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Zirpoli: Happy New Year! The end of Trump’s term is the real start to 2021 | COMMENTARY

Yes, I know, today is not Jan. 1. For me and many Americans, however, it is the real start to 2021. Let’s face it, until we get rid of the twice-impeached, want-to-be dictator in the White House, we will not be able to put the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 2020 year behind us.

So, today is the day. At noon, to be exact. I will have my sparkling water and plan a toast to new national leadership, safe enough for children under 16-years of age to listen to and emulate. Character, integrity, and sanity return to the White House at noon.

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Does anyone remember competence? Let me remind you: People in jobs who actually care and have knowledge about the subject matter under their charge. Imagine, an actual educator as Secretary of Education. A respected and independent judge running the Justice Department. A decorated military general serving as Secretary of Defense. Goodbye spoiled children, in-laws, and pillow salesman pretending to be presidential advisors.

Imagine a president who will read and listen to a daily intelligence briefing every morning instead of seeking guidance from the three stooges of “Fox & Friends” and calling it “Executive Time” on the presidential calendar.

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Sorry, Vladimir Putin. Your American puppet is gone at noon today. I’m sure it hurts after investing so much into his election and presidency. Continue to mess with our infrastructure if you must, but there is a new sheriff in town. Warning: He has a short fuse. Also, you will not be able to flatter him into submission or bribe him with new hotel deals in Moscow. And he doesn’t need to borrow money from your Russian banks. I’d lay low if I were you.

Sorry, Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader North Korea: No more love letters for you — not even a tweet. Also, no more unearned photo-ops with a U.S. president on your border with South Korea. Biden doesn’t need the attention and you will never earn the privilege.

Hello, Europe and other allies. America is back! Sorry about the last four years. Listen, it hasn’t been fun for us either. Hey, it isn’t like some of you haven’t slipped down the dictator road before. Seriously, for the sake of democracy around the world, we need to work together, again. There is much to do on the world stage. The world’s dictators have had a free pass for four years and it is time to show off the beauty and power of democracy, again.

America, it’s time to be that Shining City on a Hill, again. That place where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and the children are above average. The America where you can watch the evening news without getting depressed or wanting to hide under the bed from fear. That America.

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American empathy is back. A nation that remembers that we all came here as immigrants, and we need to pay it forward and help the next person make it, too. An America that believes bridges are better than walls, and that every American counts, equally. The new guy believes that his job is to help us, not disrespect us with insults and lies.

An America under one flag —the American flag — not the Confederate flag celebrated by the supporters of the previous administration. An America where it is shameful, again, to be a white supremacist and march around with anti-Jewish, Nazi propaganda printed on your sweatshirt during presidential rallies.

I especially look forward to an America where our vice president is a woman (finally) who has a seat at the table. I think we would be a much better nation if more women held positions of power at all levels of our government. This is a start.

It seems, at least lately, that each new Democratic president inherits a big mess. President Barack Obama inherited the Great Recession of 2008 and literally had to save the economy before addressing his priorities like health care. President Biden is inheriting a raging pandemic, a declining economy, and a divided nation. He will have his hands full.

It will take time for Biden to fix our broken agencies and departments, from the Justice Department to the Voice of America, which have been hollowed out by his predecessor. It is why I thought we needed someone with experience, like Biden, who understands how the system is supposed to work and will identify the right people to put it back together again.

So, goodbye, 2020. Even if it took an extra 20 days to get here, we made it. Just barely, but we made it.

Tom Zirpoli is the program coordinator of the Human Services Management program at McDaniel College. He writes from Westminster. His column appears Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

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