Trump transition show is jumping the shark (opinion)

Republicans mocked it as “Franksgiving”, and it was a hotly divisive problem, cleaving Americans dwelling in states who supported FDR’s New Deal from those that did not. But in three states (see above), they only went forward and celebrated twice, maybe implicitly acknowledging, with that further pie, that there isn’t any one strategy to get by means of powerful instances — and typically there’s sufficient gratitude to go round.

For loads of us, that is a tough feeling to share at a time when meals traces go on for miles and too many chairs at the dinner desk lie empty.

Those empty chairs had been on the minds of President-elect Joe Biden and incoming first woman Jill Biden, “for the loved one who can’t travel or the parent stationed overseas…for your sister or brother just across town — staying away to protect everyone during this pandemic,” they wrote. “For the households of the Americans misplaced this yr, that chair is another reminder that someone they love will never come home again.

Even although this Thanksgiving was totally different from others, the Bidens mirrored on their most vital custom — “taking a moment to count the many reasons we have to be grateful” — and thanked frontline staff, well being care staff, educators, mother and father, researchers and scientists who’ve helped the nation survive. “We are grateful,” they wrote, “for the faith and trust we have been given to continue serving this beautiful, brave, complicated nation as your future president and first lady. This year of loss has revealed our collective strength. It has shown us that our lives are connected in ways unseen — that we can be apart without being alone.”

Whither Trump?

Michael D’Antonio, reacting to the Washington Post report that Donald Trump is contemplating a marketing campaign to retake the Oval Office in 2024, opined that the “sensible cash would guess that Trump will at least gesture toward 2024 sometime soon.” Why? Poll numbers, plus “the frame of mind reflected in his refusal to concede his 2020 defeat and his devotion to the wild notion that he was somehow cheated out of a second term.”

Trump’s look Thursday to offer a Thanksgiving deal with and take press questions set the web abuzz over the dimension of his small desk (cue the memes), however the prospect of what Trump will do subsequent looms massive.

Of all the potentialities underneath the solar, warned Nicole Hemmer, there’s one America can do without: a Donald Trump memoir. Former President Barack Obama’s just-published “A Promised Land” bought extra copies in its first week than every other e book in the writer’s historical past (besting earlier presidential memoirs in the course of). But historical past and the rise of right-wing media ought to give publishers pause about fulfilling this specific ceremony of ex-presidential passage for his successor, she wrote: “For President Trump, who has provided a nonstop string of commentary on his presidency from Day One, a presidential memoir could represent something different: a chance to give his insults and untruths an appearance of sanction and formality that they have never had.” Let’s not do that, she urged, and keep in mind as a substitute the function publishers, bookstores, universities, newspapers and communities have in rebuilding liberal democracy.

Another sharp perspective:

Mission: Transition

Even as the toll of the pandemic and its financial penalties develop worse, it is nonetheless honest to consider the worst could quickly be over. So wrote Frida Ghitis about the optimism she feels as the Trump administration attracts to a detailed. “American democracy has just survived what is arguably the most vicious attack it has ever faced,” she says. “What could be a greater cause for optimism about the future?”
Biden and Harris ought to begin work on that future by taking over problems with gender, racial and sophistication fairness, asserted Ruth Ben-Ghiat, who, reflecting on Trump’s presidency, famous that hypermasculinity and misogyny lie at the coronary heart of any strongman’s train of energy. “Understanding that truth is key to a profitable transition to a Biden-Harris administration,” she wrote — and addressing it is equally key to therapeutic from Trump’s strongman techniques.
Next steps will not be straightforward for the incoming Biden-Harris administration, cautioned Uri Friedman for The Atlantic: “Trump’s attack on the election wasn’t and isn’t a sideshow. As far as American democracy is involved, this is the essential show. A democracy at grave threat at some point can’t be pronounced wholesome the subsequent.”
And this, Peter Bergen suggested, poses specific challenges for Biden’s nationwide safety crew, which is going through “an ocean of troubles. The world is in many ways a more dangerous place than when Donald Trump took office.” Citing the “scary backdrop” of North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and China — to not point out the pandemic and local weather change — Bergen affirmed that the six skilled folks Biden “has chosen to fill key national security and foreign policy posts reflect his wish to restore order and to value competence and experience.”
Alexandra DeSanctis, writing for the National Review, predicted that progressive Democrats appear “primed for disappointment after disappointment” as Biden’s cupboard takes form. “The incoming administration and Congress appear to be gearing up for four years of fairly standard left-wing fare,” DeSanctis assessed, including that Biden’s cohort “thus far looks like it will be a rehash of the cabinet we witnessed during eight years of the Obama-Biden administration.”
Even as the transition continues, Rep. Sean Casten and 9 different Democratic members of Congress raised an alarm about this administration’s previous, significantly the have to protect it by adhering to the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act. Given the sample of obfuscation and flouting of norms by Trump and his senior officers, federal staff should be significantly vigilant in following all legal guidelines and preserving all paperwork throughout this presidential transition, they wrote: “And right here we want to deal with the staff of federal companies who’ve been forced to bear silent witness to malfeasance over the past four years: We thanks on your service. We have your again.”

More sensible takes:

An America of obscene contrasts

The rigidity between gratitude and grief wasn’t the solely distinction shaping America this week. The Dow’s surge above 30,000, juxtaposed in opposition to the seemingly infinite traces of Americans ready at meals banks and for Covid exams, appallingly illustrated the widening financial gulf on this nation. Jill Filipovic requested: Is this the kind of American “greatness” Trump promised? Americans are hungry, sick and remoted, she wrote, which is “not just the sign of a cruelly individualistic society” however “wholly unnecessary in an incredibly prosperous one. The pandemic didn’t create American suffering, but it has pushed millions of families over the edge all at once. And our government is largely missing in action.”

The Supreme Court, in the meantime, took preemptive motion in opposition to native governments in its late-night 5-Four ruling on Wednesday rejecting New York state’s determination to restrict numbers at non secular gatherings (a restriction that had been in place when instances had been at their worst however was at the moment not in impact).

The implications can be immense and can seemingly echo in communities throughout the nation, stated Jeffrey D. Sachs, who argued: “The drawback is that the scientifically illiterate majority on the court missed the entire point of the restriction on non secular companies.” Austin Sarat and Dennis Aftergut warned additional that the ruling bodes ill for LGBTQ Americans and the fate of same-sex marriage earlier than the nation’s highest court docket. Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s decisive function in the court docket’s opinion, wrote Henry Olsen for the Washington Post, confirmed how right religious liberty advocates were to be excited about her accession to the court.

Another vital learn:

Are you okay?

The pandemic has introduced demise into our day by day lives — a lot so, based on creator and former hospice chaplain Kerry Egan that we live in “hospice world,” which she defines as “a neighborhood…through which we are all acutely aware of our own and each others’ mortality.” Egan wrote that this “upending of life as we once knew it demands that we find a way through all the changes and losses” — that all of us discover a strategy to make which means and inform the story of this pandemic, and hearken to others as they inform theirs.
This can take many kinds. Some of the households from throughout the United States who’re confronting a vacation season and not using a cherished one shared their tales with the CNN Digital Video Team. You can listen to them here.
Listening may take the type of a query, as Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex wrote wrenchingly for the New York Times: Are you OK? When a journalist requested her that final yr, it triggered an sincere response about the challenges of latest motherhood in the public eye. After she suffered a miscarriage in July — throughout the pandemic — and as she grappled with the ravages of that loss, the query returned to her. How can we heal? What can we do now? Meghan suggests: “Let us commit to asking others, ‘Are you OK?’ As much as we may disagree, as physically distanced as we may be, the truth is that we are more connected than ever because of all we have individually and collectively endured this year.”

Coping mechanisms are greater than that

One window into how Americans are struggling to deal with the weight of uncertainty and stress — excessive charges of canine adoptions and pet buy throughout the pandemic — have discovered a parallel in the pleasure over the two furriest members of the transition crew: the Bidens’ canines, Major and Champ. The return of canines to the White House feels magnificently American, noticed Alexandra Horowitz, who described the canines as “a stand-in for our national sentiment…For the last four years the White House has not had the slobbery, shedding, panting presence of a dog that it so often has. Until the Trump administration, the last time the White House didn’t have a resident dog was during William McKinley’s presidency from 1897 to 1901.”
While real-life animals are giving us nationwide optimism (and vital cuddles), some non-humanoid creatures — the type we binge-watch to get by — deserve a bit extra compassion, famous Sara Stewart. A confirmed lover of all issues “Star Wars,” Stewart contended of “The Mandalorian”: “We could all use a little Baby Yoda in our lives again….But you know what would make it better? If protagonist Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) could maybe stop traveling to different planets, meeting large exotic animals and slaughtering them.” She added: “I get that the Mandalorian is a bounty hunter, not David Attenborough…But it is nonetheless a bummer to see a sequence so devoted to portraying alien civilizations with scrappy nuance,” even be so sadistic towards animals, even the imaginary type.

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Just let Dolly Parton rule the world already

Thinking again to the hope Apollo eight astronauts delivered for Christmas at the finish of a turbulent 1968, Gene Seymour requested: Who will give us hope in 2020? His reply: “How about Dolly Parton…The flamboyant polymath who wrote two deathless American classics — ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ — in less time than it takes to boil steel cut oats?”

Seymour wove collectively Parton’s peerless oeuvre and her million-dollar philanthropy for a Covid-19 vaccine (which itself prompted a fan tribute parody of “Jolene” – “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaciiiinnne”) together with her latest Christmas album and vacation Netflix particular, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” to watch of Parton that “she has only been interested in shining and sharing light wherever there’s darkness — and that includes the shadows that have stalked our lives since Covid-19 began making its perfidious way into our lives. I mean … it’d be nice if Dolly Parton or someone like her did rule the world. For now, let’s just say she owns this year’s holidays. Or at the very least, saved them and, quite possibly, us.”

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