Those We’ve Lost in the Trump Era

It’s hard in the chaos and Bedlam of the Trump era, the chaos of 2020, to take stock of the enormous losses we’ve had as a people. Between the hundreds of thousands dead, millions unemployed, and the untold amounts of human suffering caused by a necessary yet terrible isolation, we might not recognize just how many towering figures of history and culture have been lost in the interim of this era of American politics.

In many ways those we’ve lost represent the end of an era of America, and the birth of a new one. That this has happened under the auspices of the most unworthy leader we’ve had in modern history is a tragedy. To that end, this is a brief list of some of the greats we’ve lost in the preceding years since 2016.

David Bowie


Glenn Fray

Alan Rickman

Judith Kaye

Harper Lee

Antonin Scalia

Maurice White

Jim Harrison

Yvette Francis-McBarnette

Mother Angelica

Nancy Reagan

Merle Haggard

Katherine Dunn

Anton Yelchin

Muhammad Ali

Elie Wiesel

Gene Wilder

Pete Fountain

Gloria Naylor

Arnold Palmer

Phyllis Schlafly

Sharon Jones

Gwen Ifill

Kenny Baker

Leon Russell

Leonard Cohen

Debbie Reynolds

Carrie Fisher

George Michael

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Chris Sager

John Hurt

Mary Tyler Moore

Jimmy Snuka

Kevin Starr

Zhou Youguang

Mildred Dresselhaus

Aileen Hernandez

Chuck Berry

Linda Hopkins

Don Rickles

Greg Allman

Roger Moore

Chris Cornell

Michael Bond


Adam West

Chester Bennington

George Romero

Liu Xiaobo

Jerry Lewis

Glen Campbell

Barbara Cook

Fats Domino

Monty Hall

Lillian Ross

Len Wein

Darwyn Cooke

Halim El-Dabh

William Lombardy

Tom Petty

Malcolm Young

Clarence Beavers

Dolores O’Riordan

Wyatt Tee Walker

Billy Graham

Stephen Hawking

Linda Brown

Barbara Bush


Abbas Attar

Eddy Clearwater

David Douglas Duncan

Anthony Bourdain

Dorothy Cotton


Matt Murphy

Charles Krauthammer

Dick Leitsch

Kathy Shaw

Harlan Ellison

Henry Butler

Steve Ditko

Ann Hopkins

Shinobu Hashimoto

Aiko Yoshinaga

Dr. Katie Cannon

Aretha Franklin

Kofi Annan

Brian Murray

John McCain

Neil Simon

Marie Severin

Burt Reynolds

Mac Millar

Marilyn Lloyd

Big Jay Mcneely

William Baker

Will Vinton

David Wise

Otis Rush

Joachim Ronneberg

Ana Gonzalez

Stan Lee

Olivia Hooker

Stephen Hillenburg

George Bush

Evelyn Berezin

Amos Oz

Nancy Roman

Bernice Sandler

Carol Channing

Carrie Ann Lewis

Marjorie Sharmat

Dick Dale

Tejree Thapa

Nipsey Hussle

Richard Cole

John Singleton

Peter Mayhew

Norma Miller

Rachel Held Evans

Doris Day

I.M. Pei

Binyavanga Wainaina

Dr. John

Cameron Boyce

Ross Perot

Fernando Corbato

Cardinal Jaime Ortega

Hal Prince

Toni Morrison

Peter Fonda

Marca Bristo

Cokie Roberts

Eddie Money

Elijah Cummings

Cokie Roberts

John Conyers Jr

Azam Taleghani

Maria Perego

Bogaletch Gebre

George Clements

Juice WRLD

Heidi Hynes

Phase 2

Elizabeth Wurtzel

Christopher Tolkein

Max von Sydow

Kenny Rogers

Kirk Douglas

Albert Uderzo

The Rev Joseph Lowery

Neil Peart

Bill Withers

Betty Wright

John Prine

Kobe Bryant

Bennie Adkins

Little Richard

Tommie DePaula

Jerry Stiller


Joel Schumacher

Adam Schleshinger

Milton Glaser

Bonnie Porter

Ennio Morricone

Brian Dennehy

John Lewis

Olivia De Havilland

Regis Philbin

Naya Rivera

Charlie Daniels

Herman Cain

Malik B

Frankie Banali

Chi Chi DeVayne

Diana Rigg

Chadwick Boseman

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

This is just a sliver of the astonishing cost in human achievement the Trump Era has taken from us. The incalculable legacy wrought from the work of these men and women indisputably left the world a better place. This is the gap that we are called to step into, to fill the void left by their absence. It’s up to us to pick up where they left off and continue the work of bringing good to others. This is the calling of our times.

Christian Thrailkill is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, Graduate Student at University of North Texas, musician, and columnist. He lives in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @Wolvie616




Writer on the intersection of Art and Politics

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Christian Thrailkill

Christian Thrailkill

Writer on the intersection of Art and Politics

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