At some point after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, honors can be properly bestowed on citizens and civil servants who carried out their duties faithfully since 2017 — despite harassment by a toxic president and his fevered fans.
President Donald Trump conferred the coveted Presidential Medal of Freedom to figures in his circle, including sycophants Rush Limbaugh and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Perhaps a symbolic exorcism or fumigation is in order.
No, those awards likely won't be revoked. The symbolism has yet to be addressed. But it wouldn't require much effort, or a pompous ceremony, for the new Joe Biden administration to find a way to recognize working patriots who performed their duties while enduring Trump-led attacks and threats.
The most obvious candidates would be the outnumbered police officers who were left to do their best against a lethal mob of pro-Trump rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died of injuries from engaging the rioters. Several others were injured in the line of duty, such as Metropolitan D.C. police Officer Mike Fanone was pushed, shoved, dragged and tased. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, pursued by a group of rioters, diverted them from reaching the Senate chamber, giving officials there time to evacuate.
Other citizens took different kinds of risks and plied different sets of skills. Consider all the medical professionals who had to improvise, based on mutual intelligence, a way to treat COVID-19 patients while the White House seemed AWOL.
There were low-paid workers who risked infection to keep stores and institutions running even as mask-wearing, social distancing and other health safeguards were turned into a running joke by Trump & Co., sometimes to their own detriment.
Of course, those deserving of recognition include loyal Republicans. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and his colleagues endured weeks of pressure from Trump, members of Congress and others to rig the president's vote numbers. Raffensperger didn't budge. Nor did Georgia election workers who were name-dropped for no good reason by the lying president.
Recognition also should go to the forewoman of the federal jury that convicted Trump operative Roger Stone on seven felony counts. A series of rage tweets from the president last February should be deemed a badge of honor for that juror, Tomeka Hart, a former president of the Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners.
"There has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case," said one Trump tweet. "She never revealed her hatred of ‘Trump’ and Stone. She was totally biased, as is the judge … "
Trump's claims were the usual fabrications. He pardoned Stone last month.
Former Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) was, in effect, banished from the GOP and his congressional seat for voting his conscience in favor of Trump's first impeachment.
There also was Christi Grimm, a deputy inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, who released a conventional report on nationwide shortages in COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment as the pandemic began raging in the U.S.
Grimm was just one of the institutional watchdogs and whistleblowers removed or politically smeared by Trump for reporting unflattering facts. Despite working in Trump's domain, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan showed integrity by pursuing corruption charges against business partners of Trump henchman Rudy Giuliani.
For that matter, Giuliani's efforts to damage Biden by trying to arrange a criminal probe in Ukraine were dismissed as empty propaganda by U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who then was fired. Many more names could make the honor roll of dutiful Americans who matter-of-factly spoke truth to power abusers in the course of a day's work.