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The Biden presidency begins

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This is a day to celebrate. An historic date. We’ve come to the end of the most digusting, deplorable epoch in modern U.S. history, and overthrown a psychotic monster and his thieving family.

More than four years ago—in September, 2016—I declared on my blog that I was abandoning wine as its central theme and adopting a new focus: to resist Trump. Since then, I’ve posted almost every day, seven days a week, and 95% of my posts have been about Trump, or his Republican Party, or individual rightwing thugs in that party. It was around the beginning of 2017, after Trump had become president, that the term “The Resistance” came into widespread use. It was gratifying to know that I wasn’t alone in my opposition. Tens of millions of Americans detested Trump. They did so on two levels: on the policy front, they understood how harmful his positions were on everything from immigration to civil rights to global warming to gay rights to income inequality to foreign affairs. And on the personal level, they saw the feral, unnatural sociopathy of this disreputable hack, and they instinctively revolted from it, the way you’d draw back from a cockroach.

I never doubted that we would win in the end—“we” being sane, caring, rational, loving Americans. I always saw the fault lines fracturing the Republican Party. Talk about strange bedfellows! Evangelical Christians (surely a cult, if ever there was one) making nice with white supremacists, Wall Street elitists and Heritage Foundation conservatives. That was a coalition that couldn’t last. And it didn’t. It might have limped along long enough to get Trump re-elected to a second term, but in the end, Trump and his family proved so incompetent, so stupid that a significant number of people who voted for him in 2016 thought, “This can’t go on,” and abandoned him in 2020.

Stupidity always has characterized the modern Republican Party. Look at the Insurrectionists of Jan. 6. They were so dumb, they thought they could pull of a coup d’état by invading the U.S. Capitol. Coups aren’t always successful, but even the ones that fail (such as Russia’s August, 1991 coup against Gorbachev) at least try to play by rational means. The coup plotters in Russia established a firm foothold in the military. They took over government offices around the country, as well as media centers (broadcast and print). They enlisted eight of Russia’s top political leaders in the conspiracy (the equivalent of our Cabinet, CIA and the Republican National Committee). Armored personnel carriers and paratroopers took over Moscow. And yet, even with all that preparation, the coup failed, for a simple reason: it’s really hard to overthrow the government of an industrialized Great World Power.

Compared to the Russian coup plotters, the Jan. 6 Trump plotters were a nursery of diapered babies. What were they thinking? I don’t mean the majority of the ones that invaded the Capitol or surrounded it with their MAGA flags; I mean the leaders, the ones who were giving the orders. Even supposing that they knew they could get into the Capitol building (because they had inside help), what did they think would happen next? Did they actually believe they’d hang Pelosi and Pence while CNN’s cameras whirred? Did they think their compatriots around the country would take over the State Buildings in Lansing, Baton Rouge, Sacramento, Albany? Did they think the Pentagon would just sit back and let them get away with it? I mean, their stupidity was breathtaking. Again, I’m referring to the coup leaders: it’s a given that the rank-and-file of the right are mindless stumps. But the Steve Bannons and Stephen Millers, the Rudy Giulianis and Donald Trump Juniors, the Kimberly Guilfoyles and Sidney Powells: these people supposedly have high IQs. Their dumbness is unfathomable.

They’re gone now. Oh, sure, they’ll crawl around the edges of decent society for years to come. The tabloids will report on them, and rightwing fringe media will fawn on them. But in large part, this deplorable crowd is gone. They’ve had their moment in the sun; the sun has set on them, and they are now sentenced to doing their dirty deeds in the darkness from which they emerged. Shunned by civil society, loathed everywhere, they’ll seethe and simmer for the rest of their lives, waiting for some stolen laptop, some leaked email, some shocking revelation to substantiate their lies. But nothing can substantiate a lie.

I’ve seen a lot of presidential history in my life: JFK’s election. Obama’s election. And, yes, Reagan’s election. But seeing Biden get elected is stunning: finally, a decent, patriotic, loving and compassionate person in the White House. I’m so glad that the vast majority of Americans have realized what I (and many others) have been warning about for four years. I’m glad that History is already recording Trump as the worst president ever. I’m sad we had to suffer his lawless reign. But if there’s any good to be had from this tragedy, let it be that never again can we let this happen.

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