How do we move forward?

Truth first, then reconciliation

move forwardMy friend Alison from church, in response to something I posted on Facebook, noted:

The Perils of having a reality show host as your country’s leader! I think probably you and [your wife] predicted that at the start? But no one could have predicted quite how terrible it could be! I would like your views on how this country can learn and move forward?

Let’s parse this. I don’t think that his a TV host per se was necessarily a disqualifying item on the resume. Ronald Reagan was an actor, and while I despised most of his politics, I seldom doubted that he was in government for what he thought was the good of the country, rather than always out for himself.

Whereas most people who knew Donald Trump before 2016 thought of him as self-absorbed, to be kind. He began his racist campaign talking about Mexican rapists. This was, as they say in poker parlance, a “tell.” So the outcome wasn’t that much of a surprise. What was more interesting/scary was how attractive his vulgar and abusive rhetoric appealed to voters.

Here’s the problem with political prognosticators. They depend too much on the past. “Trump will pretend to run for a few months then drop out.” He’s teased as early as the 1990s about running. They also said Biden couldn’t win in 2020 because he’d failed to even get his party’s nomination twice before.

Oh, yeah, what you asked

To your question, I really don’t know. I’ve been reading tons of contradictory advice on this topic. Ultimately, I often end up in the “truth and reconciliation” mode. See this article from Politico on the question of race. Surely, we need a healing process. But before that, we know we need some truth-telling.

This is important because “it’s not ‘unity that Republicans want, but absolution. They want Americans to forget what we just witnessed and what we are now likely to witness over and over again.”

Also: “As The very leaders who refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, who themselves trucked in the falsehoods and debunked conspiracy theories about a stolen vote and oncoming tyranny — the lies that fueled the Capitol assault — were now preaching the gospel of unity. And they did it with straight faces.”

Should djt be convicted in his second Senate impeachment trial? NO! But only if he appears before the Senate and repudiates the Big Lie. He could say, “I’m sorry. There was no widespread voter fraud. My hubris got the best of me.” Of course, he NEVER says he’s sorry about anything. So the Senate should convict the kleptocrat, keeping him from ever running for office ever again.

In remarks on the Senate floor on January 19, Republican leader Mitch McConnell condemned the violence at the Capitol. “The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.” Sure Mitch has his own agenda here, but he always does.

Congress amok

As for those ‘other powerful people,” they include members of the House of Representatives. Members of the House such as QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee Jim Jordan, and minority leader Kevin McCarthy, spread the Big Lie.

Worse, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, and newly-elected gun-toting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert,  among others, allegedly provided tours to insurrectionists ahead of the January 6th attack. Thus armed intruders knew the layout of the building and the weaknesses in security.

Then DURING the event, Boebert reportedly updated insurrectionists to the location of Democratic members of Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If true, these people needed to be booted from the House, at the bare minimum.

In the Senate, McConnell has problems in his caucus. In an op-ed published a couple of Saturdays ago, the El Paso Times was the third Texas paper calling on Ted Cruz to resign. The editorial board wrote: “To borrow from the title one of his books, now was ‘A Time for Truth.’ And Cruz knew the Stop the Steal campaign was a fraud.” Failing that, the Senate should at least censure him and Josh Hawley (R-MO), constitutional scholars who know better.

Understand their views

Speaking of which, CBS This Morning ran a segment on how poorly the average American knows the Constitution. They asked toughies such as the three branches of the federal government, who the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is, and who their member of Congress is. Surely Constitutional literacy is lacking in America. Maybe we need to require Civics for Grownups.

Other suggestions kicking around include supporting local newspapers so they can engage in robust reporting. I’m afraid, though, that too many people are so jaded about the honesty of the “mainstream media” that it will be of minimal effect.

I relate to this. Teaching in the Age of Disinformation Propaganda and conspiracy theories are everywhere. What’s a professor to do?

All of this said, I think it is important to try to understand those who revere 45, preferably in a “safe place”. Admittedly I don’t know what this looks like. Maybe we need to engage therapists all over the country to have us talk it out?

I do know from personal experience that this is damn difficult. But if you dismiss them as deluded, stupid, or manipulated, this will get neither of you anywhere. They collectively see him as keeping GOD at the forefront of American life. He cares about the little guy in their minds. You can agree to disagree with them, or just walk away.