A new era has begun

Enormous damage was done. It felt like it might never end. But the Trump regime over!

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Like millions of Americans, I’m ecstatic that Donald Trump is finally leaving office, even as the horror of these years are seared into my brain forever. I’m sure you’re all feeling that too, so please join in the comments and let us know what you’re thinking and eperiencing.

Four years ago today the Trump administration began, and so began what felt like a four-year terrorist attack, but with the terrorist leader operating within our White House.

I’ve lived through terror attacks, like many Americans, and I’m not going to compare this four-year period to any one act, as I don’t want to diminish the experience for those acutely affected in any of them. Obviously each had its unique aspects and origins, and each caused death, destruction and shattered families.

But if the definition of terror is to instill fear in a population through violence and threats of violence, then Trump is and has been a terrorist, instilling fear in women, people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, immigrants and so many others — both through his state-sanctioned actions and the actions of those he inspired, from those who attacked the homes and businesses of neighbors and defiled public property, to those who engaged in mass shootings and attempted bombings. And of course there was the insurrection at the Capitol, a chilling domestic terror attack incited by Trump.

Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was also an act of terror, as he lied about the threat to our lives, willfully neglected his responsibility and showed callous disregard as hundreds of thousands have died.

The terror has long-term repercussions, and many will feel the anxiety and stress for months and perhaps years. The threat among Trump’s supporters is still out there, and I will be among many who will be speaking, writing and reporting about it. While having Trump out of office has dramatically decreased the danger, millions of Americans have been sucked into a cult of hate that will be hard to break. And we’ll have to pressure leaders, including President Joe Biden, to take bold action.

But today is about celebration in this moment, and the fact that we, together, beat back an attempt by an authoritarian and those enabling him to dismantle democracy.

Biden is president today, and he begins the work of restoring democracy and ending the destruction. Kamala Harris is vice president today, working with Biden, making history as the first woman and person of color to be vice president and giving hope to millions.

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With the stroke of a pen, Biden today rolls back many of the dictator’s actions — ending the Muslim ban, bringing the U.S. back to the Paris climate accord, taking control of the botched response to the pandemic, introducing legislation to put millions of immigrants on a path to citizenship and so much more. A transgender woman, Dr. Rachel Levine, will be the new assistant health secretary, an act of great justice at an agency that discriminated against LGBTQ people and in particular demonized transgender people.

It was a brutal night little over four years ago, when I was on the air at SiriusXM as the the 2016 election returns were coming in. I went home after midnight as it became clear but before the election was officially called. And then, while lying in bed at 2:24 am, I tweeted out my first response to the devastating news of the presidency called for Trump.

I felt that for sure, but honestly, I was very afraid and didn’t know if I had the fight in me. We’d not been faced with anything like this before in our lifetimes.

Those first weeks and months were difficult, as many thought we might not make it through, fearful every day about what Trump was doing to American lives and to this country’s standing around the world. And not knowing what he might do next to put us in danger.

But the Women’s March, which took place four years ago today, right after Trump’s inauguration, in cities around the nation and around the world, was the beginning of the great hope that we would indeed beat this back. People marched, and they organized and galvanized others, and got out to vote. It took a lot of work, and it wasn’t clear that we’d be able to turn things around.

Pundits predicted Democrats would have a tough time winning back the House in 2018, and would be lucky if they picked up a few seats but would still be in the minority. And many predicted Donald Trump would be re-elected again.

None of that happened because we were determined and we fought.

There’s a lot of blame to go around for how we ended up with Trump, how he was continually emboldened, and how progressives and the energy they created were dismissed right up until the end. And we’ll be discussing all of that in the future, and engaging in new battles on the horizon with the GOP, the corporate media seeking to keep the clicks and ratings high, and enemies of justice and equality who aren’t going away.

But today is about reveling in what we’ve done. Thanks to every one of you who stayed strong, and helped those who sometimes just couldn’t make it through the day — which was just about all of us at one time or another— and needed support in terrible moments.

We did this together, and helped American democracy dodge a bullet. It’s a testament to what can be done. Let’s celebrate it and commit to never allowing it to happen again.