A Final Word for 2020

This piece originally appeared in The Carroll County Times online Tuesday, 22 December 2020, under the title "Lesson Learned From the Trump Years" and the byline Rick Blatchford

Christmas at White HouseIt's just a few days before Christmas and my last effort for the year. What's your pleasure — more politics and controversy? I've been watching some of my cohorts on this page for cues. On Dec. 14 one columnist went after a conservative writer — by name. Sure hope there's no challenge to a duel. If there is, my money's on her. (Insert smiley face here.) On Dec.16, another columnist opted to continue his incessant poking at Trump. One is left to ponder what they will do after Inauguration Day. Hopefully, no further postmortems.

Before leaving the subject of politics for the year, it seems an appropriate time to summarize what I refer to as "a few lessons from [President] Trump". First up, a bit more civility and a lot less tweeting would be nice. I suspect that few will miss the constant barrage of tweets. I must, in [the president]'s defense, point out that the dearth of unbiased media coverage of his positive activities (peace in the Middle East) and accomplishments (defeat of the ISIS caliphate, as examples) left him little alternative and likely encouraged his proclivity.

[President] Trump taught us that we can vocalize what's on our minds without having to sugarcoat it. This, in fact, may serve to mentally toughen up those whose sensitivities could stand a few calluses. We continue to encounter people who have trouble dealing with straightforward facts, i.e., plain talk. It seems that even when utilizing plain talk with civility, it's not enough for some without the sugarcoating. I hope that [President] Trump's example has shown Republicans, conservatives and libertarians that we can maintain a steadfast course and remain firm in our resolve. Having a spine is not a negative attribute and if we can add a splash of gravitas to the mix, so much the better. It would seem that Roosevelt's "speak softly but carry a big stick" remains as excellent advice. This is not to be confused with the "big stick" to which Joe Biden referred when he quipped about Obama — for those who recall that Biden gaffe. (A huge smiley face here.)

How many millions have U.S. taxpayers lost because NATO allies have shirked their obligations for years? Trump had the moxie to challenge our NATO friends. He alone is the reason that more countries are meeting their obligations today. His stand allowed the United States to decrease the amount of funding that we gave NATO because we no longer ponied up for the negligent nations. This will be interesting to watch the next four years. Anyone willing to bet that our allies will fall back to their old ways and return to welching on their obligations? Stay tuned.

[President] Trump did much more for this country; but, as we know, the media preferred to concentrate on the multitude of phony allegations made against him. Thank you Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and "Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) [who] is refusing to say if he had sex with an accused Chinese spy", according to the Dec. 9 New York Post.

GreetingOK, folks, that's it for the year — politically speaking. Thank you, Donald J. Trump for your service.

Here's wishing the readers and everyone else a better coming year. Although it's clear that the tough times are not over and done with, our experiences of this year will, hopefully, have given us lessons to better cope in the future.

I want to publicly wish everyone a Merry Christmas without arousing any animosity. Let me explain:  The greeting "Merry Christmas" is a greeting for good wishes and good cheer. This greeting wasn't ever intended to offend anyone. With the words Merry Christmas, it is my intent to present a cheerful, friendly attitude to others — Christian or otherwise. If you're offended, you needn't be. I offer no apologies for a cheerful greeting to anyone.

I've been greeted with "Happy Chanukkah" by Jews. I respond with "Merry Christmas" and everyone walks away smiling and warm. And, of course, there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.

Merry Christmas, happy New Year and everyone stay safe. And let us not forget a never-ending thank you to front-line workers, clerks and all the others everywhere who helped us all retain some semblance of normalcy. Thanks, thanks for reading, God bless and God bless America.

Rick BlatchfordRick Blatchford writes from Mount Airy, MD. His column runs every other Tuesday in the Carroll County Times, produced by the Baltimore Sun newspaper group. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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