Editorial: The republic stands

Four years ago, we posed this question in the days after the presidential election: “Is the American experiment in democracy equipped to survive a Trump presidency?” Our conclusion: “The American experiment in democracy will be tested, perhaps to its limits, in the comings weeks and months. But we must resolve that no one individual or administration— however distasteful—can compromise its future. Our republic is built of far sturdier stuff than that.”

There have been moments of great doubt, to be sure— not the least of which came on Jan. 6 when this disgrace of an ex-president unleashed a wild-eyed, blood-thirsty mob on the cathedral of our democracy in the single-worst affront to our nation ever perpetrated by a commander-in-chief.

And yet, on Wednesday, shielded by a corps of soldiers sufficient to conquer a good-sized country, power was transferred to the duly-elected successors. The system was pushed to its very limits; but it held up. Our imperfect experiment in self-government will go on. But, it’s gravely wounded.

To the very end, Trump proved himself to be what was eminently predictable throughout his public life and in the 2016 campaign: an abject failure. Narccisistic and petulant, crude and cruel, unhinged more often than not. Undignified and unfit for the job. And, ultimately, a twice-impeached loser who rather than accept a sound defeat, sought to undo our election results in outrageous fashion.

On Jan. 20, Trump and his misfit court decamped from the White House in disgraceful fashion, snubbing the traditional change-over ceremony with the new President and his First Lady.

And yet, it was a relief to see our President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden spared the burden of grinning through a photo-op with this pack of fools. It’s time to turn the page and get to the most pressing business at hand: deploying all possible resources to the mass vaccination of our citizens. The Biden-Harris administration has indicated that they will authorize the Defense Production Act to boost vaccine production to address the national emergency, a step that should have been employed last spring.

“We’ll manage the hell out of this operation,” Biden said. But he added, ominously: “We remain in a very dark winter, the infection rate is up 34 percent, we see 3 or 4,000 deaths per day. Things will get worse before they get better.”

What a difference it will make to have a president who is not a chronic liar addressing a nation desperate for guidance and goodness. It was a long, agonizing four years. But, congratulations: You made it through to the other side.

-Bill Forry