Flag more affirming than it used to be

This is not fake news.

Donald Trump does not run the country.

You say he never did. You say the Constitution does. Ah, but he was prepared to show you differently.

When he was impeached, Republicans in the U.S. Senate told him he could. All but one of them barely flexed an eyebrow over his illegal act of extorting a struggling nation to help him torpedo a campaign rival – that rival who just became president-elect.

After those proceedings, Trump knew he could get away with anything.

Oh, yes, Barack Obama was right: The fate of democracy itself was at stake in this election. Democracy won.

This just in: Vladimir Putin has no more sway over U.S. foreign policy.

Today, like Trump, Vlad paces his quarters, steaming at what our voters have done. Vlad would never let this happen in his election.

Russia invested so much in destabilizing this nation. The good works of the 1,000-plus-employee Internet Research Agency paid off in 2016. Now? Nyet.

So much invested in making Americans disbelieve in their system.

Freedom. Many a Trump supporter has sent that word ringing through hills and valleys. But what does that word represent to them? For too many, it represents the freedom to stomp around in camo, an AK slung over the shoulder.

Freedom from fear? Don’t change the subject. The camo crowd couldn’t care less if you are a fearful person of color, or an immigrant, or if you are gay, or lesbian or transgender and fear for your rights.

GOP support wasn’t necessarily about freedom anyway. Look at the Republican Party platform. Basically it says, “What Trump says.”

Now he’s bound for civilian life and the life of a criminal defendant. What does his party do now?

Back to the Russians’ designs to mess with American voters’ minds, particularly people of color. Trump gloated over the lower-than-expected Black turnout in 2016, rightly pointing out that a no-vote by them was a vote for him.

As his presidency seeped away it was mostly Black votes that provided the drip, drip, drip that took him down, in Detroit, in Milwaukee, in Philly, in Pittsburgh, in Atlanta, in Savannah.

If ever an American election had a fitting coda, it was provided there in those communities.

Trump had trashed voting by mail. We in Colorado who have been doing this for years knew he spewed bilge.

Now voters in many more states fully appreciate the process.

In the end it was mail-in votes – drip, drip, drip – that caused the waters to swell around and snuff a Trump dictatorship.

Trump trashed scientists and health professionals – and masks – amid the pandemic. Thursday and Friday more of his inner circle contracted COVID along with thousands more Americans.

But Trump no longer is there to mess with our means of fighting this threat, no more so than he will be there to cause deeper divisions with him as the epicenter.

My son, who has been bothered by the way the MAGA crowd has co-opted our national banner as it has flown from too-big pickup trucks with bulging gun racks, said the day the race was called that the American flag now meant something different to him, something far more affirming. The voters, the poll workers, the health-care workers and first responders, the postal workers, they are the stars in that blue field.

Today the flag does not mean racism, sexism, anti-immigrant hatred and gun lust.

Today it means less fear, less division, more tolerance, more thoughtfulness, more hope.

Today the flag stands for America again. A greater America.

This is not fake news.

Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young now lives in Colorado.

jyoungcolumn@gmail.com

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