I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish
fantasy. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I
also know they are not new.—President Joe
Biden from his Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 2021
As a candidate Joe Biden made
unity the centerpiece of his campaign to the chagrin of the left wing of the
Democratic Party. It helped win over Trump-opposing Republicans, independents
and suburban women in his quest to get elected. Though so many have been
skeptical of the prospect of unifying such a divided country especially after
the past four years, the concept of unity was the principal theme in Mr. Biden’s
Merely hours after the inaugural
festivities, truncated as they were due to the pandemic and security concerns, Republicans
across the board demonstrated they are not having any of it. A reporter from a
right wing media outlet asked the new and refreshingly competent press
secretary Jen Psaki if the Democrats are ready to extend an olive branch to the
Republicans in the name of unity.The Democrats need to offer an
olive branch to Republicans? What a joke!
Maybe if the overwhelming
majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives and a handful of
senators would acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election fair and square
(which he did), that would be a good first step in unifying the country. Recall
how over 150 of these legislators objected to the certified election results in
several states and that was AFTER the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.
Let’s also look at sore loser
Trump’s behavior following the election. Through the moment he fled to Florida
on January 20 as a disgraced twice impeached president, he never publicly
mentioned Joe Biden’s name, never acknowledged he lost to Biden, delayed the crucial
transition period, failed to cooperate during the transition and in fact,
created unnecessary barriers, didn’t welcome Biden in the White House to confer
as has been a long standing tradition, and refused to attend the inauguration. What
an example of sportsmanship Trump sets for our young people!
Then there’s that pesky matter
of a Trump-incited insurrection on our government with the express intent to thwart
the peaceful transfer of power and to harm or even kill the first and second
persons in the succession. That’s called sedition.
This incitement by urging a
frothing, violent, angry mob of white supremacists and other pro-Trump believers
to “take back our country” whereby they stormed and ransacked the Capitol
earned Trump his second impeachment. Now Republicans, such as Trump supplicant Lindsey
Graham, are pleading for the Senate to not try Trump on this article of
impeachment if the Democrats want to truly unify.
Yes, Democrats should look the other way and not hold Trump accountable for his attempt to overthrow the government. They should move on. Republicans who advocate this dereliction of duty should be reminded that 5 people lost their lives as a result of the riot.
That’s one more life lost than
the Benghazi raid that killed 4 Americans in Libya. Republicans didn’t move on.
They held some 10 hearings on the incident and dragged then Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton to testify at one of these for 11 hours. For years, obsessed Republicans
screamed Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! over and over. But a violent attempted
coup? Not so much. Let’s just move on.
We should never forget January
6. It should forever be memorialized as 9/11 has been. But this tragedy, this
national disgrace, was perpetrated not by foreign jihadists but by misinformed
and conspiracy theory-obsessed American citizens who were provoked by a
deranged, lying and unpatriotic president, aided by his kooky attorney and two
rogue overly ambitious senators and a number of equally seditious representatives.
Within hours of the
inauguration, Republicans and their agents on right wing media mocked Biden’s
call for unity. The hashtag #ImpeachBidenNow trended on Twitter. Mitch
McConnell already began playing games to hold off on finalizing his minority
leader status and jeopardizing COVID relief legislation. Unity appears to be an
elusive goal especially if it is not in the political interests of Republicans.
It’s a no-brainer for an
incoming president especially from a different political party who had
previously occupied the White House to ask for unity. And like he said, it
could be seen as a foolish fantasy.
A degree of unity could only
work if both sides are willing to pull together. One would think that the
pandemic that kills Americans regardless of political affiliation would finally
bring us collectively to fight the disease as a matter of patriotism.
President Biden’s realistic idea
of unity is at least lowering the temperature of the rhetoric. The Republican idea
of unity, however, is for Democrats to capitulate to their whims and take no
actions to offend that perennially angry Republican base, who for the most part
see Mr. Biden as an illegitimate president.