The American public would’ve disappointed Joseph Goebbels. Unlike Germans crushed by the Depression’s economic vise as well confounded by massive societal upheavals after the Great War, Americans of the last four years did not swallow the big lies.

An admirer, proponent, and practitioner of lyin’ like hell bludgeoning, Donald Trump ought have followed the Edward Bernays playbook instead. Der Trump’s intent would’ve been no less destructive, but couched in comforting terms resistance to his vile manipulations and their odious salesman might’ve better received by his prospective targets.

Miscalculating most Americans as he did, the vile pig could ultimately only depend on and exploit his fellow self-identifying deplorables. And while 2020 Election results clearly show our once great nation is thoroughly marbled with reprehensible people, the majority of Americans are good. Sufficiently roused, we can be counted on to save the country from its most abject impulses.

The United States has survived a schism nearly as sundering as the Civil War. The moment was as potentially devastating as the Depression. Challenged fundamentally as we have been these last four years, true Americans fought and vanquished a loathsome nest of enemies in our midst.

These our own fellow Americans.

In the end, despite the losers’ continual caterwaul, the system established by the Founders proved resilient against our worst, no, our most selfish appeals. In sending the short-fingered vulgarian packing towards New York court dates, we defeated nativism which threatened to rampage across our freedoms.

Whereas none today faced the possible forfeitures and sacrifices of Minutemen who abandoned their ploughs, untied shopkeepers’ aprons, set aside accountants’ ledgers, teachers who left student-filled classrooms, each suspecting he’d never survive to resume his labors, patriots of today shared this with yesterday’s – the idea behind America demanded our presence. Despite powerful Republican Party efforts to derail the outcome through widespread disenfranchisement, we persevered. Like King George’s troops, the GOP showed itself no less ruthless in trying to deny Americans our rightful aspirations.

We preserved the United States.

That the attempts to prevent the Colonials from becoming “Americans” and a 21st century reactionary minority to enslave a contrarian majority failed attests to the continuity of true national spirit, past and present.

While many should be relieved we’ve turned aside a clear menace, we mustn’t be content. Indeed, we need to devote ourselves to thwarting any reoccurrence. We need to purge our national body of the sickness the chief thief instinctively knew incubated among us.

Without a doubt the hardest the real estate fraud ever worked in his plush life was striving to manifest the worst in us. A future unsuitable unqualified snake oil salesman somehow attaining a major party candidacy for president will be a sharper instrument than the blunt Queens mook. Foolish as we were to permit a known swine to soil the Oval Office, the next icky aspirant will be polished, astute, and, if the nation unfortunate enough, beguiling for all the wrong reasons.

He or she will have learned plenty from Der Trump’s myriad mistakes. That candidature will be improved through refinement, through less abrasive packaging. The kind that allures rather than merely attracts.

Der Trump’s “successor” waits several generations distant. Degenerate descendants farther removed from the Depression’s lessons, right-wingers more resentful than their ancestors, will again press for wholesale dismantling of programs enacted after the 1930s economic cataclysm. They will call into question the notion of “American,” as in “who is truly a citizen?”

Lest we’ve already forgotten the “why” behind those fiscal strictures, they were enacted to prevent another economic calamity. On the social front, movements were established and goals pursued in order to expand and deliver the just and fair society promised us all, not just the fortunate few.

An ensuing cohort of Americans can expect some malicious Pied Piper to mislead them onto paths which will degrade their lives, marginalize portions of them, while as always further enrich the already wealthy. Only a clairvoyant knows whether they will share the same mettle we showed when brushing aside Der Trump.

Short-sighted and impatient as Americans are, the question now is what will be Der Trump’s legacy? Until he ceases doing his utmost to ruin our nation, why bother anticipating the conclusion of a still careening story?

Nonetheless there is one tombstone he’s assured us. The chief thief transformed heritage into tribalism. The first should be celebrated. The second sows divisions.

And if for nothing can’t we consider Der Trump a supreme divider?

If the reader’s forbearers arrived on these shores after 1790, their stocks are issues quite distinct from the black slaves, Britons, Dutch, and French colonists who initially wrested this part of the New World from its indigenous populations. Hyperbole, fortune seeking, escaping the Old World’s intolerance and repression, all launched hordes of Celtics, Scandinavians, Southern and Eastern Europeans pell-mell across the Atlantic.

Descended from the nation’s earliest usurpers and exploited, my history lacks an immigrant background. While there are parades and proclamations lionizing those whose shoulders I stand upon, these events are commemorative, not celebratory.

Yes, in America we’ve done wonderful jobs of perfuming our respective pasts. Inventing the “melting pot” has sweetened this myth. Daily life in this country demonstrates we haven’t amalgamated. The English language is the sole factor which truly binds our diversity. Otherwise, we’d regard ourselves/others with the same disdain as the “Americans” did Irish migrants who gave the same stink eye to the later disembarking Italians.

Some claim ours is a “gorgeous mosaic.” Let us each occupy a different tile. Individual pieces possess their own specificity. Adhered together, we’ve created a design that for the most part functions fine. Yet we retain our singularities.

Der Trump has bumbled along and emphasized certain tiles over others at the expense of the whole picture.

The grifter-in-chief did not conjure ethnic and racial resentments, but he surely stoked them among the weak and susceptible among us. Indecent portions of the discourse his cultists volley would be familiar insults to the first immigrants and the subsequent waves thereafter. Before Americans legislated ourselves from the habit’s worst deposits, what particular group wasn’t dragged low by nightmare characteristics then further exaggerated?

That resurgence will be atop Der Trump’s rotten legacy.