As I watched CPAC convention workers roll in a life-sized golden statue of Donald J. Trump, I once again questioned how so many sane and sensible people could have closed their eyes to the events of the last four years and so eagerly swallowed the Trump Kool Aid?
What is it they see that I cannot see? Why would a majority of those in attendance favor Trump for Republican presidential candidate in 2024? How can they so easily forget a Covid-19 death toll that saw hundreds of thousands of unnecessary American deaths? Or a foreign policy that embraced Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung Un at the expense of our best and most important allies?
How can they forget the bottomless fount of lies with which the man drowned out the truth, and those voices that would speak the truth?
And, more than anything, how can they forget—or forgive—Donald J Trump’s refusal to accept his election loss, and his ensuing attempt at the first coup d’etat in American history?
There is much Donald J. Trump has done for our country, I will admit that. I look upon our 45th president as a test pilot of sorts, the man we called upon to test our nation’s most important institutions to help identify its cracks, stress points and unmanifest weaknesses. Flaws that, if left undiscovered, could easily lead to system failure or total implosion under the rule of someone just like Donald J. Trump.
Or someone worse. If that’s possible.
Now, thanks to Donald J. Trump, we know our democracy is more fragile than we ever thought. Its treasured institutions more subject to abuse and desecration than we ever believed possible.
Yes, the founders’ vision remains intact, but at what cost? Their much-debated safeguards and power balancing act have proven a poor defense to an autocrat who holds a majority in the Senate. An autocrat with the political power of a demagogue and the non-existent conscience of a snake oil salesman. Yes, the Constitution still stands, even after Trump, but how close did we come to its collapse?
How close did we come to a successful coup d’etat on January 6, 2021? How many more Republican lawmakers would the coup have required to successfully reject the certified and court-tested results of the 2020 election? How many more armed rioters would Trump’s coup have needed to more quickly breach the capital and thus more successfully catch or kill the leaders of our government?
How much more vulnerable would our armed forces have been to being commandeered for a coup had Trump not signaled his malign intentions by installing lackeys in place of the civilian leadership of the Defense Department within days of his November defeat?
Yes, Donald J. Trump left much behind as he ended his muddy boot rampage across our nation’s capital and its 245 years of peaceful transitions and civil polity. In addition to testing the strength of our constitution, he dismantled or destabilized many functions of our Federal government. He left behind a $3.1 trillion deficit unparalleled in modern times. And he left behind a nation polarized and schism-cized like never before.
And, oh yes, now there’s a golden statue.