In his State of the Union speech, President Trump called for unity. Trump and his supporters call for “unity,” but apparently only when they are being criticized or called to account for their unethical and sometimes, illegal actions. To these conservatives, “unity” only means getting their way and bullying the rest of the nation into accepting their mean, racist, hateful agenda. Experience shows that they are not open to reason and compromise. They do not wish to achieve real unity. Like spoiled children, they want their own way.
Unity is a good thing but only if it is real unity. It is worse to demand unity and to pretend it exists when it does not. Authoritarian rulers throughout history have tried to create false “national unity” to stifle dissent and consolidate their power. Such rulers create false emergencies and even get countries involved in wars to take the eyes of the population off the fact that they are trying to gain more power and/or are incompetent a home.
Unity is not reality at the present time. This country is more divided than it has been since Vietnam and possibly, since the Civil War. It is even reaching the point of violence. The current administration has emboldened all sorts of racists, white nationalists, klansmen, Nazis and other right wing-nuts. They form part of Trump’s “base” and he seeks to appease them. Are people of good will suppose to have “unity” with such people and organizations?
Of course, they were always there, lying right just below the surface of American culture and our body politic but the Trump Movement has made them far less cowardly than they usually are. They are still cowards but they are a lot bolder these last two years. While they were tolerated by America’s ruling classes, they kept a relatively low profile until Trumpism, a fascist movement itself, made such groups more visible to the public. There is no “unity” possible between freedom and fascism.
Naturally, not all conservatives are fascists. Some are moderate but they do not seem to have much of a voice in the GOP these days. There are even strong conservatives who are embarrassed by association with people like Trump. There are “nice” conservatives. On the other hand, they should remember what Dr. King said to the “nice” white folks!
In such a situation, conflict is real. The right accuses liberals and progressives of “class conflict” and “class war” and they are certainly right in that there is real class conflict and the largest gap between the minority who owns most of the wealth and the “rest of us.” But remember, the “rest of us” did not start the war! If we react angrily, it is only in self-defense.
While it looked as though we were evolving, racist, homophobic, misogynist and other reactionary elements are bringing forth their hate and anger. They are using their hate and bitterness to incite others to anger and even to violence. Perhaps Mr. Trump is only representative of what we have become as a culture?
How can liberals, progressives and even sane conservatives “unify” with people and agendas that violate our principles and indeed, the basic rules of moral decency? The current administration and its supporters stand for principles antithetical to our nation’s stated values.
You cannot argue or reason with the willfully ignorant. As this writer has pointed out before, there are two kinds of ignorance. There is innocent ignorance where we simply do not know something and it is easily forgivable and cured by the correct information. Willful ignorance, on the other hand, is when you choose to believe in something because it is what you want to believe in the face of all evidence to the contrary. This sort of ignorance is seldom treatable.
Reason usually does not work with such people. While accusing progressives and liberals of “drinking the Kool Aid,” it is actually the Trump Movement and the Tea Party which preceded it which remind one most of a toxic religious “cult.” The only solution is “resistance” at all levels to Trump and his agenda. If one loves his or her country, resistance to Trump and other like him is the “patriotic” thing to do.
For conservatives to call for unity is both hypocritical and divisive itself. They accuse liberals and progressives of promoting national disunity to take the focus off themselves and the fact that they are the truly divisive ones. They lie and say that Black Lives Matter somehow means that other lives do not matter to incite racial discord. Someone once said that perhaps the reason we have Black Lives Matter is because for three centuries, they did NOT matter!
Many conservatives, including some writers to The Sun accuse liberals and progressives of promoting “hate.” Like Trump Christians, who see disagreement with their theocratic agenda as “persecution,” Trump and his supporters see anything that criticizes the right as “hate.” Since 9-11, most acts of violence in this country which have had a “political” connection have come from the far right, not the far left. The days of the Weather Underground are over!
It is not the left that is storing weapons to fight the left. It is not progressives who were advocating a military coup against President Obama or who were promising a “Second Amendment Solution” had Hillary Clinton been elected in 2016,
On the other hand, there has been a great deal of harassment of liberals and progressives. Even in the Lakes Region, liberals and progressives have had cruel tricks played on them, been vandalized, been threatened, and even told they do not deserve a livelihood. One local senior citizen, a lady, even received obscene phone calls from a right-wing caller!
We have a head of state who thinks that any exposure of his lies and malfeasance are “fake news” or “hate mongering” He has a flock of willfully ignorant followers who will excuse him for “sins” they would never forgiven a Democrat for committing. Our goal in the next two years to is to get this obscenity out of office and hold him accountable in a court of law.
(Scott Cracraft is a citizen, a taxpayer, a veteran and resident of Gilford.)