Ahhhhh. That’s the collective sound of America exhaling — something most of us have been waiting to do for more than four years.
Suffice it to say: tensions have been high. The election broke all records in terms of voter turnout, from voters on both sides.
Do you know what else was high? Optimism. Congratulations, President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. It’s time to pop the champagne that’s been chilling.
Do you know what else has been chilling? The fact that this election was such a squeaker. Biden should have skated, waltzed, strolled — pick any verb that refers to nonchalance — to victory.
But no. Trump’s red-hat wearing, MAGA-deluded, Kool-Aid drinking, COVID-spreading, pistol-packing bunch showed up at the polls in nearly equal numbers to the Biden’s granola-munching, Commie-sympathizing, tree-hugging, yoga-practicing, Kumbaya-singing followers. That means that even after all of Trump’s lying, dirty dealing, dictator sucking, and climate-change-denying, nearly half of voting Americans believe that four more years of the Trump Train Wreck is ordained by God.
Don’t misunderstand. I am over the moon about our nation’s imminent return to stability and civility that a Biden/Harris administration will bring. I don’t mean to rain on our electoral victory parade. But it’s important to remember the words of writer and philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
With that in mind, let’s remember some of the numbers that will define Trump’s reign of terror.
As November wears on, nearly 250,000 Americans have died from a disease that Trump promised would magically disappear on November 4 (spoiler alert: it didn’t). That death count echoes the number of Iraqis that perished under the regime of Saddam Hussein. The number of new cases of COVID–19 in the U.S. reported during Election Week broke records nearly every day, according to Johns Hopkins University. Those figure mark the first times the country’s daily new cases reached six figures — the highest since the pandemic began.
Trump paid $750 in federal income tax in 2017. How about if next April 15, we all rig our tax returns to indicate we owe a mere $750 to the IRS? Surely we can calculate fear and loathing as a deduction.
White Nationalist organizations have increased by 55 percent in the United States. More than 1,000 active groups were counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, back in 2018. Imagine how many there are now. That’s a lot of Nazis, bad haircuts, and misspelled tattoos.
According to the New York Times, the Trump administration “has dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife, and toxic chemicals.” In just four years, Trump gleefully reversed and revoked more than 70 environmental rules and regulations under Trump. Add to that another 26 rollbacks that are still in progress. Wheeze deep.
Taking direct orders from the far, far-right Federalist Society, Trump has elevated 216 judges to the Federal bench, all of whom are 1950’s-level conservative. That figure could rise to 230 by the time Trump leaves office on (fingers crossed) January 20, 2021. Among those new judges is U.S. Supreme Court is Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Handmaid’s Tale prototype who took the seat vacated by the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. According to the dictates of her self-professed spiritual beliefs, Barrett had to obtain her husband’s permission to work outside the home.
No less than 545 would-be immigrant children are being held in cages on the U.S./Mexico border and will likely never be reunited with their parents. So much for family values.
A new book, All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator by Barry Levine, tallies no less than 26 incidents of “unwanted sexual contact” and 43 instances of inappropriate behavior committed by Trump. Those accusations detail assaults ranging from forcible, non-consensual kissing to the rape of a minor. But Barack Obama wore a tan suit that one time in the Oval Office. Scandal.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump has actively and intentionally thrown the LGBTQ community under the wheels of his rabid evangelical voter base, rolling back decades of progress made toward LGBTQ equality in the workplace, health care, the military, schools, housing, and our families. According to the Human Rights Campaign, his Health and Human Services Department literally erased transgender people by narrowly defining sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by birth.” How very J.K. Rowling.
Yet, the New York Times reported that twice as many queer Americans voted for Trump in 2020 as they did in 2016. WT actual LGBTQ F? We still have a lot of work to do.