Did you know that “Auld Lang Syne,” from the Scots language in which it was written back in 1788, literally translates in English to “old long since,” not so literally to “long long ago”?
Do you care?
I can bore you even more about why it was associated with New Year’s, but I won’t, except to mention that it was famously performed at the stroke of midnight by society orchestra Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians. They really played cheesy music, sort of like Lawrence Welk but not as hip. The Lombardo band’s arrangement is still played in Times Square while television network anchors make fools of themselves. Actually, while the ball is still being lowered, most of the traditional crowd is being kept away because of you know what.
Which gets us to Donald Trump, who is still president of the United States. He is using his last days in office to destroy as much of the country as he can by focusing on anything but the COVID pandemic, which is raging out of control. But he’s ignoring it, except when he grudgingly signs legislation that keeps Americans from drowning in the coronavirus.
And he continues to be oblivious at Mara- Lago as he wields his enormous powers in the few days remaining of his term before he petulantly hands the White House keys over to Joe Biden. That assumes he doesn’t try out a full-blown
His last acts in office may not be literally earth-shattering, but devastating nonetheless if he vindictively finds other ways to damage the citizens under his care and sabotages the economy even more than it is already. He waited till the last minute to accept the rescue of millions of Americans who faced hunger and homelessness before signing a pittance package, $900 billion worth. Congress and his administration negotiated it for months while he stayed on the sidelines.
He has a point -- it is grossly inadequate. But his motives were suspect, not only because he kept everyone in suspense until the last instant before he ended his tantrum, but because it was attached to the funding of the entire federal government. It’s also as if he was saying, “OK, if you won’t let me head the government, I won’t leave behind a government.”
Of course, he doesn’t publicly acknowledge that he’s up to legal trickery, or that he’s going to pull a fast one and take the nation to the edge of the precipice. He’s been tweeting like crazy, I mean really tweeting like a crazy man. His proclamations would be considered rants if they weren’t on Twitter, and if the author wasn’t the leader of the free world.
Take Christmas Eve, for
instance, when, usually, it’s reserved for goodwill. Donald Trump was continuing his own tradition ... Yuletide badwill. This is a Christmas Eve sample: “I saved at least 8 Republican Senators, including Mitch, from losing in the last Rigged (for President) Election. Now they (almost all) sit back and watch me fight against a crooked and vicious foe, the Radical Left Democrats. I will NEVER FORGET!”
Just add it to his massive list of grievances. Festivus is made for Donald Trump. He already is changing the lyrics of the traditional New Year’s song: Should auld acquaintances be forgot Oh no they never will The grudges will last a lifetime here That’s what I mean when I sing about my bitter Auld Lang Syne.
Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN.