I would have written this as my New Year post to start 2021, but I decided to wait a few days to officially close out 2020 with the finality of the year and the election’s final certification.
What a wild year. It started simple enough with a few news stories about a virus out of China. Almost nobody thought much of it, and it had virtually no news coverage. I must admit, as it started to get more buzz, I even joked about it. Everybody at work laughed a bit like just another Flu strain.
By early March, my wife and I went to dinner with my parents, and that first week of March, I was to work from home as a precaution to test our resiliency plans. By the end of those two weeks, my manager told me to stay working from home and my whole company, and I have been home ever since with no end in sight.
Over this past year, we have seen thousands die and millions infected. Not to make light of this, I have known people who died, and some became very sick in my family. Covid was the biggest event of the year. Sadly it did not have to be. Some did not take it seriously, many still don’t even at the highest levels of leadership, and I quote, “I did not want to start a panic” “I downplay everything.” These words could be about the most stupid or wreckless things I have ever heard.
However, that is not all that happened this year. California, which seems to have fires every year, had much worse ones. Australia was also on fire, devastating people, the environment, and wildlife. On the funny side, if you can call it that we had killer hornets and a case or two of the plague, I have to use a line from Babu Bhatt in a Seinfeld episode, “My God, the plague.” We impeached a president, which did not go far enough but more on that in a bit. We ran out of toilet paper. Kanye West ran for President. We had a lunatic doctor, supported by right-wing Media, Breitbart and Steve Bannon (yep, the same Steve Bannon who was a Trump advisor!). The doctor promoted demon seed and alien sex as the root of covid and other diseases, right there on the Capitol steps, the same Capitol assaulted yesterday – again, more on that in a bit. Armed protesters stormed the Michigan Capitol and planned to kidnap and kill the Michigan governor. There was more, but you get my drift on this. It was quickly the craziest and wild year I have ever witnessed. You would think it could not get more strange; 2021 had to be better; we can only go up. But you have heard the saying, “Hold my beer.” Fact can be, and it is stranger than fiction. It has never been more evident, so here we go.
We watched a president assault the first amendment and called all news fake when it disagreed with him for four years. We watched him cheat and use his power to advance his agenda. The U.S. Congress impeached Trump. Trumps’ lawyers, the best in the country, resigned because he lies. Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” quotes Trump’s lawyer John Dowd: “I can’t put you on the stand because you are a fucking liar.” This was the attorney defending him in the Mueller investigation. Had he taken the stand, he would be convicted. Trump fired more cabinet members or watched them quit than any president in history because they would disagree with him. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said they needed more people that agreed with Trump than disagreed. His quote, “Our goal was to hijack the Republican party.”
2020 ended with a historic election Trump lost, and even before the vote, he planted the seeds of fraud and corruption; there was none. Into the new year, he contested the election with lawsuits, 59 of them, and he lost them all. Georgia went through three recounts, and he lost them all. The Supreme Court is stacked by republicans, six of the nine by Republican presidents, and three by Trump. They rejected every challenge; even with all of that, the bullshit continued. His lackeys continued, and the cult grew. Yes, the cult. Trumpism is the definition of a cult.
Trump did accomplish the unthinkable. Nixon is no longer the most corrupt President; Watergate is a child’s party in comparison. Trump is a full-blown criminal. This President is contemplating a pardon for himself. Why would that be if he is innocent? Trump pardoned people in droves and still doing it. He has pardoned a convicted murder surviving life in prison.
Yesterday, we witnessed the U.S. Capitol under attack and breached an actual Coup d’état on U.S. soil; let that sink in. If the Coup were not bad enough, we are now talking implementation of the 25th amendment! My God, the removal of a president, because he is mentally incapacitated, fear he can’t do the job. The very same man with access to the nuclear codes. The last happened in the war of 1812 by British soldiers. The President of the United States urged this on just hours before it happened. It is on video, and he has been promoting it for weeks. This event took place only two days after he tried to coerce Georgia’s state to manufacture votes for him. For the love of God, how much more evidence do you need? In less than two days, we have Donald Trump, the President of the United States, on audiotape, coercing Georgia’s Secretary of State and on video urging people to advance on the U.S. Capitol to contest a fair election he lost. These asshats believed he would march side by side with them. Shameful. We should not be surprised by this; it was four years in the making. He never wanted to be President; he wanted power; he wanted to be Putin-like. After all, he always took Putin’s side regardless of our own intel to the contrary.
Donald Trump is not a republican; he has never been a republican. He is a nationalist, and in the process, he has destroyed everything about the Republican Party. He swore to uphold the Constitution and protect the country from enemies, both foreign and domestic. Trump has failed. He is the enemy.
So what does the long term impact mean from yesterday? What we saw is not a singular event for this country. This event impacts the world. We were special. We were a symbol for the world; we meant something. The world looked to us for direction, not just security – and that is gone. The last and only great free democracy globally, the only proper peaceful transfer of power the world has ever seen, is now gone. We are ordinary. We can no longer be the example for a struggling country for freedom. We can no longer go to war to defend the oppressed and promote American democracy. We are ordinary.
We have opened the door to Russia, China, Iran, or any other enemy that are now laughing, and they see an opening. They now see us as a failing democracy, and we are exposed. Our allies, which Trump did all he could to insult, are sad and concerned. A quote rumored to be from Benjamin Franklin, “A republic, if you can keep it,” we failed, the grand experiment is over, and we have failed.
All this damage has been promoted by his co-conspirators spreading fake news and baseless conspiracy theories, such as Rudy Giuliani and Fox News. They pushed the propaganda, and some bought it hook, line, and sinker. If you need more evidence, even Fox News started to pull away because it was too crazy and dangerous for them and what happened? Trump slandered the channel. He has new puppets waiting for his favor OAN and NewsMax. Don’t be fooled again.
If you thought 2020 was terrible, well, 2021 is off to a far worse start. Buckle up because the shit will get real. The United States has the most significant threat since the Civil War. Considering the rhetoric, I strongly doubt we can pull this back. We are not united any longer.
We can be a selfish and spoiled nation, and we can also be a great and compassionate nation. Who will we be now? No country has ever done more for the world. We can be a bit arrogant, and to a certain extent, we have earned that ability for what we have given or sacrificed for the world. With that comes enormous responsibility, and we have failed the world, we have shown our entitlement, we have taken everything for granted, and we have become spoiled. A corrupt man has divided us, and we allowed it. If this has not been enough evidence to look away from him, toss those MAGA or 45 hats, flags, shirts, socks, pins, and start with a clean slate, nothing will. Remember, this was a Coup d’état on American soil! This Coup was all encouraged by the United States President. That is third world crap.
My wife grew up in another country. She lived through a dictatorship. Since she was seven, she wanted to learn English and later come to this country. Not out of need, she had a good life with her loving family as an English teacher and translator. But she immigrated out of love and admiration for the U.S. – not only seen in good old Hollywood movie ideals – but also in the History books she read in school. Many even told her she should have been born here, given her bond with America. When the time was right, she moved and eventually paid a significant sum of money and effort to become a citizen. She loves this country and knows our history better than many people born here. I sat and watched a tear come to her eye watching this event. She is heartbroken. She came here because it is a beautiful and great country. She never thought that would be possible here. Think about that.
Can we get it all back? I have my doubts, but I am seriously considering spending my retirement years in another country.
I guess we will only know what we lost if we actually lose it.