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Mr. Fake President:

From first to last, Donald Trump, you were the worst — the worst President, by many magnitudes, “yuge” magnitudes all your own — in the proud annals of American history.

From your scurrilous peddling of the birther hoax about your infinitely superior predecessor Barack Obama, to your ignoble finish — inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, earning you a historic second impeachment! shirking any responsibility to organize the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, earning you the deaths of nearly 400,000 Americans! — well, if you wanted to be President in the worst way….

No need to recite the entire litany of your misdeeds and depredations: They are etched into the hearts and hides of the American people — at least the half who voted for your infinitely superior successor Joe Biden. As for the other half still saluting or excusing you — well, it’s good thing Americans still, somehow, believe in redemption. …


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“Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.”

America has long enjoyed the proud reputation of the world’s oldest and most vibrant democracy. We are — were — the City on a Hill, Bastion of Democracy, Leader of the Free World, pointing the way for the world’s nascent democracies, yearning to breathe free and self-govern.

No more. Not after last week’s terrifying insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, incited by the nominal steward of American Democracy, “President” Donald Trump. …


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If January 6, 2021 — the horrific day when mobs incited by “President” Donald Trump breached and rampaged our nation’s Capitol — is not to be forever remembered in American history as a day of shame and infamy and ultimately Tragedy, then lessons had better be learned, and learned fast.

Chief lesson among many: You cannot enter a pact with an amoral and power-mad leader and expect a good result — as Republicans have rationalized their dealings with Trump for far too long. Faustian bargains — those done with the Devil, to whom you cede your Soul— come to hideous ends. Lest any Republican quibble with the term “Devil,” rewind that tape from yesterday’s horrific events — from Trump’s fiery speech in the White House’s backyard inciting his foot-soldiers to march on the Capitol and “save America” (video here), to those thugs savaging our seat of government — and state for the record that this is all par for politics. No. It. Is. …


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Fourteenth in an ongoing series, “Notes from a Plague’Time”

Christmas 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

Some things never change: Even in a year altered beyond anything we could imagine — by the coronavirus pandemic — the Seaquists get to their Holiday letter the weekend before the Holiday. But this custom allows us to read the mail in a different way: By this point in a normal year, we are in receipt of 7–8 dozen Christmas cards, most with fulsome letters detailing family doings, travel, thoughts. But this year, no: The intake is half, with only a half-dozen letters. Instead, the mode this year seems to be: On one side, a photo of the family as we know them; on the other, the same grouping — in masks. …


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Thirteenth in an ongoing series, “Notes from a Plague-Time”

The following exchange is between my longtime friend, Sally Frame Kasaks, and me. Sally and I were roommates in college for two years and have remained excellent friends over the decades. Sally is retired from a successful career in women’s retail, serving as president, first, of Ann Taylor (which recently filed for bankruptcy), then Abercrombie & Fitch, and finally Talbots. She and husband Ivar split their time between their base in New York City and Florida. Sally and I maintain a weekly email exchange. This one began when I forwarded an article from The New York Times. …


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A Democrat’s heart sinks. The Republican response to President-elect Joe Biden’s national security team? Sen. Marco Rubio’s tweet states it for the unchanged — and skewed — Republican view: “Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumés, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline.” The same old categorical “thinking” (harping on elitism, for one), while blind to the reality that President Donald Trump actually accelerated our decline.

No Republican nod to what cheered this Democrat’s heart about Mr. Biden’s national security team: Each echoed the President-elect in announcing “America is back” — not only back in the world, but back to championing human rights, not autocrats; diplomacy, not insults; multilateralism, not trashing allies. Mr. Biden pledges to restore America, its “global leadership and its moral leadership,” doing so with sobriety and humility. …


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Dear Mom: It has been almost three years since you departed this world, and I think of you so often. But especially now, I think of you daily.

Why especially now? Because we just had a presidential election and the loser, the Republican incumbent, refuses to concede to the Democratic winner. Moreover, this sore loser is, as I write, going full-bore taking all sorts of undemocratic actions, mainly legalistic, to invalidate the election result as fraudulent. And get this, Mom: He even invited the top two Republican state legislators from Michigan, a swing state, to the White House — and no way was this visit about tea and scones. Clearly he wanted them to defy their state’s popular vote and switch to him. …


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“Character is destiny.” This wisdom, first voiced by the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, has been reinforced — just barely — by the close election of President-elect Joe Biden, a man broadly recognized as having character, integrity, decency.

Going down in defeat — again, just barely in so close an election (and not yet conceding) — is a man who, as to character, is truly a black hole, an emptiness vast beyond measure. Instead, this man’s rage, and raging ego, bring to mind the rage of Achilles — a rage so all-consuming and blinding that, in the words of the ancient Greek poet Homer, it “brought countless ills” upon his people. “His people,” in this case, are Republicans who blindly support Donald Trump in his denial of the election’s results — and the American people, whom Trump never bothered with, preferring his base. …


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Amin Tn / Unsplash

American Democracy, as much as any candidate, was on the ticket this 2020 presidential election. And the American people — bless them! — saved it. But just barely.

While Joe Biden will be our next President (thank God!), and Donald Trump will not (thank God!), the inescapable fact is: Trumpism won big and is here to stay. That is to say: Anti-democracy. And no countervailing “blue wave” rose up on Election Day to reckon with all of Trumpism’s malignities.

So, we rejoice, after four long days of electoral counting. But our rejoicing is tempered.

After four long, harrowing years of a President (Donald Trump) who knocked off every guardrail of American Democracy, with the approach of Election Day and the chance to make major course-correcting change, any democracy-loving American had to hope post-election headlines would declare, with exclamation point: “American Democracy Saved by the American People!” …


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Twelfth in an ongoing series, “Notes from a Plague-Time”

First, the good news: The unexpected bonus of running for office in a plague-time? When you “dial for dollars,” to ask for a donation, more often than not you will reach the person you’re calling, because: “Sheltering in place,” people are at home and they are answering their phones.

I start with this good news, because there will be more elections and, as epidemiologists tell us, there will be more pandemics. …

About

Carla Seaquist

Our times examined via politics, culture, morality. Author, "Can America Save Itself from Decline?" Playwright. Contributor, HuffPost. www.carlaseaquist.com.

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