Apparently, despite what they say, Democrats can’t get enough of Donald Trump – even when he’s a former president and a private citizen.
Next week he will be the center of attraction in Washington once again. That’s when his impeachment trial is scheduled to begin.
President Biden has made unity a major theme of his fledgling presidency. In his Inaugural Address he said, “We can see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace — only bitterness and fury. No progress — only exhausting outrage. No nation — only a state of chaos.”
I’ve long believed that polarization in America is a bigger problem than almost anything else, including climate change, which we’re told is an “existential threat.” It certainly is a more immediate threat than climate change.
So if Joe Biden wants to lower the temperature and bring liberals and conservatives closer together, then hats off to our new president for focusing, as he is, on unity.
But this raises a question: How is an impeachment trial of a former president who is now a private citizen going to unite the country?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Donald Trump should not be given a “Get out of jail free card,” that he needs to be held accountable for what the single article of impeachment calls “inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
It’s not an unreasonable argument, one that more than a few of my conservative-leaning friends find convincing. But it’s an argument that, for me, would carry a lot more weight if then-President Trump had delivered that reckless January 6 speech a year ago, or even just a few months ago, instead of just two weeks before the end of his presidency.
But now that he’s out of office … is a trial really necessary?
Whatever else it may accomplish, it’s a safe bet that it won’t – in the words of President Biden — enable us to “see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors.” Nor will it encourage Americans, already divided, to “join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature.”
Trial or no trial, Donald Trump will be held accountable for riling up the mob that stormed the Capitol. History will hold him accountable. And history, I suspect, won’t be kind.
But it’s not only a questionable trial that stands in the way of unity. Apparently, President Biden’s supporters didn’t take seriously his call for treating each other with “dignity and respect.”
If you don’t believe that America is a fundamentally racist country, that “systemic racism” is embedded in the nation’s DNA, there’s a good chance the “woke” crowd will see you as … a racist.
Does President Biden think that will unite us?
If you don’t think people who sneak into this country have a fundamental right to free health care and a path to citizenship, if you don’t think we need millions more immigrants crowding our schools and hospitals, there’s a good chance the other side will tar you as insensitive (at best) or a flat out bigot (at worst).
Is that something that will narrow the gap between the two sides?
If you think the president made a mistake by cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline – and putting in jeopardy thousands of blue collar jobs – get ready to be smeared as a Neanderthal who doesn’t care a wit about the environment.
Is that likely to unite divided Americans?
And if you’re an enthusiastic Trump supporter, “enlightened” progressives would like nothing more than to send you to a re-education camp. Katie Couric told Bill Maher on his HBO show that, “[T]he question is how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.”
For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump for president or anything else, but help me out here: How is elite condescension going to lessen the “bitterness and fury” that our new president worries so much about?
Someone wrote a nice speech for the president to deliver at his inauguration. Words matter. But actions matter a lot more. Joe Biden could have told his side to tone down the divisive rhetoric. He could have told Pelosi and Schumer to lower the temperature and stop the impeachment trial, that it was unnecessary because Donald Trump was already gone.
As president, as the nominal head of his party, he could have showed them that he’s serious when he talks about unity.
He could have – but he didn’t.