Inauguration Day is perhaps the most special in American civic life. This day is the culmination of the original intent of our democracy, an expression of the will of the people in choosing their representative government. It is historic each and every time it happens. It is a day in which the victor and the defeated put aside results in the interest of the future, of the common good.
Loser acknowledges winner.
And importantly, winner acknowledges loser.
Today, Donald Trump willfully chose to remove himself from the dais. He chose not be part of history, not to be part of the legacy of America. Not surprising, his choice was altogether selfish: He abdicated involvement in the interest of himself.
And so it is with Trump. His selfishness knows no bounds. His concern for himself is without equal. We’ve known this for as long as we’ve known Trump. We allowed it because it was citizen Trump, not candidate or President Trump.
Five years ago, the selfishness of Donald Trump did not abate, it only grew as he took office. His disregard for the law, his willful disdain for courtesy, process and protocol, his casual trashing of science, his cruel use of the scapegoat, and indeed, his malicious manipulation of truth all find their source in his unquenchable thirst for himself.
Like contagion, his selfishness spread without limit: Politics. Diplomacy. Art. Sport. Education. Science. Religion. Hyper local matters such as zoning, voting, clean water and air. Even the personal choices of the colors of the clothing we wear were tainted with his stain. Left vs right. Rural vs urban. Me vs you. Us vs them. Red vs blue.
A year ago selfishness blossomed into full tragedy when he so nonchalantly brushed-off the threat of an unknown respiratory virus spreading like wildfire in another highly industrialized, densely populated, economically essential, extremely mobile population. Tragedy most plainly manifested itself in the the agonizing, unnecessary, lonely deaths of thousands of his fellow Americans. And once again, selfishly, he singularly avoided their fate because of his privilege.
He failed to sooth or even recognize the wounds of 400 years of shackles and whips. Not once did he pause to honor the newly dead. He aligned with enemies and dealt in lies. He created chaos as a sort of shield, thinking it would obfuscate the truth. He marched across a tear-gassed street to a house of God brandishing an upside-down Bible in the name of peace. All for himself. All for Donald. All for show. Never for us.
Selfishness begets some things. Tragedy, others: Truth subverted. 400,000 dead. Legions of followers, blindly voting against their own interests. Millions convinced of a false theft. Thousands marching to disrupt what they hold most precious. Hundreds arrested. Lives disrupted. Careers ruined. Five killed. All because of his narcissistic, ongoing rally cry.
All for him.
All because he could not, and cannot, place others before himself. Us. His country.
History will not be kind to him. His followers — lied to, conned, taken advantage of — will be lost, wounded, imprisoned and violent. He committed all of this knowingly. Scores of Americans dead, not at the hand of an enemy, but by this President’s willful neglect and unconscionable ego!
And this, this is the tragedy of Donald Trump.
May he rot in Hell. And may God Bless America.
I’m amazed that Black people have not burned this country down to the ground. White America has had its knee on their necks since the day they were stolen from their homes and shipped a world away.
Yet Black Americans keep going. They keep trying. They forgive. They find a way. I’m bewildered at the patience and the strength and the grace.
Yesterday was the latest insult. The angry white mob marches down those same DC streets where Black protesters were gassed. They march right up and in to the Capitol, unfettered, for the most part, in their attempt to hijack Democracy.
And meanwhile, outside my door, in my neighborhood, an alternate, smarter tack is taken. A move to actually strengthen Democracy. A movement that creates real, lasting change and achieves real, lasting power. A generations-long effort that makes America a better nation.
I’m ashamed that those achievements yesterday were once again overshadowed by the knees of ignorant white people.
Congratulations, Black America. Congratulations Stacey Abrams. Congratulations Raphael Warnock. Congratulations thousands of African-Americans doing the decidedly unglamorous work in rural Georgia. Your success is beyond overdue. You deserve it. We have a lot to learn from you.