American Decline

A backsliding democracy and a civil war in the making.

By Holly McCall, Tennessee Lookout

Tennessee’s leaders have already shown an eagerness to bend to Donald Trump at the sacrifice of American democracy.

The day Joe Biden was declared winner of the 2020 presidential election, my husband asked me why I wasn’t happier: He thought I’d be in a good mood.

When Biden had taken the oath of office, I told him, I might — just might — feel a smidge of relief.

You couldn’t have followed politics between the time Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 and Nov. 7, 2020, the day Biden clinched his win, without realizing a lot of road lay between that day and inauguration day and that anything could happen.

Trump, if anything, had already proved himself to be a wily politician with a Teflon-like ability to evade consequences for behavior formerly thought unacceptable in American politicians.

When, at his 2015 presidential announcement, Trump said Mexico was sending rapists and drug dealers to the U.S., some thought: “There goes any Hispanic vote he might get.” But we were wrong. Trump gained support from the Hispanic and Latino community over the years.

Some of us thought his campaign would be doomed when, later in 2015 he mocked a reporter with a disability in a vulgar demonstration. Wrong again. Wrong were we, too, when a video emerged late in the 2016 campaign of him discussing his technique for grabbing women by the genitalia, using a coarse synonym for that part of the anatomy. Boys being boys! Locker room talk, said his supporters.

Of course, that was only a sample of what was to come.

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