How Trump and Obama handled MAGA chants shows how much American politics has changed in just three years.

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"


The President shuts it down. "Hold up! Hold up!" he repeats, admonishing the crowd to sit down and be quiet. He comes to the heckler's defense, saying that the man is just supporting his chosen candidate. Then he tells his supporters:

"Now listen up…First of all, we live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military, and we've got to respect that. Third of all, he was elderly and we've got to respect our elders. And fourth of all, don't boo—vote!"

President Obama not only defended the rights of this man who disagreed with him, but he defended the Constitution, defended the military, defended the elderly, and defended democracy, all at the same time. He told his followers to treat a political adversary with respect. He shut down the frenzy and encouraged people to focus, not on distractions and detractors, but on the issues at hand.

A day—and a great deal of backlash later—Trump said he "wasn't happy" when the crowd started chanting. But he did nothing to try to stop it, and he offered no apology for it.

Using the 'dictionary definition of racism' defense is a sure sign you don't understand racism.

The contrast in leadership could not be more stark.

Though horrible, nothing about the "Send her back" chants at that rally should be surprising. Did anyone who has watched the Muslim travel ban, the "immigrant crimes" hotline, the horrendous family separations, the inhumane detention conditions, and the severe limitations on asylum seekers really think that illegal immigrants were really going to be the President's only target?

Omar is a legal immigrant who arrived through our refugee program as a child and became an American citizen at 17. She's from a working-class family in the Midwest who raised her to love and appreciate democracy. Despite being constantly accused of "hating America," she speaks out clearly in defense of the Constitution and the country.

She isn't afraid to "tell it like it is" from her perspective (which is what people say they love about Trump). Though she has made a few statements that were construed by some as anti-Semitic, she has publicly apologized (while also explaining that criticizing the Israeli government is not the same as being anti-Jewish).

However, she's black, she's Muslim, and she disagrees with Donald Trump. And that is enough, in 2019, for the President to stand idly by while thousands of people chant an ethnic slur about a sitting member of Congress and a U.S. citizen. As opposed to merely a political adversary, Trump paints Omar as an evil presence and threat to our nation, repeating baseless conspiracy theories about her. That is not only unbecoming of the office of the Presidency; it also directly endangers the Congresswoman's safety.

If the footage of that rally doesn't disgust you, you are on the wrong side of history. There is no other way to slice it. If you find it exciting when a rabid crowd of people calls for a former refugee and freely elected representative in our government to be returned to the country of her birth, then you are the antithesis of everything America stands for.

I love my country, and what I saw in that rally was nothing close to patriotism—it was bigotry, xenophobia, prejudice, intolerance, and sycophancy. It made me feel ashamed as an American. It made me want to tell the world that we are better than this, but the evidence on my TV screen screams otherwise. I want people to know that those people chanting those hateful words don't represent the majority of Americans—but honestly, that remains to be seen.

Any student of history knows that populations slide into fascism willingly, even if unwittingly. We are not immune to the pull of our basest instincts, especially when they are purposefully played upon by despots. Prejudice has always been a powerful weapon wielded by unscrupulous people who know it's the easiest way to sway a populace to do their bidding.

Trump just bizarrely claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger had 'died.' An unfazed Arnold flexed back.

As Nazi military leader Hermann Goering said, "All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." It's a simple, winning formula. And we are watching it unfold before our eyes.

Where will the line be, America? At what point will we collectively decide that it's gone too far? When the government demonizes and scapegoats an entire category of people? Already happening. When we start putting people into camps? Already happening. When people actually start dying in them? Also happening. When the government starts attacking U.S. citizens? Oh, happening.

The signs are clear. We're not at a precursor stage—we are in it. This goes far beyond partisan politics, far beyond debating about policy. This is about who we are at our core and what we allow ourselves to become as a nation.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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The disease is potentially fatal if not discovered early and accounts for about 11%-13% of all cancer deaths of men between the ages of 15-35. An estimated 9,60 people were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020, resulting in around 440 deaths.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.