It’s quite impressive how quickly the Trump crowd pivoted from gleefully saying “Fuck your feelings” to empty calls for unity.
I’m all for unity, healing, and reconciliation, but not without a few non-negotiable steps first. As David Frum put it in his recent piece in The Atlantic, The Conservative Cult of Victimhood:
There is no redemption without repentance. There is no repentance without accountability. There is no accountability without consequences.
When I see calls for consequences from progressives and the mealy-mouthed, cap-in-hand calls for unity from the MAGA crew, it looks like this:
The problem is that the repentance has been performative so far, and it appears to be in the service of avoiding accountability or consequences. If any of you have ever had a bully in school (or hey, even at work), you know what that’s like. If you’ve ever had an abusive significant other or spouse, you know what that’s like:
Here’s the text of the main tweet from A. R. Moxon:
Republicans appear to be finished with the “trying to kill us while blackout drunk” phase of their abuse cycle and into the “crying at us to unlock the door while asking us why we’re being such a bitch about this” part of their abuse cycle.
And here’s the text of the reply from Halldór Auðar Svansson:
It’s interesting how abusers always behave in such predictable ways that it can be modeled accurately. Now we are at the “I’m sorry that things got so out of hand, now we need to heal but that requires you to shut up about what I did” part.
Also worth considering: Some of their biggest voices don’t believe in unity, or that it’s possible. Case in point: Dennis Prager, big Trump supporter and guy behind PragerU, who wrote the think piece Calls For American Unity Are Either Dishonest Or Naive in Investor’s Business Daily back at the start of the first Trump campaign.
So before we can have reconciliation and healing, we need to make sure that the right people face the consequences of their actions and make the appropriate restitutions. Otherwise, we’ll face the same crisis, and the next time, it might be carried out by more competent people.
There will come a time for reconciliation, but that time hasn’t yet come, and the apologies seem far from sincere. Let’s not answer those “calls for unity” just yet.