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Posted: January 24, 2021

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over says the oracle of the South Side

“Perceptions,” by Gerry Warner

Op-Ed Commentary

So, it’s over, eh? Not so fast. Trump may be gone from the Oval Office, but Trumpism isn’t. And that should be enough to wake up anyone in the night in a cold sweat.

All the “usual suspects” are still with us.

The good Christian, Senator Ted Cruz, still devilishly scheming to take over the burnt-out husk of the Republican Party and lead it to Armageddon. Senator Josh Hawley, giving the closed fist salute to the insurrectionists as they stormed the Capitol Building with fire and blood in their eyes, and Lindsey Graham with his scheming grin and smooth southern style. Not the New South that elected two Democratic senators in Georgia, but the south that Billie Holiday sang of with “black bodies swinging in the southern breeze.” And if that offends you, remember George Floyd – “ I can’t breathe” – being choked to death  under the cruel knee of a white cop. It was a modern-day lynching recorded on a shiny cellphone for all the world to see.

The pundits have their lines to explain Trumpism: The shattered American Dream that succeeded the Greatest Generation that did so much to win the war (along with the Russians and the British). The collapse of the middle class, especially in the mid-west rust belt states. Legions of unemployed, under-educated, embittered white males desperately looking for a new Messiah, and the fundamentalist evangelicals looking for the return of God. And most of all the toxic political polarization that makes it all but impossible to respectfully disagree anymore and eminently possible for political opponents to regard each other with unadulterated hate.

Fox News is still spewing its poison and riling up the rubes. The “Proud Boys” are prouder than ever as they “stand down and stand by” in the immortal words of their authoritarian leader and the oft-described “most dangerous” politician in the US. Steve Bannon has been pardoned of his alleged crimes and left free to stoke the bile of the white supremacists and the xenophobes who would like to ethnically cleanse the land of the free and home of the brave from sea to shining sea.

It’s not a pretty picture and the cancer that’s infecting the American body politic is not going away anytime soon.

But before I go too far down this dark road, I’m glad to say I also see hope. No kidding. I truly mean hope because I believe the right man has been elevated to the Oval Office, a man who spent most of his career during a time when politics was conducted civilly in the US and even with professionalism. A time when senators and congressmen and congresswomen could “reach across the aisle” and put aside their prejudices for what they believed was the common good. And that man, of course, is Joseph Robinette Biden.

We all know, of course, that Biden wasn’t supposed to win the Democratic nomination for president and indeed was almost bounced out of the race after the first round. But then something funny happened. Whether it was providence, good luck or the hand of God I certainly don’t know, but I do believe the right man for the times is in the Oval Office now and we can all breathe a little easier.

Yes, he sometimes stutters and is at a loss for words and is not an orator in the style of Barack Obama or JFK. But he’s a decent man. A family man and a man of good character with more cumulative political experience than anyone near the domed DC Capitol.  And who can say that isn’t just what the country needs at this critical time in American history?

The fountain of lies should end now. So should the malice, the bullying and the racism of the previous White House occupant and the cronies around him. As America’s First Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman so eloquently said at the inauguration, “There’s always light if we’re brave enough to see it.”

No one said it better.

– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who truly believes things are going to get better now.

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