Infuriating, But Not Surprising

Was anyone surprised when Trump, in an extraordinary hour-long call, pressured the Georgia secretary of state to “recalculate” or “find” enough votes in his favor to overturn the election? It did not surprise me in the least. The House of Representatives impeached Trump because he attempted to bribe the President of Ukraine into investigating the Bidens and withheld lifesaving aid from said county to put pressure on the Ukrainian President. He is a thug and a bully, and he thinks he is a dictator and acts like a mob boss more than he has ever acted as President of the United States. While the Senate did not remove Trump from the presidency in the impeachment proceedings, it is very apparent that Donald Trump ceased to carry out his duties as President in January 2020.

Trump knew about the COVID-19 pandemic that was about to overwhelm the world, yet he did nothing. He has failed to do anything to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Trump kept telling Americans that it would disappear and that a vaccine would be found soon. Yet, when a vaccine was found, he has failed to direct its distribution properly. According to the CDC, a mere 4.2 million people have received the initial vaccination dose as of Saturday. That number is far below the government’s goal of having 20 million people in the U.S. vaccinated by the end of December. He’s also failed to respond to the domestic terrorist bombing in Nashville on Christmas Day. One disaster after another has befallen the United States over the last year, and Trump has done nothing but continue to claim that the 2020 presidential election would be fraudulent and then continue to claim that the election was fraudulent after the fact even when no evidence can be found. He is desperate to stay in power at the cost of over 350,000 lives and democracy itself.

With the phone call on Saturday to the Georgia secretary of state, Trump has shown that he no longer has the mental capacity to be president for the next 16 days. The Vice President and Cabinet need to invoke the Twenty-Fifth Amendment and remove Trump from office because he has become incapacitated. Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment states:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

I realize that this is unlikely to happen. Pence and the cabinet are loyalists to Trumpism, and they will not do what is best for this country. They have refused to do so for the past four years, and that is unlikely to change. The Republicans will continue to pretend that their “naked emperor has on clothes” or, in this case, that a mentally deficient president is of sound mind and body. Trump has lost all sense of reality, and he is spiraling down and trying to take not only the Republican Party with him but the United States as a whole.

The Great Fire of Rome of July 64 AD probably began in the merchant shops around Rome’s chariot stadium, the Circus Maximus, on the night of July 19. After six days, the fire was brought under control, but before the damage could be assessed, the fire reignited and burned for another three days. In the aftermath of the fire, two-thirds of Rome had been destroyed. According to Tacitus and later Christian tradition, Emperor Nero blamed the devastation on the Christian community in the city, initiating the empire’s first persecution against the Christians. The event’s varying historical accounts come from three secondary sources—Cassius Dio, Suetonius, and Tacitus. The primary accounts, which possibly included histories written by Fabius Rusticus, Marcus Cluvius Rufus, and Pliny the Elder, have not survived. At least six separate stories circulated regarding Nero and the fire:

  • Motivated by a desire to destroy the city, Nero secretly sent out men pretending to be drunk to set fire to the city. Nero watched from his palace on the Palatine Hill singing and playing the lyre.
  • Nero was motivated to destroy the city to bypass the Senate and rebuild Rome in his image.
  • Nero quite openly sent out men to set fire to the city. Nero watched from the Tower of Maecenas on the Esquiline Hill singing.
  • Nero sent out men to set fire to the city. There were unconfirmed rumors that Nero sang from a private stage during the fire.
  • The fire was an accident that occurred while Nero was in Antium.
  • Rumor had it that Nero had started the fire. Therefore, to blame someone else for it (and thus exonerate Nero from blame), the fire was said to have been caused by the already unpopular Christians.

Nero was a horrendous emperor. He was a monster by any standards. While Donald Trump does not possess even a tenth of Nero’s power, he is trying to blame everyone else for his failings, much like Nero blamed the Christians for something that quite possibly was his own doing. While the Great Fire was probably an accident that burned a city that was primarily built of flammable material, Trump’s destructive behavior is not accidental but is caused by his madness and mental deficiency. What happens in tomorrow’s Georgia runoff election will determine if this country can move forward peacefully or if there will be stalemate and destruction for the next two years as Mitch McConnell and the Trumpists in the Senate attempt to continue Trump’s destruction of democracy.

Wednesday’s certification of the Electoral College votes should be a mere formality, but I think we can all expect (barring a miracle of conscience from Republicans) that the U.S. Capitol will become a circus for much of the day and possibly even into the morning hours of Thursday. Trump has made sure that democracy looks like a joke and that Democrats are the butt of that joke. However, the election results will be certified, and it will become official that Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the United States at noon on January 20, 2021. I do not doubt that Trump will continue to try to burn the country to the ground in the next sixteen days and that no Republican will try to stop him. The phone call Saturday should have ended his presidency if a normal administration existed. It should have ended Trump’s hold on the Republican Party, but it won’t because his Republican supporters have lost their fucking minds. We all need to pray that January 20 will be here soon enough and that Trump will go into hiding in disgrace. With the Republican Party as it is today, this is the best we can hope for, especially if Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock do not win tomorrow. If Democrats can take the Senate on Tuesday, then there is hope for the Biden administration ushering in a new era of equality and hope in the United States.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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