I read the news today, oh boy!

After Trump was declared president-elect four years ago, I slowly slipped into a dark hole. For a week or two, I tried to read the daily paper (New York Times), but I couldn't keep it up. Journalists seemed to be treating Thump as a president worthy of respect, but all I saw was a lying piece of trash. Trump affirmed my opinion over the course of several years, and lowered the bar even more. I couldn't stand it. Though my wife Jane insisted we continue to get a paper, I stopped reading it entirely. I couldn't bear to wake up every day to a new rash of insults, lies, and criminal behavior.

Plenty of news leaked through my self-imposed barriers, however, and my world got sadder and darker still. I hated being constantly terrorized by the rank ignorance and malevolence of Trump Republicans. I especially hated the glee with which they attacked anyone who didn't buy into their bullshit. And I hated the lies.

This morning I woke up with optimism in my heart for the first time in years. I read the paper cover to cover and rejoiced with every story. I learned that our new president is a thoroughly decent human being with a genuine interest in the well-being of our country. It brings tears to my eyes.

PS There's much discussion ongoing today about healing. It sounds good in theory, and maybe it'll eventually happen. But from where I sit, there are a couple of big roadblocks. First, we can't move forward together without a shared understanding of truth. And second, we can't claim to be a just society without holding criminals like Trump accountable.

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The power of decency

From the Times today:

"During the primaries, Mr. Biden rebuffed pressure to move to the left, believing his party would embrace his pragmatism as its best chance to beat Mr. Trump. In the general election, Mr. Biden made Mr. Trump’s erratic conduct and mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic his overwhelming themes, shunning countless other issues as needless distractions.

While some Democrats urged him to compete in a wider array of battlegrounds, Mr. Biden put the Great Lakes states at the center of his electoral map, trusting that with an appeal to the political middle he could rebuild the so-called Blue Wall and block Mr. Trump’s path to a second term.

Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Biden believed that no issue would figure larger in voters’ minds than Mr. Trump’s presence in the Oval Office. And if he could make the election an up-or-down vote on an out-of-control president, he believed he could win.

On that score, he was right. As voters sized up Mr. Biden as a potential president, his familiar flaws and foibles — the antiquated vocabulary and penchant for embellishment, his nostalgic yarns about segregationist senators and a defensiveness that led him, in one case, to challenge a voter to a push-up contest — paled against the conduct of an incumbent sowing racial division, threatening to deploy troops in American cities and floating the idea of injecting disinfectant as a coronavirus treatment.

Anita Dunn, one of Mr. Biden’s closest advisers, said the campaign had been propelled all along by the candidate himself, and his unwavering theme and strategy.

“It was his campaign,” Ms. Dunn said. “It was less consultant-driven than any presidential campaign in modern history.”

Still, at the outset, Mr. Biden’s political theory of the case struck even some of his loyal allies as misguided in an era of intense ideological polarization.

I am cautiously optimistic

My niece sent me a text last night that she was worried Trump supporters might start shooting people. I curbed my desire to say, "They already have," and proceeded to assure her that these groups are being watched closely by the Feds and any organized rebellion will be dealt with swiftly.

Two gun-nuts were taken into custody in Philly a few days ago, likely QAnon crazies. And of course at least two kidnapping plots of elected officials have been foiled recently. Doesn't mean it's safe "out there" by any stretch of the imagination, but fears of some Civil War erupting need to be disregarded.

I will not live in fear. To hell with that.