-working (even driven), and anything but dumb. He has accomplished the previously unthinkable: to fashion a quasi-religious cult in the U.S.A. centered on his person, and using American politics as his medium. He amassed about seventy million ‘followers’ (the word fits nicely). I will admit that those followers are, in fact, typically rather dumb—or, if you prefer, unschooled and unsophisticated. Nevertheless, Trump’s proven ability as the Pied Piper of Poop has proven truly remarkable.
Despite his diabolical and self-serving gifts, The Donald will go down in history as an epic failure—the worst American president in history, the only one to be impeached twice, a one-term president who came to office when his party held the Presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, but who dropped out after four years with his party having lost all three. His volcanic presidency has left the Republican Party gutted and in disarray.
Trump has not only lost the presidency, but his brand is forever tarnished with the word he dreads most: ‘loser.’ And it looks increasingly likely that he will face serious criminal charges. Mitch McConnell—that almost equally machiavellian operative—realizes that the Republican Party must execute major self-surgery in order to excise the cancer that is Trumpism. McConnell knows that, for all Trump’s allure to his ‘base,’ the man’s popularity never reached the 50% threshold necessary to win national elections. Simple math dictates that he cannot be the Republican standard bearer.
Character is destiny, and the Donald’s self-serving, vicious, take-no-prisoners philosophy made him beloved to some and odious to many. As a Buddhist, I ascribe Trump’s inevitable downfall to karma. “Lies are like throwing sand against the wind. What intends to hurt others, hurts oneself.”
I’ve waited a long time for this day, January 20, 2021. As Joe Biden knows, the country is wounded and democracy needs a transfusion. We are in the midst of an epidemic, an economic meltdown, and a climate crisis. Much hard work lies at our doorstep. Yet we are not broken and a new day has dawned.
The world can and should breathe a sigh of relief.
For readers of this blog, I have plans to eventually finish the series “A New Account of Christian Origins” setting forth what can be learned regarding the ministry, trial, and crucifixion of Yeshu ha-Notrsi, a historically-attested prophet who lived in the early part of the first century BCE. On this website we have learned of Yeshu’s ancestry in the Hasmonean royal family, his phariseeism and flight to Egypt c. 90 BCE, and his return to Samaria during the reign of Salome Alexandra.
Yeshu ha-Notsri (literally: “Jesus the Nazarene”) was killed about 66 BCE. It is high time his story became better known.