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Est. April 5, 2002

Nov 19, 2020 - Issue 842
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Some believe that the national nightmare is over, now that President Trump has been shown to be what he has been most of his life, a loser. But the nation may prove to be just taking a break from the nightmare, until half the populace awakens from its fitful slumber.

Yes, Joe Biden won decisively and Trump lost decisively, but the current president is prone to tantrums, as he must have been as a child. He has not conceded and it’s not likely that he will concede. It’s not likely that he will even show up for the inauguration of Biden as president of the United States. Even though it galls Trump to see that fact in print, he should act as an adult for once and show up. He could even wish Biden well.

The destruction of large swaths of the country during Trump’s four-year tenure as president will not be repaired or healed for a long time, and neither the nation nor the planet will make a quick recovery. The president has split the country not only down the middle, but has divided the two halves into combative splinter groups. It’s a feat not accomplished by a president in recent memory, if ever.

Even if Joe Biden, the president-elect, were a hard-charging and wildly popular political figure with bright and innovative ideas for dealing with, among other things, structural racism, the coronavirus pandemic, the faltering economy, and the climate crisis, he would have a very tough time bringing the vast population of Trump supporters together with the plurality of people who voted for him. The only bright spot is that he will bring onto his team young, energetic, and experienced people who he will praise and support for telling him the truth about what is happening at home and around the world. And, if America is lucky, he will not employ sycophants and incompetents, as Trump has done every day of his presidency.

It’s a very tall order, especially when you look at the aftermath of Election Day. There have been seemingly endless days of Trumpian pouting and posturing, threats and lawsuits and, above all, the president’s refusal to concede the election, because that marks him as a loser. Most adult humans would pick themselves up, confer and commiserate with family, friends, and advisors, admit defeat and wish the winner well and offer to help make for a smooth transition, all for the good of the country. But Trump is not that kind of a man. In fact, he’s not much of a man.

What he has done is stir up the bulk of his 70 million-plus voters into a frenzy, to the extent that some of his “opponents” have had to have extra protection because of the threats on their lives and the lives of their families. People he sees as opponents, if not enemies, are, among others, Dr. Anthony Faucci, Democratic governors, Democrats in general, and let’s not forget his declared “enemy of the people,” America’s free press, that which is called for in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Perhaps the largest contingent of Trump supporters is evangelical Christians, the fundamentalists that have overlooked his shoddy character, his arguably provable high crimes and misdemeanors (no one will know until he loses the protection of the office he holds for another few weeks), and his general demeanor of an authoritarian, rather than a leader in a democratic republic. He, and they, are quite sure that he qualifies as one of them. Looking from outside of that bubble of believers, it appears that he and they are meant for each other. They overlook his kind of life and character and he overlooks their hypocrisy, as long as they provide him with a solid voting block and support at his rallies, which are like lifeblood to him, as he requires direct and constant adulation and praise and their form of love.

A sizable percentage of them might be in line with the thinking of Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, the state with the highest rate of positive Covid-19 tests in the country, if not the world. The current rate is 58 percent, a remarkably awful statistic in terms of public and individual health. She is an adherent of the Trumpian view of the pandemic and life in general: No masks, no avoiding crowds, and relentless bullying of those who adhere to the three simple steps to avoid contracting Covid-19. In July, Trump held a maskless, tightly-packed rally at Mount Rushmore in that state and, about a month later, Noem’s state was host to about a half-million bikers at the Sturgis motorcycle rally that lasted more than a week. She welcomed all of that.

In late October, at a Trump rally in Nebraska, Governor Noem proudly told the largely maskless crowd: “My people are happy. They’re happy because they’re free.” For most sentient human beings, freedom to contract the deadly virus is hardly the definition of free, but they are happy to contract the virus if that means they’re free.

Few can determine the reason that Trump even came as close as he did to Biden’s vote total, but there is the problem for the president-elect. He has to try to bring together two huge factions of the American electorate across a wide chasm that is made wider every day that Trump remains in the White House. He is making it as difficult as possible for Biden to even govern as a normal politician, let alone be a miraculous peacemaker to a divided nation.

A big problem for Biden is his faith, Catholicism, and what the Trump faction believes about him and it. The New York Times, about a week after the election, quoted one evangelical: “He (Biden) doesn’t stand for Christianity at all; maybe he will prove me wrong. It scares me. He’s not going to do everything that Trump did.” She could be speaking for a multitude of evangelicals, who firmly believe that Trump did great things for their faith and that he’s one of them. By the millions, they too believe that Trump was the victim of a corrupt election process, even though officials and expert witnesses across the board declared this month’s election to be the best, most accurate in U.S. history, and that includes officials of both Republicans and Democrats. That has just made Trump more wizened intellectually, if that is even possible. His post-election tantrums are damaging to what he has left of democracy in the country, whose flag he loves to wrap himself in. But, that’s as far as his patriotism goes.

You know that Biden will have a hard time convincing the Trump half of the electorate that a Catholic can govern, since he will be only the second Catholic to become president, after John F. Kennedy. And, that’s because even pundits and other observers don’t have a good handle on the faiths of either Catholics or evangelicals. One of them, earlier this year, described Vice President Mike Pence as having “converted from Catholicism to Christianity.” That’s what Biden will be dealing with in his attempt to bring a shattered nation together. Good luck, president-elect and godspeed. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.

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Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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