From the November-December 2020 issue of News & Letters
by Robert Taliaferro
Finally, with the exception of the unsubstantiated rants and raves of Donald Trump and his minions, the most combative and divisive election cycle in our nation’s history is over and we now have a new President-elect, and our first female Vice President-elect, who is also a woman of color. The people of this nation came out in record numbers to elect Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, not only to ensure that Trump would not serve a second term, but that Biden would receive a national mandate by winning both the popular and Electoral College votes.
RAW WOUNDS OF RACISM
We live in a highly polarized nation. If Trump achieved little else during his tumultuous and divisive presidency, he has shown just how polarized it is and has always been. Even with the election of a Black president in 2008 and our first woman of color as Vice President in 2020, the systemic divisions in our country are raw wounds that seep the poisons of racism, prejudice, entitlement and hatred into this nation’s cultural waters.
Unfortunately, these factors are imbued into the character of factions within this nation, at all levels so that regardless of how much one fights to enact change, others fight just as hard to maintain the status quo of disharmony and discord.
BELIEVE TRUMP OR YOUR LYING EYES
“Narrowness of mind is often the cause of obstinacy,” wrote François de La Rochefoucauld. “We do not easily believe beyond what we see.” This is proven as we watch normally reasonable Americans believe in the myths, lies and fantasies that Trump continues to sow.
What is sad and frightening is how vehemently angry many Trump advocates have become. People seem to abandon reason, then become an obstinate mob. The deeper they find that they are in error, the more angry they become.
Trump is enabled by those supporters, feeding on their misaligned support like a Third World despot—or a desperate child seeking attention—in such a way that he is creating a dangerous precedent that threatens to destabilize our democracy simply because of a sadly pathetic desire to promote himself.
This is the saddest reality. Promoting the Trump brand is all that Donald J. Trump is concerned with, regardless of the rhetoric he spouts for the masses. He is much like any number of dictators in power around the world, as well as those throughout history; each of them classic psychological studies in narcissistic antisocial behaviors.
We can be assured that Trump will not fade into the twilight, not when he sees himself as some self-righteous Messianic figure of the far right, and not while he has any degree of support from his constituency.
It is said that a person’s (or a nation’s) worth is estimated by their character, moral values and how they conduct themselves in life. Let’s hope this is true, and that with Biden and Harris, we can repair the bankrupt morality that existed in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over the last four years.