“Make America Great Again.” It’s a short phrase, catchy and easy to remember. It does, of course, presuppose that America is no longer a great country if we have to make it a great country again. Then, like magic, it was “Keep America Great,” as if something had been accomplished. Then “Make America Great Again, Again.”


Doug Whatmore

So, how have we done? Judging by the last four years, capped by last week, not very well. The military has long used acronyms for situations like our present one; FUBAR seems to be the best fit for where we find ourselves.

Consider Mr. Trump’s “accomplishments” over the past four years:

— Nearly 30,000 lies or misleading statements in four years, about 20 per day on average. This more than meets the threshold for pathological lying and seems to be a family affair.

— Destroying the foundations of our democracy through the gutting of our democratic institutions and America’s faith in those institutions. He has systematically worked to destroy the State Department and our alliances worldwide, attacked the intelligence community, the FBI, Congress, the media (other than those who repeat his lies), the inspectors general (whose job it is to guard against malfeasance in government), and to destroy the system of checks and balances upon which our democracy is based.

— Completely failed to do anything substantial to handle the novel coronavirus pandemic, the worst pandemic in the last 100 years. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 will exceed the U.S. deaths from World War II very soon. The sole accomplishment of the administration was to spend billions to speed the development of vaccines already being developed, although without considering how the vaccines would be distributed and administered. Thousands of Americans have died and thousands more will die because of Mr. Trump’s incompetence.

— Failing to aggressively contain the pandemic and dealing with the economic problems it brought, Mr. Trump effectively prolonged the recession. The stock market is not a reflection of the economy, at best it is a lagging indicator that has been propped up by tax breaks for the wealthy and a stunningly mismanaged relief package.

— Built 40 miles of “big, beautiful” new border wall and replaced or refurbished another 350 or so miles of the existing border wall, at a cost of billions of dollars, averaging $20-30 million a mile. He’s managed that like he managed his six bankrupt businesses — borrow money, overspend, run out of money and ask for more. He doesn’t have the option of bankruptcy now, and the taxpayers will have to pick up the tab.

— Started a trade war with China. China does need to be held to account, but the trade war has hurt U.S. businesses as much or more.

— Separated hundreds of children from their parents and held them locked up in camps. The U.S. has been here before, and it wasn’t our brightest moment.

— Actively encouraged neo-fascists, white supremacists and anarchists (the core of his base) to fight state governors trying to slow the spread of a pandemic. He has repeatedly worked to divide this country and to drive wedges between our citizens over political differences. He acted solely to maintain his personal power and not in the interest of the United States of America. He and his sycophants have lied repeatedly about the election and continued to claim it was “stolen,” in spite of a complete lack of evidence. Some 60 lawsuits have been thrown out of court for lack of merit.

— Most recently he has encouraged the same groups of neo-fascists, white supremacists and anarchists who support him to go en masse to the United States Capitol building, disrupt the counting of the Electoral College ballots and threaten members of Congress. The result was the storming of the Capitol building by an armed mob. The president of the United States has committed sedition and incited insurrection against the United States of America, aided in his attempt to overthrow a lawfully elected government by his sons and by Rudy Giuliani.

The attack on the Capitol building was an attack upon the United States of America. There were some in Washington that day who were peacefully demonstrating. The ones who broke into the Capitol and those who encouraged them were not. They are domestic terrorists, guilty of insurrection and murder. To be clear, insurrection is a felony, and a death occurring during the commission of a felony is murder. Federal prosecutors may — and should — charge all those who assaulted the Capitol building with murder and insurrection, as well as a host of lesser charges. People who talk openly about hanging our vice president and elected representatives or secretaries of state, put up nooses outside the Capitol building, who carry zip ties with them while looking for our representatives or plot to kidnap state governors are not patriots, are not really Americans in spite of their citizenship. They are enemies of democracy and freedom, intending the destruction of our republic and they should be treated as such.

Another attempt at insurrection should be put down with overwhelming force. Fascism and anarchy must never be allowed to take hold. There are 331 million people in this country. A few thousand people who insist we live according to their delusional vision of their America should never be allowed the opportunity to subvert democracy.

What makes America great are our ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity, the right to choose who will represent us and the obligation of those elected to do their best for all the people. Should we lose these, America will lose her greatness. It is time we returned to our true path.

Dr. Doug Whatmore, M.D., was the co-medical director of the intensive care unit at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center until 2015. His most recent position was as the founding program director for the Internal Medicine Residency at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.