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Est. April 5, 2002
 
           
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The fabric of the U.S. has been irreparably damaged and much of it has been destroyed by the antics of a very sick individual that we have called the president of the country, by the quirk of the Electoral College, a leftover idea from the 18th Century.

What Donald Trump has left in his wake is a nation in tatters, just pieces of institutions that might have been headed in the right direction of democracy and freedom, but he ruined all that by ruling as if he were a monarch and not just an elected politician.

W.E.B. DuBois (William Edward Burghardt DuBois) was an American sociologist, socialist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor, and in the “forethought” of his classic book, The Souls of Black Folk (1903), he wrote:

Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here at the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line. I pray you, then, receive my little book in all charity, studying my words with me, forgiving mistake and foible for sake of the faith and passion that is in me, and seeking the grain of truth hidden there.”

His words were an explanation and a warning. The problem of the Twentieth Century is “the problem of the color line,” which at that time was pretty well visible to all. Having been born a few years after the Civil War ended, and even though he had been born in Great Barrington, Mass., he had seen the treatment and abuse of people of color in the four decades since the Emancipation Proclamation.

The color line was rather stark then, but some progress had been made in the middle part of the 20th Century, with civil rights movements and great civil rights leaders, the Black Power movement, along with untold numbers of white Americans who did heed the words of DuBois and sought change along with their brothers and sisters of color.

Five years ago, along came a presidential candidate with not an hour of government experience or any success in legitimate business dealings, Donald J. Trump. His poisonous, narcissistic personality and mental health problems, along with his con-man modus operandi, were something that had not been seen in American politics before. As we wrote here in the week after the 2016 election, a large part of the voting populace wanted to throw a monkey wrench into the political and governmental works and the monkey wrench was named Donald Trump. He did what his voters wanted and immediately started to halt the works of government and to begin the destruction of the nation’s institutions, even those which provided a promise of human progress. None of that mattered to a president who believed he was elected king, and that’s the way he ruled his administration and rode roughshod over the other two branches of government, the legislative and judicial. In that effort, he was aided by his boy in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who acted as Trump’s gofer, rather than the leader of a third of the federal government. And, that was supported by most of the Republicans in power.

It has been a chaotic administration for four years, with people leaving and being fired and replaced, especially those who did not display enough blind loyalty to the would-be monarch. No one could stop his head-long plunge into the abyss of his incompetence and malfeasance. His temper tantrums and self-pity were legend and the country suffered, but all the while, his base never wavered in its support.

While there had been some success in erasing some of the American color line, Trump’s racism, xenophobia, and hatred of “the other” brought back that color line of which DuBois spoke with a vengeance. That line is now darker and wider than it has been and Trump’s statements and actions lured the haters and bigots out from under their rocks around the country. Like the genie, those sentiments and actions won’t easily be put back into the bottle. It will be a struggle not seen before for those who seek tolerance, understanding, kindness, and cooperation, to bring a semblance of peace to a very disturbed nation.

This brokenness is a big part of Trump’s legacy and the hatred he has stirred up will be with us for a long time, no matter what tricks he tries to play after he is ejected from the White House. That he has committed crimes and misdemeanors while in office matters little to his base and the Republicans who have allowed him to run rampant over the rights of citizens and others. The moral bankruptcy of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), and scores of other Republicans has been on full display for much of Trump’s tenancy in the White House. Trump held these same people in utter contempt, before the nation, during the presidential primary debates, calling them names and degrading them. Yet, they all came to heel after Trump was elected and threatened to use the power of the presidency to break them down even further if they strayed from his line of twisted thinking.

Just this week, he committed what is probably the greatest specific crime of his presidency, when he spent an hour on the phone with Georgia officials trying to cajole, beg, and threaten them into “finding” enough votes to make him the winner in that state. He was gently assured repeatedly that Georgia’s numbers were correct and that he was, indeed, the loser, as he has been in scores of other failed court cases that his lapdog lawyers filed on his behalf around the country. They were all tossed out of court, because he was the loser and is a loser who will not face the reality of his loss. In a few days, he will no longer be president and the protection of that office from most criminal charges will disappear and he will be subject to the investigations of crimes, civil and criminal, in his former home state of New York.

How did we even get a creature such as Donald Trump as president? Robert Freeman, writing in CommonDreams.org, on Nov. 24, has one credible explanation:

...Yes, the irretrievably racist, the criminally credulous, the willfully ignorant, the perennially aggrieved, and the pathologically na´ve that make up the core of Trump’s base will be enraged. But they will be enraged no matter what, and they are unpropitiable. Cowering before their threatened ire is to capitulate to the bully, the charlatan, the haters, those who can only destroy. It will sanctify might makes right and surrender our principles, our ideals, our self-respect, and our dignity. It WILL be the end of the country.

One of the surest failures that gave rise to Trump was the refusal of the Obama administration to bring to justice those bankers who had wrecked the economy in the runup to the Great Recession and profited so handsomely from its destruction. While more than 10 million working and middle class people lost their homes to foreclosure, Obama transferred $16 trillion to the same wealthy bankers who had caused the collapse. It was the truest testament possible to his neo-liberal loyalty to the wealthy at the expense of the people. People remembered that and they voted against the party that had done it. That is a good part of the reason we have Trump in office today. Violations of the law—especially assaults on the government itself—must be held accountable. Trump’s depredations against the republic are far more insidious and consequential than were Obama’s because they go to heart of whether we are going to even have a republic. And they threaten to loom, menacingly, into the future, to ensure that no effort to heal the country can succeed.

Trump must be denounced and defrocked through the fair, transparent means that are given us to deal with such crimes, means that lie at the very heart of our collective existence. If we refuse to utilize them, then we decline to own them. That is the only way the country can be saved.

Joe Biden, as he takes the reins of power as president of the U.S., is inheriting a nation divided, as it hasn’t been divided since the Civil War. That is Trump’s legacy. But it is not just the nation that is divided, Trump’s toxic pall over the nation has divided families, as well. That is the magnitude of the divisions that he is leaving for a new president to clean up and renew. Biden can’t do it by himself. He will need the support of millions of Americans who can overlook the stranglehold in which Trump has held their fellow citizens, mind and body, and reach out in peace to those unfortunates. Nothing less than a full-press peace effort will do to save the remains of the once great nation.


BlackCommentator.com 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:
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