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Insurrection Against Democracy

Author: Gary Hart

The Capitol, both Senate and House, is the place where laws are made by people elected by their constituents to do just that.  For those of us given the privilege of passing laws the two Chambers were, in a secular sense, hallowed places.  They were hallowed not by religious tradition but by human history.

It is often said that the United States and American democracy are an experiment.  And it is still so.  But the experiment is now almost 240 years old and it is still ongoing.  In 1776 we inherited a Republic if we “could keep it”, if we performed our duties of civic virtue, protected the commonwealth, respected popular sovereignty, and perhaps most important, resisted corruption.

Despite our terrible Civil War, recessions and depressions, racial struggles, and a continuing effort to enlarge our democracy inclusively, then came a period of reversion.  Up to 2016, democracy triumphed over adversity and conflict.

But then, a sweeping tide of nationalist populism and authoritarianism spread across the democratic world, including the United States.  It often employed code words such as “make America great again” and “there are good people on both sides”.

But beneath the benign cover up, undemocratic undercurrents were at work.  Covert recruitment of religious groups, racially biased organizations, authoritarian worshipers, right wing militias, and a welcome for any and all who harbored a grievance of one kind or another were all brought under the banner of “good people” regardless of their rejection of the democratic nature of the United States Government.

Our inclusiveness, so central to democratic government, tolerates sometimes deep differences of opinion, except when some opinions threaten the very nature of democracy…government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  That is the definition of popular sovereignty.  But “the people” includes women, minorities, liberal and conservative, different religious faiths, and much else that defines each of us as decent human beings.

What arrived in our government in 2016 was an attempt to reverse the steps to widen democracy beginning with equality for women, then economic justice, then racial inclusiveness, then humane immigration efforts, and much else.  The effort to “make America great again” was reversing much of this inclusive democratic progress, hard fought and hard won over decades.

It was and is nothing more nor less than an abandonment of social justice and an effort to reverse the achievements that did represent a greater America.

Then, in the next quadrennial national election, the leader of the effort to turn back American history and democracy lost. He claimed fraud fraudulently.  He refused to accept the verdict of the American people and peacefully transfer power.  Instead, he rallied the most extreme forces of retrenchment and directed them to overthrow the Constitutional process for declaring the transfer of power as it was being carried out in the nation’s Capitol.

He knew exactly what he was doing and the insurrectionist mob he summoned and directed knew exactly what he wanted them to do.  And they did their best to do it and lives were lost in one of the most infamous days in America’s history.

Rather than end this insurrection, it remains alive and hiding in plain sight.  American greatness must now be defined by a nationwide rejection of the forces of anti-democratic darkness.

If not, then it is bound to happen again.  For, we must “keep our Republic” every day.

A Turning Point

Author: Gary Hart

.A Turning Point

It is too soon for a consensus to form over the meaning of the events of the 6th of January, 2021.  One thing is certain, however.  For the first time in our nation’s history, our Capitol was besieged by insurrectionists.

For some it was no more than a frat prank that got out of hand.  In the new denial culture, a United States Senator claimed that he did not see an armed insurrection.  This claim despite the trashing of his Senate Chamber and rummaging inside Senate desks, possibly his own.

In this Senator’s eyes, “armed” is a term reserved for firearms, not clubs, baseball bats, metal flag poles, battering rams, and the loss of lives.

And “insurrection” is apparently beyond the scope of efforts to capture, and possibly murder, the Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House, and assault on fellow Senators and Members of the House.  Security cameras captured film of his Senate colleagues running down back hallways to avoid a mob out for blood, but that does not rise to the elevated level of insurrection.

For most of the sane world, however, this domestic riot did qualify for the category of a day that will live in infamy.

It continues to shock the conscience of serious citizens who refuse to accept the protective brush off designed to absolve a deranged president who had for sixty days claimed the national election to have been stolen, his own performance a landslide win, and massive voter fraud, all without scintilla of proof, who summoned the mob to Washington prevent the Constitutional duty of counting electoral votes and declaring a new presidency, and who saw the lawful transfer of power as a barrier to his own autocracy.

But, we live in a time when even the most shocking historical events are superseded within hours by stories of power struggles within the Republican party, the flow or lack thereof of Covid-19 vaccines, and elected officials censured for telling the truth and doing their duty.  Perhaps this hurly-burly was best summarized by a Republican official in Pennsylvania castigating his Republican Senator for voting to convict Trump of incitement to insurrection by saying, “we did not send him to Washington to do what is right.”

There is cause to wonder whether a whole society has been so desensitized that it cannot come to grips morally or politically with acts of insurrection, the overthrow of Constitutional and societal norms, and outright criminal behavior by the highest officers in the land.  All this is so far beyond our experience and even our imagination that it cannot be absorbed individually or collectively.

And how is this stunning incident being explained to the nation’s children and young people either by their teachers or their parents?  It simply cannot be brushed off as just another spat in Washington by unruly politicians.  A generation of young Americans saw adult Americans destroying the citadel of democracy while howling for blood.  And blood they got.  People died.  We had a prolonged glimpse of the breakdown of law and order, of madness, of barbarity, of mass insanity.

And yet, a United States Senator now says that he saw no armed insurrection.  He should be asked how he would describe how that might look.

All this to ask, does the 6th of January represent a turning point for America and for democracy?

And for those of us who think about political systems philosophically and thematically, how will our democracy respond to the breakdown of our democratic ideals and, even more importantly, have we lost the Republic Benjamin Franklin said was our responsibility to keep?

The Second Judgment

Author: Gary Hart

Events of consequence face two judgments.  The first is immediate.  The second comes later.

For instance, it seems commonly assumed by insiders that the United States Senate will fail to muster the two-thirds vote, including all Democrats and seventeen Republicans, to convict Donald Trump of incitement to insurrection against the government of the United States.

Predictably, press coverage will produce colorful phrases like “dodged a bullet” and “emerged unscathed” from his second impeachment trial, suggesting a Trump victory.  This is politics as it is often treated in sports terms.

The second judgment, however, takes time, context, and reflection.  This is the judgment of history.  The first president to be impeached twice will not go down in the history books as a clever manipulator who sought to overthrow his own government and got away with it.

No, the cold eye of history will judge Donald Trump as a presidential disaster whose only trick was to present himself to a legion of the dispossessed in mind if not in body.  To move to the front of this legion of the resentful, frustrated, and marginalized requires only demagoguery.  This man comes by that naturally.

He got away with it until he sought to summon that legion to overturn a democratic national election that was not fraudulent, despite his twisted assumption that the only way he could lose is if it were so.  Having failed in bullying various State election officials, many of his own party, and having failed in more than 60 attempts to have the judiciary, composed somewhat of judges he appointed, his final recourse could only be to assault the Congress of the United States fulfilling its Constitutional duty.

The House impeachment managers presented stunning evidence of two things: his months’ long preparation of the assault through repeated false claims and rhetoric; and videos of the rampaging mob, acting on his instructions, desecrating what most Americans, particularly those of us who had the honor to serve there, consider the secular cathedral of democracy.

Calling oneself a patriot, waving a flag and shouting vulgarity, does not make it so.  The patriots were the uniformed guards who fought to protect the edifice and those who served in it and the few who gave their lives to the mob of vandals.

Confusing events rarely lead to a unified historical judgment.  The only confusion of the attempted destruction of the Capitol and possible murder of the Vice President and Speaker of the House was who brought it about, who was responsible.  That would be the President of the United States.

On this question, the cold eye of history will face little confusion.  Despite his promise to lead the legion in its assault on the Capitol and its attempt to prevent the Congress from performing its Constitutional duty, Trump knew there would be bloodshed and he doesn’t like the sight of blood, particularly when it might be his.

History’s judgment will not take long.  It will hold accountable the man who organized an attack on the government of the United States and its Constitution.

I hope I live long enough to see it.

 

 

 

Assault on Democracy

Author: Gary Hart

Ask any number of Americans what they think of about democracy and they will say “voting”.

That is the way we select our leaders.  In local elections, that is often the way we collectively decide on issues of local importance.  Voting is democratic.  Each vote counts.  And each vote is equal to every other vote.

That very basic common understanding should be endorsed and supported by every American.

That being the case, then why are legislatures in virtually all Republican controlled States taking up proposals to suppress the vote, to make voting more difficult?  This is directly contradictory to democracy.

Proposed measures include elimination of absentee ballots (except in extreme situations), more stringent voter identification requirements, restrictions on voting sites, and a host of other hurdles.

In the past, these measures were usually justified as preventing voter fraud.  A commission composed of those who believed in widespread fraud appointed by President Trump disbanded soon after its composition due to lack of evidence.

The true reason, ironically offered by that same President known to be economical with the truth was: “If we let everybody vote, no Republican will ever be elected.”

There you have it in a nutshell.

This assault on democracy, the very heart of democracy, is to squeeze out widespread voting, make it more difficult, hold down the turnout, and give Republicans a leg up.

Democrats do better in cities with largely diverse communities and, increasingly in suburbs where white women particularly are switching to the Democratic Party and in education centers around the country.  Republican voters are found in the South, in rural areas, among those who believe, usually wrongly, that jobs are being taken by illegal immigrants, gun owners, and the aggrieved.

This pot must be stirred up and that can best be done by encouraging, not discouraging, people to vote.

Voter suppression was used, largely but not exclusively in the South, to make it more difficult, even impossible, for Black Americans to vote.  The voting rights act and other legislation eliminated most of these barriers.  But even limiting voter registration sites and polling places in minority neighborhoods is meant to accomplish the same thing.

In the 21st century it is difficult to believe one of two major parties wants to restrict democracy.

America is divided into two political cultures.  This is not the first time.  Before and after our founding we were divided between the Federalists, largely in the North, and the Democrats, largely in the South.  Thereafter, this same regional division was projected onto the issue of slavery and the tragic Civil War ensued.

Race has been a deep divider.  So has gender, immigration, military engagement, and religion among much else.  Given our breadth and diversity, division is almost guaranteed.  Deep polarization is thereafter almost assured.

Late twentieth and early twenty-first century divisions somehow seem different.  When conservatism became a “movement” under Ronald Reagan, the Republican party became doctrinaire, rigid, and increasingly bitter.  What sense of humor and even detachment it might once have had has disappeared.

Does anyone remember one instance when Donald Trump laughed?

It is a little difficult to preach against “big government” when a deadly pandemic is rampaging through the land and hospitals are overrun with dying patients. Mr. Trump tried to ignore it and pretend it would go away and he is now in Mar-a-Lago.

We Democrats face different problems.  We are as usual a collection of causes demanding attention whether over Black Lives Matter, the Green New Deal, internationalism, concern for climate, gender equality, free education, and the list continues to grow.

But the new American division surfaced brutally on January 6th when a presidentially directed insurrectionist mob overran our own Capitol and Congress.  Lives were lost.  This is a turning point.

Senate Republicans will refuse to convict the former president despite his culpability and ignorantly claim that “everyone is to blame.”  Despite conservative arguments that the Democratic party is now “socialist” (in their desperate need to create equivalence where none exists), no one in the young progressive caucus in the House has been seen breaking any doors or windows or trying to smuggle weapons into Congressional chambers.

The conservative embrace of authoritarianism and covert messaging to right wing populist militia and movements has not been met by any lurch to the left among progressives.  If anyone thinks “defund the police” is the equivalent of the Trump “attack the Congress” rally, they don’t know Joe Biden as well as I do.

The political slogan of our day is “gridlock”.  It is deeper than that.  The two parties are rearranging their coalitions and alliances.  Conservatives seek to add white nationalists to evangelicals, anti-abortionists, the NRA, and anti-immigrants.  Progressives still have not produced a manifesto of their beliefs and principles.

The chasm between these two Americas has made us stagnant and confused.  It has stymied productive advancement.  It has eroded American leadership in the world.  Joe Biden’s effort to restore our role in the international community will fail if there is just one oar on the boat.

It must be repeated yet again.  Bringing the two cultures closer together again must not be left to political parties alone.  There is something called civil society.  It is composed of businesses, religious institutions, schools and universities, community leaders, and many others.  Political parties are now locked into a struggle for power and seek to isolate those on the other side.

All elements of American civil society must wake up and rise up if we are to keep our Republic.

 

 

Praying for the Dawn

Author: Gary Hart

Serious thought must be given right now by Americans concerned for their country as to the state of our social and political institutional pillars.

Consider our circumstances.  We are entering the second year of a deadly pandemic that has already taken the lives of well over a third of our fellow countrymen and women.  Inoculations have not been well organized or delivered.  Unemployment and small business failures remain high.  Schools are closed.  Hospitals are overrun.  We will experience a transfer of government that itself has been anything but peaceful.

Most ominously, an extremist mob summoned and instructed by the outgoing president has attacked our national Capitol with the loss of lives and serious damage to the cathedral of democracy.

These are the kinds of times that test men’s souls and our national purpose.

Are we still a nation of more or less likeminded people?  Or has a dangerous political and social malignancy entered our blood stream?

Given the widening gaps in our society, we have yet to find a language with which to address each other.

Though upheaval, including most violently a Civil War, has marked our history from time to time: early on Shay’s and Whiskey rebellions; a prolonged and bloody Reconstruction period; the Ku Klux Klan; mass incarceration of Japanese-Americans; a Communist threat led by Joseph McCarthy; demagogic figures promoting racist and anti-immigrant themes, including a recent president; and now the tragic assault on our own Congress by one branch of government against another.

After a time, sometimes a long time, each of these threats have gone away.  But is there a chance that after 250 years, American democracy has run its course?  The whole world, including Russia, China, and European populistic nationalists, is watching.

What is our answer?  Joe Biden will have his answer, and God bless him.  But the American people must also have our answer, if for no one else than for our children and future generations.  Like individuals, nations are tested in times of great stress.

We may hope to wake up tomorrow and find the virus in hasty retreat, businesses reopening, people going back to work, politicians, if not openly embracing then at least shaking hands.

But more likely the stress will continue and those who profit from unrest, suspicion, and anarchy continuing to hold the stage and threatening more upheaval.

Until order and sanity return and a new day dawns, it is for the rest of us to hold the flag of America’s principles high, to resist anarchy at every turn, and to demonstrate the better angels of our nature.

Our flag, “and the Republic for which it stands,” based on principles of democracy is our civic religion.  Our leaders, including our military, take an oath to protect and defend our Constitution.

Many of our fellow citizens challenge this faith.  They are in open rebellion against our core principles and beliefs.  They are willing to undertake unconstitutional means to undercut our Constitution.  We must say a prayer of thanks to the handful of State election officials who refused requests, nay orders, from the president of the United States to overturn the authentic outcome of our election.  Quite a number of them, unlike some Members of Congress, put principle over party.

In important ways, the schism in America isn’t simply ideological.  It is now about facts and the nature of truth itself.  If someone like Donald Trump can convince, totally without evidence, 75 million Americans that our national election was fraudulent, then many of our fellow countrymen are living in a state of unreality.

America’s future does not rest with propaganda and deception.  It rests with truth, fact, and principles.  Nationalism and populism are having their day and are resorting to destruction and violence.

Loyal Americans must rise up and refuse to let them destroy our faith in our nation and in ourselves.

 

The American Journey

Author: Gary Hart

A critical chapter in America’s complex story is being written right now.  Will we continue to be a Republic founded on democratic rights and ideals.  Or will we continue to permit a slide into authoritarian populism recently overtaking democracies here and elsewhere.

Since the media finds it easier to focus on personalities than ideas, this historic moment will almost totally be about Donald Trump and the future of what, for lack of a better reference, is being referred to as “Trumpism”, never quite defined.

It is fashionable to characterize moments like this as a “crossroads”.  And in this case that description is accurate.  These are turning points that define individuals, societies, and nations.

In important ways the question is how to save democracy, and its freedoms, without resorting to undemocratic means and methods.

Bringing stricter law enforcement and surveillance tactics to bear on the plethora of right-wing militia and quasi-political organizations can easily border on violation of Constitutional rights in much the same way that civil rights, anti-war, and progressive movements have complained of in the Cold War era and since.

Caution is advised.  But clearly the methods of the right have threatened the democratic order more than methods on the left.  As many were quick to point out, peaceful black-lives-matter marches are in a separate universe from destructive thuggish invasions of the Capitol.

But it is a caution for progressive groups to suppress destructive actions undertaken in the wake of their otherwise peaceful protests.  Destruction of a business window is of a different magnitude from destroying doors and windows of the Capitol.

And it is particularly so when violence against the cathedral of democracy is fomented by a president of the United States because he lost an election fairly conducted.  And this is the point.  It must never be forgotten, including by Republican politicians, that this outrage was organized from beginning to end by Donald Trump whom they empowered for four years.

The whole world is watching, along with America’s children, how we go about righting the ship of state, how we punish the offenders, how we honor the heroes, how we re-establish stability and statesmanship.

All Americans must denounce this outrage.  But for those of us honored to have conducted the business of the United States government in those Congressional chambers and walked those hallways under the gaze of great American patriots, it will remain a deeply painful moment that cannot and will not be forgotten.

The stains, both real and symbolic, left by those criminals are indelible.  They are ugly tattoos on our memories.  They represent a sewer running mostly unobserved under the American Republic.  The offenses created by that howling mob were on behalf of an accidental president who has not earned our respect nor deserved our support.  Our Capitol and what it stands for was damaged on behalf of a giant lie and a twisted ego.

Too bad Donald Trump does not have a conscience.  Otherwise, he might have to spend what’s left of his life suffering regret for his egotism, selfishness, and unpatriotic behavior.  It is left for history and its verdict to judge him.  That judgment will be and should be harsh.  But he and those who empowered him will have to deal with it.

Meanwhile, the overwhelming number of good people in America must restore our nation’s honor.  The eyes of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and many others, the eyes of battalions of John McCains and other military heroes, and most of all the eyes of our children and future generations are on us as we set about restoring our Republic and making it stronger.

Truth is marching on.

Repudiation of Democracy

Author: Gary Hart

The current juvenile chaos in the Republican Congressional caucuses is like nothing less than watching a family feud after the evening circus performance with the departing crowd of spectators hearing the clanging and banging and wondering what it’s all about.

It is a side-show drama important primarily to the combatants within the two major factions of the post-Trump era in the Republican party.  Like academic politics, it is vicious because the stakes are so low.

The stakes in this case seem to be leadership of the Trump cult, “base”, or whatever you want to call it and the more sane, traditional Republican party as the two sides prepare for what will likely be a prolonged, painful, and only slightly rewarding ownership of whatever remains of the Republican party.

Serious Republican analysts now claim a clash between the authoritarian (Trump) wing of the party and traditional Constitutional Republicans has started and is a foregone conclusion

All this might be fun for political insiders were it not for the future of American democracy and America’s role in the world.

As pundits are increasingly pointing out, first with fascism in World War II and a half century Cold War thereafter, America has been struggling, at great cost, to prevent foreign ideologies from undermining the principles of our democracy.  Now, it turns out, the threat to our democracy is from within.

Despite the clear outcome of the recent election, as certified by a variety of courts and duly elected and appointed election officials of all 50 States, a substantial number of elected Republicans now seek to reject the clear outcome of the election as if America had now become the worst kind of autocratic dictatorship.

The only common theme from this new anti-democratic party seems to be there are a lot of people who don’t trust the outcome of this election.  But their distrust has been fueled by the outgoing president starting in 2016 and since who lives in a circle inside a bubble that claims any election he loses has been “rigged”, “stolen”, or manipulated. It is as circular a syllogism as exists in all the history of logic: “I can’t lose because I refuse to lose.”

This is a classic tautology.

This could only prevail in a closed political system, in this case a monolithic Republican party that sacrificed principle for power sometime back.  Debt, coziness with the Kremlin, isolationism, repudiation of science, border walls, privatization of education, the environment, and public resources all characterize virtually overnight a party that used to denounce all of this.

Having gerrymandered every Congressional district it can and having deepened the red of the red States, the calculating unilateralists have now created a party available to this Trump and the next Trump to follow.  The demented last ditch efforts to overturn a professionally managed national election, involving many State Republican officials, the pre- and possibly post-inaugural drama is solely about who is the most authoritarian of the Trump wanna-be’s.

Politically, it is a side-show in an historical context.  But it is a dangerous one none the less.  And on its outcome could well rest the future and safety of American democracy.

Anger

Author: Gary Hart

Does American politics demand anger?  The answer is clearly no.  Then why are we so angry with each other?

I know the answer is no because I served in the United States Senate where, at least during the 1970s, there was little anger, at least by today’s standards, and a general atmosphere of cooperation and conciliation between the two major parties and the complex coalitions they each represented.

Then things changed.  Something called “movement conservatism” arose and had a my way or the highway attitude.  It contained a good deal of anger and considerable resistance to negotiation or cooperation.  Domestic and foreign policy issues became black and white virtually overnight.

At the same time, the news business began to migrate away from the centrist non-partisan networks toward partisan media providing support for and confirming the biases of a polarizing electorate.  This new media confirmed our hardening biases.  They told us what we wanted to hear and often were very selective about facts.

Values changed.  Greed became good.  Cut taxes for the wealthy.  Blue collar workers would just have to work harder to claim middle class status.  An economic revolution replaced steel mills with computers and the economic base moved from Detroit to Silicon Valley.

Never mind loss of jobs, income, and homes.  Wall Street financed technology and more computers.  The ladder of opportunity was available primarily to technocrats.  Family farms were consolidated into corporate farms.  Small towns shriveled and their residents with them.

Good news did not last long.  Within months after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cold War was replaced by the War on Terror and endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Both cost about the same amount of money, except terrorists were not intimidated by giant aircraft carriers, B-2 bombers, and expensive technology.

Then, on top of the economic and military revolutions came globalization, mass South-North migrations, climate change, and pandemics.  A deadly virus could get on a commercial airplane in China and be in Seattle in 14 hours.

Revolutions were layered on top of each other.  Predictably, the conservative mind came to pull up the draw bridges figuratively and build walls literally.  Tax cuts did not solve the economic revolutions.  Border walls did not keep out the viruses. Destruction of environmental protections did not reduce the temperature of the climate.

So, perhaps the accumulation of frustrations at multiple revolutions inevitable would produce anger.  But why anger at each other?  Why tear the country apart over “massive voter fraud” for which there was no proof?  Something deeper is at work here.

Today’s conservative anger seeks domination.  It seeks to place ideological jurists on every federal courtroom bench.  There is no room even for moderation, not to mention liberal principles.  All regulations for health, safety, and the environment must be dismissed.  All government appointees, even to third and fourth level positions, must be totally loyal to the president…not the Constitution.

There is no room for cooperation or negotiation.  This is a prescription for autocracy little known in American history.  Less than a handful of elected conservatives believe there was anything near to the fraudulent election conduct needed to provide a Trump victory.  Yet, with very few exceptions, the rest remain silent during the dictatorial rages too immature to accept defeat or the unanimous verdicts of federal courts across the land.

Conservatives not only challenge liberal beliefs, they are made angry by them.  They must be crushed and buried.  Conservative dogma must dominate at every point regardless of whether it makes any sense.  The question of why remains unanswered.

Anger on both sides?  Possibly, but imagine how the incumbent president would have behaved if, as in 2000, he had lost the presidency because of a few hundred disputed votes in Florida and the decision of one Supreme Court justice.

 

The Never-Ending Drama

Author: Gary Hart

Relying, as usual, on something called a “tweet” whose brevity seemed to suit his attention span, the incumbent president, one month ahead of his Constitutionally mandated departure from the White House, let it be known that he was in no hurry to leave, the Constitution and the regular order be damned, and that he might just linger on until it suited him to depart.

This characteristically obstreperous behavior was implicitly justified by his continued insistence that the national election was “rigged” (no evidence offered), that the president-elect, though certified by the electoral college, was essentially an imposter, and that he, the incumbent, remained president and thus held the keys to the White House until he and he alone decided to move on.

As with much else in the last four years, this made interesting theater, with the American people holding their collective breath to determine what drama might ensue.  Though the departing first lady let it be known that she was packing her bags, would it be the Federal Marshalls Service or the Secret Service left with the duty of packing the defeated president’s impressively large luggages.

Would the ever-loyal Rudy Giuliani be given the task of barring the doors, possibly with the promise of one of those get-out-of-jail all-purpose pardons soon to be handed out willy-nilly to any and all who might find a way to contribute to a return engagement in 2024.

Would a convoy of Proud Boys and QAnon form a human chain inside the increasingly higher walls surrounding the White House.

Would family members become de facto hostages to a defeated president in his King Lear mode.

The possibilities for drama are constrained only by one’s imagination.

And then there is the issue of the Constitutionally elected and sworn in President Biden and his family.  If the defeated but barricaded former president replicated the behavior of the departing President George W. Bush, who lodged his extended family in Blair House across the street in 2008 thus forcing the newly-elected President Obama to move into a hotel, a quite nice one called the Hay-Adams, until the Bush entourage decided to vacate the White House and its proximate guest quarters.

There are still further avenues for historic adventures.  Suppose the current incumbent finally decided to move on, perhaps an hour or two past the noon, January 20th, swearing in of his successor, took Air Force One to Mar-a-Lago, took the keys after cleaning it out and finding a nice suite for the crew, and decided the plane was still his.  More Proud Boys and QAnon to stand guard.

Tongue in cheek all this may be.  But the subject himself has demonstrated over and over that he sees political life as just another game show and alternative reality can still attract 74 million voters.

[Author’s note: In an age where politics is a daily parody of itself, parodying it becomes impossible.  The defeated incumbent president and his administration daily produce a parody of themselves.  Even as you envision comic tragedy of a president who refuses to leave the White House, the incumbent announces that he may not leave the White House.  So, he occupies center stage, a cross between King Lear and a down and out comedian.

Which leaves us only to scratch our heads as everyday brings a new outrage, and to warm our hearts with warm wishes to each other of Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas and a shared prayer that we will all redeem our souls next year by being kind, caring, humane, honorable and decent.  God bless.  GH]