Tony Kendall

W

hat a week, from Monday through Sunday, I went through more mood changes than a movie character with multiple personalities.

Beginning midway through the previous week, I made notes to write three different presidential election-themed columns.

One had Joe Biden winning in that poll-projected landslide and was going to start like this, “Now that the nation overwhelmingly has repudiated President Donald Trump and Trumpism, I can exhale.”

Another had Donald Trump winning in a manner similar to the 2016 race between he and Hillary Clinton, and was going to start with this line from one of the Star Wars movies: “So this is how democracy dies?”

The third one was built around a possible tie or a disputed result, and the first words were going to be, “Are you kidding me? People in this country are wack!”

Around midnight with Biden holding a slight 10 electoral vote lead, I threw all the notes to the floor but the third one, built around a possible tie or a disputed result, and gave up on being able to put down the bundle of thoughts in my head on paper in any meaningful, coherent manner.

Early the next morning, I emailed the editor of this newspaper and told him I had nothing for him last week.

It was kind of a lie; the truth was that I had too much of very little.

With a week under my belt to synthesize everything swirling around my head, combined with an outcome of the main event that I can live with, I think I’ve managed to say a few things loud and clear.

I look forward to the emails and the online comments below these words.

Here’s my biggest takeaway from the events of Nov. 3 and beyond: This is who we are as a nation.

Some of us are mask-wearing people of goodwill, and 70 million more are not on many levels.

Ever since Trump descended that gaudy golden escalator and announced his candidacy to be U.S. president, I’ve struggled with labeling everyone who voted and supported Trump a racist. And to a point, I still do.

This is what I know: If you buy something from a person and it turns out that the person is a thief and what you brought from them is stolen, you can be excused for not knowing that.

The justice system we have here might point a steely finger in your direction and tell you not to do that sort of thing ever again.

The odds of this happening for the most part will depend on several things. Among the top things are being in the right socio-economic class, having a good lawyer or possessing the right skin tone.

A few years later, if you buy something else from that person and it turns out that it, too, was stolen goods, that makes you a repeat offender, and the judicial system will probably treat you a little differently, even if you check all the previous boxes.

Whereas, the first incidence said something about your naivete or you wanting to always believe the best about people, while ignoring or overlooking the bad, the second incidence says something about you as a human being and makes you an accessory after the fact.

From Day 1 when he became a presidential candidate, I said Trump was a racist, xenophobic, white nationalist bigot. As time went on, I regularly added other adjectives like lying and cheating, and wanted to add a few profane ones.

Despite me and many other people of goodwill repeatedly saying these things about Trump and backing them up with proof, our words were ignored here, there and enough everywheres in this country for him to win the presidency thanks to the Electoral College. More on that racist entity in another column.

Hours into his presidency, he began to institute policies and signing executive orders that proved that he was what we said he was.

Despite four years of being racist, xenophobic, bigoted, misogynist, nationalist and authoritative, millions of people in this nation and thousands in this county voted for him again.

The first time around said a great deal about Trump and his ability to make people believe that he was something that he wasn’t.

From the Bottom where I see things, votes for Trump this time says a great deal about his supporters.

As I want to blanketly say all Trump supporters are racist, bigoted, etc., being who and what I am, I can’t generalize all of them that way.

But here’s what I can say about the portion of Trump supporters who are not racist, bigots or the adjectives I prescribe to Trump and yet still voted for him.

They are all complicit and accomplices in his behavior and actions as president.

Having the ability to compartmentalize or rationalize the things Trump does and says does not get you off the hook this time.

With four years of information, you still believed that this man was the right person to lead, represent, protect and defend all the people of this nation?

What you permit, you promote; what you allow, you approve.

Since becoming an engaged observer, then voter in presidential elections, I have grown to create a quiet moment before the outcome begins to come clear, in which I have a conversation with myself.

In this conversation, I repeat and think about something a history teacher once told me.

I can’t remember if it was Lou Carter or Bob Pekins, two men who first formed my historical base, but it has stayed with me for a lifetime.

I was told that the only two things a president had to do for citizens was to be competent enough to guide the ship of state through still waters during the good times and be steady enough to avoid the obstacles and find a way to get through rough seas during the bad times.

Yes, before COVID-19, the country was experiencing a good economy for enough people to be considered good and the unemployment rate was low across all demographics.

Then came the virus, and the president’s slow response to that has led to almost a quarter millions deaths as of this writing, the collapse of that good-for-some economy;

The loss of millions of jobs, some of which won’t ever come back, and the widespread notice of the continuing racial strife that was televised this time, and thousands of deaths.

During each of these crises, we all were witness to how he responded.

Instead of having a leader that kept his hand on the wheel and guided the country thorough the rough seas, we had a man who ignored and lied about the condition of the water;

Blamed others for his ability not to steer through the obstacles while claiming other problems didn’t exist or were caused by things certain passengers did themselves, while doing his best to keep them segregated in the class that matched their tickets.

The other thing I do is tell myself that, at the end of the day, if the candidate I don’t support wins, I believe that at their core, they have the best interests of the nation in mind when they do anything.

For the third time since 1980 and President Ronald Reagan, I didn’t tell myself that, and just as it was those times, I had ample proof otherwise.

Luckily, so did 75 million other Americans of goodwill, and 3,547 in Henry County.

My breathing does seem less labored this week.

I gotta throw a little shade before closing.

Hey, oversized truck-driving Trump supporters around here, in light of Trump’s defeat, do you plan to fly that losing banner as long as you have that one from the losing side (on the battlefield) in the Civil War?

Inquiring drivers, observers and brush-burners want to know.

 

Hi, Momma Lois.

 

TONY KENDALL of Hazel is a writer, teacher, actor, playwright and sports fanatic. He can be reached by email at bottomwriter@yahoo.com.

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