opinion

Bullies don't win.

Bullies don’t win. 

For a while we thought maybe they did. 

We watched a man physically mock a person with a disability. We heard him laugh about grabbing a woman by the vagina. We learned he wanted to build a wall to keep people out. Vulnerable people who he called rapists and criminals. 

We learned that he had denied black Americans apartments. We learned he had a history of not paying wages to people who worked for him. Of fraud. Of charging people exorbitant amounts of money to obtain a degree from Trump University that wasn't real. 

We watched as he was charged for inciting violence. Then there were the rape allegations. One after another. Accused of sexual assault more than just about any other public figure on the planet. 

Watch Donald Trump's final speech. Post continues below. 


Video via ABC News.

Then a video emerged of Trump telling a television presenter: "I'm automatically attracted to beautiful [women]. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait." A reporter claimed she'd been sexually assaulted by Trump in his home, while his heavily pregnant wife was upstairs. When the woman came forward with her story, it is alleged Trump said just seven words.

"Look at her. I don't think so." 

Trump insinuated she was not attractive enough to rape.

He lied about former President Barack Obama, claiming he didn't go to college, and wasn't born in the United States. He flippantly remarked that Obama might even be Muslim. He insulted Senator John McCain, a war hero who had been tortured and kept in solitary confinement. He said: "He's not a war hero. I like people who weren't captured." 

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And this was all before Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. A man with more lawsuits to his name than achievements. 

In November 2016, a bully took charge. He assumed the highest office in the world, because the American people put him there. We experienced a collective sense of cognitive dissonance. 

Our parents taught us that hard work matters. That experience and skill and humility and integrity will get you further than anything else. 

We knew, of course, that there was no such thing as an even playing field. Some people start the 100 metre race with a 50 metre lead. But at least we were all on a running track, bound by some mutual understanding of the rules. 

Weren’t we?

Did we live in a world where lies and insults and cheating and fraudulence and crimes and racism and sexism made you a winner?

A bully was in charge. 

The next four years were perhaps worse than we could have imagined. 

For 90 days he banned citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from travelling to the United States. He banned refugees from Syria. In his public addresses, the President conflated refugees with terrorists.

He ordered a raid on Yemen. People died. Possibly children. We might never know. 

His anti-immigration policies escalated. In 2018, the Trump administration ordered that children be separated from their parents at the US border and kept in cages. Three years later, lawyers are still unable to find the parents of more than 500 migrant children. 

Trump referred to African nations as "shithole countries" and removed the protective status of more than 59,000 Haitians, forcing deportation during a global pandemic. 

Under Trump, tax breaks and loopholes meant the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. America's 100 wealthiest families grew their wealth by $400 billion since the beginning of 2020. 

Trump very nearly started a war with Iran. He threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea. 

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He described Neo-Nazi white supremacists as "very fine people" and encouraged the police force to be more brutal when arresting alleged criminals. 

He ran a crusade against "the health and rights of women and girls globally" withdrawing all funding for the United Nations Population Fund in 2017 and appointed an anti-abortion advocate to run family planning funding for low-income communities. 

He was responsible for the longest government shutdown in US history, meaning nothing happened at all between December 22 2018 and January 25 2019. This was because Trump was pushing for an inhumane and illegal immigration policy that Democrats refused to accept. 

He was impeached. Twice.

He had Black Lives Matter protesters tear gassed while he had a photo taken. He incited an attack on the Capitol building. Five people died. 

He lied more than 30,000 times. 

His policies have meant that 400,000 Americans have died of Covid-19. He called the virus itself a hoax. He discredited face masks. He failed to act. It is the most catastrophic disaster overseen by a president in living memory. Potentially in all of history. 

As bullies tend to do, he left the space he occupied more divided and antagonistic. Nobody in the United States, surely, can say America [became] Great Again. 

Today, the bully leaves the White House. 

And we can tell our grandchildren that bullies don't win. For a while, we will say, they might seem to. People bow before them. An audience might laugh and cheer and become animated by hate and anger. 

But it will not last long.

Truth will beat lies. 

Kindness will beat cruelty. 

Hard work and integrity will beat cheating and corruption. 

And Donald Trump will serve as a reminder as to why we can never let bullies win. 

They will try to destroy anyone who is smaller than them. Poorer than them. Less fortunate than them. And they drag us all into the muck.

May we never have to learn that lesson again. 

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