We can’t grasp how good it will feel when he’s finally gone
Even with Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 election, I know a lot of democrats are upset and scared. The Blue Wave failed to materialize. Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham, Joni Erst, and Susan Collins were reelected. President-elect Biden will have a major uphill battle against a conservative Supreme Court and obstructionist GOP congressmen who can’t even admit that he won the election. And most importantly, it’s incredibly upsetting and depressing that tens of millions of American voters are so divorced from reality that they somehow believe that Trump has been a great, competent president who deserves to be reelected in spite of his divisiveness, racism, dishonesty, misogyny, science/reality denialism, and numerous other defects and failures, the greatest of which has been his refusal to fight or tell the truth about a pandemic that will surely have killed more than 300,000 Americans by the time he is forced out of office. There are so many reasons to be upset and worried about the future of this country, even with Biden as president.
But as people opposed to Trump and what he stands for, let’s not lose sight of the most important thing, the number one priority for this election: Get rid of Donald Trump.
And we fucking did it.
We should be overjoyed about that fact alone. We accomplished our biggest goal. Recognize and celebrate that, because you deserve it. We all do. The world does. And keep reminding yourself of that so the feeling doesn’t fade. Because believe it or not, it’s going to get even better.
Unstoppable Change Is Coming
Yes, it’s true that President Biden will face unprecedented levels of obstruction throughout his administration. It’s obvious now that the GOP’s strategy is to tacitly encourage the claim that the election was rigged and Biden’s presidency is therefore illegitimate, thus justifying blanket opposition to everything Biden’s administration tries to do. This was the GOP playbook against Obama. Yes, this is frustrating, demoralizing, undemocratic, and completely unfair.
But Trump will be gone. So take a few seconds to think about the improvements Trump’s departure will make to your day-to-day life once he’s out of the White House — things the republicans will not be able to stop.
Trump’s tweets will no longer matter. You will no longer be forced to care about them and wonder what effect they could have on your life, the country, or the planet. His tweets will no longer set America’s domestic and foreign policies. A top news story will never again start with the phrase, “Today, President Trump tweeted…”
Trump will no longer represent America to the world.
You won’t have to hear Trump’s voice with its kindergarten-level vocabulary, intelligence, and maturity.
You won’t have to see his hateful orange face or ridiculous hair.
You won’t have to try to explain to your children how a cruel, horrible, and dishonest person could be chosen to lead the country.
And that’s just a start. Think of all these cretins who will soon be forced out of power:
Plastic American Psycho Jared Kushner
Queen of clueless entitlement Ivanka Trump
Enemy of education Betsy DeVos
Enemy of the free internet Ajit Pai
John Goodman/Fred Flintstone-looking DOJ enabler Bill Barr
Rudy “Nosferatu” Giuliani
Former neurosurgeon with apparent head injury (and COVID) Ben Carson
Banality of evil incarnation Stephen Miller
Election-tampering Postmaster General Louis DeJoy
Sons desperate for abusive daddy’s approval Don Jr. and Eric Trump
So “Christian” he’s afraid to eat alone with a woman Mike Pence
Coup-endorsing sycophant Mike Pompeo
And that’s just off the top of my head.
In addition, here are some other things that can happen through executive order without the approval of congressional republicans:
Treating the coronavirus pandemic like it’s real and dangerous.
Creating a national plan to fight coronavirus that’s based on science.
Treating white supremacists (not Antifa) as the domestic terrorists they are.
Treating climate change like it’s dangerous and actually happening.
Rejoining the World Health Organization.
Rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.
Treating allies like allies and enemies like enemies (not the other way around).
Securing America’s elections from foreign interference.
Treating immigrants like they’re humans.
Not separating immigrant children from their parents.
Treating systemic racism like it’s real and bad.
Treating diversity and inclusion like they’re good and needed.
Again, that’s just a start. Feels good, right?
The analogy I keep coming back to with voting Trump out is of escaping an abusive four-year relationship with a terrifying, violent, unpredictable, unrepentant monster.
Imagine that for every waking moment of those years, you lived in fear that this abuser may physically, verbally, or emotionally lash out at you for any or no reason. Every call or text message from them filled you with dread. They threatened everyone you know or care about. You flinched every time they spoke or entered the room, or if you even heard someone mention their name. You feared for your sanity and physical safety. And you knew in your heart that this person would never stop, would never get better, would never learn any lessons, and would never apologize. In fact, from everything you’ve seen and experienced, you knew with 100% certainty that they would only get worse. On top of all this, you’d lost your job, your car wouldn’t start, you’d become alienated from your family and friends, and you didn’t have health insurance.
You were facing a ton of problems. But make no mistake, your top priority was absolutely crystal clear: GET AWAY FROM THIS MONSTER.
If you didn’t, if that monster continued to dominate your life, you’d have no chance that anything else in your life would truly get better. That’s because any improvements you were able to achieve would always be at risk of being taken from you at any moment, for any or no reason. Getting this monster out of your life wouldn’t make all your problems magically go away, and you’ll likely be haunted and traumatized by your experience for years to come. But if your abuser is gone, you at least have a chance that something — anything — in your life could get better. Because your abuser wouldn’t be there to prevent it.
Trump is the unrepentant, unrelenting monster. And we got rid of him.
This makes me think about the end of a relationship I had with a woman I’ll call Stacy. While far from being what I’d consider an abusive relationship, for months Stacy and I had been arguing more and more and our problems were seeming more intractable, with few signs that things would improve. After one last blowout argument, I finally made the difficult decision to break up with her. We had been living together for a few months and she didn’t take it well (she had a pretty bad temper), but I told her that she was welcome to stay in the house until she found a place to live. I would sleep in the TV room and stay mostly in my office while she took the bedroom, and I would do my best to give her plenty of space and time. All I asked was that she let me know via text message if she would be spending time outside the house and when she’d be coming back.
Stacy ended up staying for a very tense, unpleasant month, quite a bit longer than I had expected. Even though there was enough room to comfortably stay out of each other’s way, there was always the chance that I would bump into her in the hallway or the kitchen. She had no close friends (a red flag I’d failed to appreciate) and refused to stay over with family who lived nearby, so she didn’t leave the house much. She would slam doors so I wouldn’t forget how mad she was at me. And when she did leave the house, she refused to comply with my one request to let me know when she’d be coming and going, which made it hard for me to relax even when she wasn’t around since I didn’t know if she’d be coming through the door at any moment.
Then, one day, without telling me beforehand, she was gone. I was standing out on my driveway talking on the phone with a friend when I noticed that Stacy and her mom’s boyfriend were carrying bags and boxes to his car. By the time I walked over to them, they had loaded everything and were getting in the car. I asked Stacy if she’d found a place to live and if she would be coming back to pick up more of her stuff. She told me tersely that she had everything and they drove off, not giving me a chance to say goodbye to her dog who I’d grown close to.
But when I went back inside the house and heard how quiet it was and saw that all her things were gone, an enormous wave of relief and joy washed over me.
It was at that moment that I realized how miserable I had been for the entire month Stacy and I had been reluctantly cohabiting. During that time, I had just been focusing on getting through it day by day, moment by moment, without really experiencing — let alone dwelling on — what I was feeling. It wasn’t until I knew she was gone and that I would probably never see her again that I realized how much of that month had been lived with a sort of perpetual dread hanging over me, an inescapable tension and unease caused by her presence. Even when she was in the bedroom with the door closed and not making noise, I still knew she was there, hating me, and that she could emerge at any moment. I could relax a bit when I was out of the house, but that was replaced by the worry that she might take that opportunity to rifle through my things or damage or steal something out of spite.
I should note that she didn’t give me back my keys or my garage door opener when she left, so I had to get my locks changed and reprogram the code on the opener. But it was a small price to pay for what I got — finality, relief, and peace of mind that I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
“We’re In the Endgame Now”
I didn’t fully realize how bad I had been feeling with Stacy there until I experienced how good it felt for her to be finally gone. And this is what I fully expect all of us will feel on January 20, 2021 when Biden is inaugurated and Trump departs from the White House for the last time. And soon after he arrives at his destination, he will have to start dealing with a torrent of lawsuits and investigations regarding sexual assault, defamation, tax evasion, campaign finance violations, obstruction of justice, debts owed, and more, all without the legal protections afforded a sitting president. While Trump is said to be planning another run for president in 2024 and perhaps his own right-wing propaganda network, my hope is that the weight of all his legal and financial issues weighing down on him will cause him to deteriorate rapidly, just like Harvey Weinstein did when the bill finally came due for his years of rape, assault, and sexual misconduct. Seeing Weinstein now, it looks like he’s aged twenty years in just two.
I know how hard it is to feel positive about anything right now. But as Dr. Strange said in Avengers: Infinity War, “We’re in the endgame now.”
Yes, just as at the end of Infinity War, it looks like things may get a lot worse before they get better, especially considering Trump’s total lack of interest in doing anything about the nationwide spike in COVID infections. And as we saw at the end of Avengers: Endgame, it may take a hell of a fight to finish off Trump and his minions. But I remain confident that we will indeed get there by January 20, 2021. Way more than the roughly 78 million Americans who voted against Trump won’t abandon American democracy and simply allow a coup led by perhaps the most unpopular, odious president in American history. And each day, it seems like more republican congressmen are accepting that Biden has indeed been fairly elected and, for the sake of the country and its security, a smooth transition to a Biden administration must take place. Meanwhile, despite what Trump continues to tell his worshippers, reality seems to be setting in at the White House as all their frivolous lawsuits are summarily thrown out.
So hold on, everyone. Much like with a divorce, things often get worse and more stressful before they get better. Even with the divorce papers filed, there are still fights to be waged over alimony, child custody, assets, and new levels of ugliness and dishonesty dragged out into the open.
But if you want something to end, you have to start ending it — and that’s what voters did to the Trump presidency by mail, at dropboxes, and in person at polling places all across the country. We’re in the endgame now, with something truly wonderful — perhaps even better than what we experienced when Biden’s victory was called on November 7th and Americans literally danced in the streets — awaiting us, despite how bad and scary things feel now.
And if my experience is any indicator, we won’t know how good it’s going to feel until the moment it happens.