One hallmark of the Trump administration was the creation of unnecessary stress.
I suppose to a kid growing up today, seeing people walking around carrying an AR-15 or a handgun in a holster must seem "normal". Back in the day, you couldn't carry a pistol around, unless you had a concealed weapon permit - and those were very hard to get. You had to show you needed it, for example, if you were a courier carrying large sums of cash.
And rifles were for hunting deer, not people. Sure, you might see a rifle and shotgun on a "gun rack" on a pickup truck in Montana or Texas, but not in more populous States or cities. Oddly enough, the "gun rack" has fallen from favor - perhaps a victim of the four-door pickup truck, where nosy children might be poking about in the back seat.
Similarly, back in the day, we didn't have basement nazzies or fascists or anarchists running around. Oh, sure, there was the famous "Illinois Nazi" case, where a gaggle of nutballs lobbied for the right to hold a protest rally.
All that has changed, and no, I am not blaming Trump for all of this - although he has a part in some of it, simply by not decrying it - and in fact, dog-whistling these extremists. The last four years - and indeed, even the year before that - during the election - has seen a lot of unnecessary stress and cruelty visited upon the American landscape - and this is by design.
We no longer merely disagree with one another, but have to call one another names. And Trump certainly was good at bullying people with name-calling. It was like being in High School all over again - a place I vowed never to return. The taunts and the cat-calls - it was all so familiar. Even if you weren't called "Little Ricky" or "Low-Energy Jeb" or some such moniker, you were pasted with the label "Lib" or "Libtard" because anyone who doesn't 100% agree with the President is obviously retarded - and obviously, the far-right has no trouble in shaming the retarded, either. The President himself mocked a reporter with mental disabilities.
And people voted for this - they voted for hate, divisiveness, name-calling, and nonsense. Alternative facts - another way of saying, "I'm lying through my teeth!" - and people went along with it.
They went along with it - for a while.
As I have noted time and time again, I have no truck with people who have different opinions than mine. But I think even conservatives got tired of the Trump circus. The interesting result of the last election is that Republican House and Senate candidates did very well, while the "top of the ticket" failed. It appears that perhaps some Republicans voted for Biden (or left that choice blank) while still voting Republican down-ballot.
It is not that the policies that Trump stood for - or the judicial nominees - were something they were totally against, only his unnecessary division of the country and the intentional estrangement from our allies. All of this plays into the hands of foreign powers, of course, who are no doubt encouraging this sort of nonsense.
Perhaps also, now that the Supreme Court has a conservative majority, many on the Right are less concerned as to who is President - particularly when the GOP still controls the Senate.
Does this mean an end to hate-politics? Perhaps not, but then again, I think Trump's petulant refusal to accept defeat will tarnish his reputation in the party. All this talk about Trump controlling the GOP for years to come might be hooey - particularly now that he has trashed his legacy even more. Obama doesn't control the Democratic Party, anymore than Clinton did, after he left office - or George Bush (either) did. Maybe this talk is designed to assuage Trump's ego. Perhaps.
But perhaps this spectacle we are witnessing will allow the GOP to regroup and redefine its mission - away from one-man cult-of-personality politics. Trumpism may go the way of the Dodo - but the Trump faithful may still turn out for the GOP. That is the tricky line they have to walk - renouncing Trumpian politics, without renouncing the voting bloc. A tough thing to do, as the last election illustrated, you need more than MAGA-hat wearing rally attendees to get elected to office.
Creating unnecessary stress - that seems to be Trump's hallmark, a way of getting attention. And maybe it worked, for a while. But in the long-term, people don't want to live like that. We want to get back to normal.