Nefarious characters have been fingered by the fellow who wrote to me that, “It’s the liberal democrats, academia, BLM, antifa, the biased media and big tech that are the real threats to democracy…” He was reciting the Trumpian mantra, roughly translated to mean that our collective sufferings may be laid at the feet of “liberals and elites.”
I bear no ill will toward those for whom “owning the libs” has been elevated to the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Yet, it is difficult to imagine a more elitist individual than Donald Trump himself.
What is more elitist than the evidence-empty grousing of a bad loser? Could anything be more elitist than promising to “drain the swamp” only to instead populate the White House with a cadre of the ethically challenged and criminal types who, as they are about to board the bus to the rock pile, happily receive his pardons?
Humans are the only animals who blame their misfortunes on members of their same species, provided those others are at least slightly better off. For them, the president routinely opens a can of misplaced indignation, pours it into a bowl, adds a pinch of xenophobia and a tablespoon of racism, finally serving up a stew of resentment.
Donald Trump validated and escalated the frustrations, legitimate or not, of those who believed his 2016 election had at last delivered a well-deserved comeuppance to the detested libs and elites. But what Mr. Trump failed to disclose to the faithful was that owing the libs would come at an awfully high price.
Nor did the new president describe the fine print in the bill of sale. The paperwork was rife with sticky details including, for example, the relinquishment of one’s good judgement such that attending a COVID-19 super spreader rally signaled no more danger than a quiet stroll along a country lane.
What has been gained by those who, for four years, have owned the libs? Mainly a few feel-good moments. Unfortunately, maintaining ownership of liberal elites became a full-time occupation for more than a few MAGA-ites who were lured into the business by the promises of a fast talking operator who saw them coming and confidently set up his three-card monte table.
But instead of the frustrating work of “owning the libs,” maybe it is worthwhile that Mr. Trump’s supporters consider what liberals have actually done. It was “libs” who brought about the women’s vote, the minimum wage, the eight-hour workday, the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, birth control, reproductive rights, building codes, detoxification of our air and water and food, LGBTQ rights, civil rights — and they continue to advocate for the idea that nobody should go bankrupt because of an unforeseen health crisis.
And liberals adhere to science in the face of global warming and the pandemic. In short, like many conservatives, liberals are people who want to make our nation great, despite differences in how that may be achieved.
Now, it can be no balm to the disappointment of the many good folks who passionately supported Donald Trump to learn that their president is too small to admit defeat and congratulate the winner.
Mr. Trump demonstrates contempt for all 150 million Americans who voted. He musters just enough energy to clutch his crying towel and manufacture mythical unfairness — his final presidential acts before melting into ignominious and well-earned political oblivion.