Tuesday, January 12, 2021

These Last Four Years (Which Felt Like a Decade)

 Much like my late December music blog, it's become a tradition of sorts to letter-grade an outgoing U.S. president. I've been writing this blog for almost 16 years, and I summed up the Bush 43 and Obama administrations in lengthier than usual pieces. Given who our latest outgoing president is, I don't think I'll be nearly as verbose.

I don't think there's really anything I can say that hasn't already been analyzed or scrutinized in regard to Donald John Trump. He is by far the most polarizing president of our time, a man no one has no opinion about. No one used (or abused) social media quite like he did, and certainly no one flirted with abusing their power like Trump, either. History will remember him for running laps around Nixon's misdeeds. To paraphrase the man himself, he grabbed democracy by the pussy. 

Trump is a man of contradictions, if you consider his love for attention and disregard for the media contradictory. He is man who loves attention, a category 5 narcissist, who can't handle any negative news directed at him. He persuaded his base, already socially conservative and disdainful of the social media, to make "fake news" his mantra of choice both on the campaign trail and in office. He lives for flattery and bombast. 

I could just rattle off his various crises and scandals: the Russia hack, the sloppy attempt to cover up the Russia hack, Ivanka plugging her handbags, Stormy Daniels, myriad deregulations, a mountain of sexual misconduct allegations, and of course the situation in Ukraine that led to impeachment. His failure to address COVID --at least, until he tested positive himself-- was a stain on his final year in office. Now, just days after a bunch of Trump's most rabid supporters raided the U.S. Capitol building, a second impeachment is not beyond possibility. (Forgive the brevity, but frankly I'm sick of writing about the man.)

I remember reading something in Entertainment Weekly 15 years ago (I want to attribute this to Alynda Wheat, but I'm probably wrong) about the pitfalls of giving anything an "F" review. Wheat or someone else said that if you give something the lowest possible grade, it implies that the film, TV show, etc. has a train wreck quality that will still intrigue and attract people. An F makes one think it's so bad it's good, like "The Room." Almost for that reason alone, I'm giving Trump a D-, which is marginally better but far less savory. Trump had a few scant positive achievements, but they were minor and offer little long-term impact. 

In short, a new voice can't come soon enough. Former Vice President Joe Biden, our oldest elected U.S. President, has a tall order ahead of him. He's not perfect, but in many ways he's already an improvement over his volatile predecessor. Things can only get better. 


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