To the victor belong the spoils
We will be dissecting the ironies of this election for years. I, for one, plan to put my own scalpel to good use. Beginning in any old random place, how about the irony that the former toxic president (Trump) employed another former toxic president (Andrew Jackson) as his mascot? The slogan that ushered in the Jacksonian era, “to the victor belong the spoils,” is now being used against Trump with the same scorched earth relentlessness of one ancient Egyptian pharaoh erasing another.
Trump’s own use of the presidency was exclusively twofold, his self glorification and as the ultimate tool of revenge. As he set about to erase the legacy of President Barack Obama with a little man’s zeal he soon realized it was easier said than done. Trump’s goal was to exact vengeance on a man (a black man, no less) who frustrated and ultimately humiliated his efforts to prove Obama wasn’t born in the United States. (That racist lie became so toxic to Trump that it was even largely abandoned by all but his most zealous followers.)
On his first day in office Joe Biden signed 15 executive orders — a new record. The orders range from rescinding Trump’s Muslim ban to rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement to dismantling the declaration of a national emergency used to justify funding for of a wall on the US-Mexico border. In rapid succession much of the Trump legacy was wiped out in a single day. Such was the impermanent sand upon which it was built.
The Republican response was predictable. Sean Hannity claims it’s hypocrisy to call for unity then to turn around and make such a “disunifying” assault on the legacy of Donald Trump. In other words, Hannity is inventing rules to keep our President from doing the job the American people elected him to do. Sorry, Sean, but it doesn’t work that way.
Besides, “to the victor belong the spoils.” That’s straight from Andy Jackson. By the way, Jackson’s portrait was removed from the Oval Office. The victor also gets that power, too. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.