The right’s desire for unity is not my burden to carry
What Republican leaders are too cowardly to say is that their brand of unity is actually just a euphemism of unchecked authority and unaccountability.
Jim Jordan is ready to move on less than a week after a string of lies and conspiracy theories from his party culminated in an ugly attack on our democracy. ”What happened [with the riot] Wednesday is wrong; it’s as wrong as it can be. But I hope the Democrats don‘t go down this road [with impeachment], we don‘t know they‘re going to. Let‘s hope they do not do that,“ the Ohio representative said in a Fox News interview on Sunday. “I do not see how that unifies the country. Let‘s bring the country together and move forward and return to being this America, the greatest nation ever. That‘s where we need to focus.“
Congressional leaders like House Minority Leader like California‘s Kevin McCarthy and Louisiana‘s Steve Scalise echo Rep. Jordan‘s claim that calling for Constitutional remedies like impeachment or invocation of the 25th amendment, which allows the vice president and Cabinet to remove the president, is divisive. “I‘ve reached out to President-elect Biden today [and] plan to speak to him about how we must work together to lower the temperature [and] unite the country to solve America‘s challenges,“ McCarthy said. Mississippi Rep. Steven Palazzo added: ”There is more that unites us than divides us and that‘s where we must focus. Let‘s set politics aside, focus on the American people and sound policy to fix our nation and preserve its bounty for future generations.“ It‘s worth remembering a majority of House Republicans plus eight of their Senate colleagues attempted to undo President-elect Biden‘s win just hours after a mob of T****-supporting traitors stormed the Capitol to stop the certification of the election.
The irony is the president-elect ran on his remarkable ability to unify the country and restore “the soul of our nation.“ He promised to reach out to Republicans and display the bipartisanship of a bygone era. “We need a Republican Party,” he said to reporters last week. “We need an opposition that is principled and strong.”
Left unsaid though is the reality that unity requires a common goal among opposing sides. After Jacob Blake was wounded and paralyzed by four of seven shots fired at his back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin last August, the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic to protest. Following the Bucks‘ decision, the NBA announced all three playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed. Soon after, three Major League Baseball games, three WNBA games and five Major League soccer games were postponed. Of greater import than competition or revenue was a collective message: We stand against police brutality and racial injustice.
But many of the same politicians and pundits prodding us to stand in solidarity with them are unwilling to acknowledge on the record that their voter fraud claims, which have been repeatedly deemed bogus by the courts, are false and that Biden won free and fair. These are people who think that triggering the worst impulses of rabid partisans is an accelerant for their political ambitions. These are people who literally attempted to disenfranchise millions of voters — with support from a conservative media ecosystem and tech executives whose tools were exploited at democracy‘s expense. These are people who prefer voter suppression over ballot access. These are people who antagonized peaceful protestors and grieving families with harmful rhetoric and legislative inaction last summer. These are people who lack the integrity to tell the truth about our country‘s racist founding, in which it was seen as a compromise to view my ancestors as three-fifths of a human. I‘m under no obligation to honor their calls of unity when they're in disservice to my best interests or those of the communities I represent.
What these folks are too cowardly to say is that their brand of unity is actually just a euphemism of unchecked authority and unaccountability. “It’s telling how so many Republican leaders think they can hack the media discourse with disingenuous talk of unity and healing to obscure the fact that their Party incited an insurrection to end democracy just this week,“ political commentator and former Obama deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said. And let‘s be clear: The criminals who took their marching orders from the likes of T****, Reps. Jordan and McCarthy and Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley were defending white supremacy, not liberal democracy because, as Joy Reid said, “We don‘t get to pick the president. They get to pick the president. They own the president. They own the White House. They own this country.“
This is the same white supremacy that reinterprets the defeat of a historically unpopular scandalous president — who, by the way, was impeached and led a leaky and disloyal administration that squandered our economy and public health with no contrition — as an affront to their existence. ”There are 75 million people that voted for [T****] and they’re scared. They’re worried about what the future of this country looks like,” host Ainsley Earnhardt said on Fox & Friends last week. ”They‘re confused. They‘re heartbroken that their candidate didn‘t win. And they don‘t want to be forgotten.” When most people‘s preferred candidate loses, they accept defeat as a call to action to organize voters and practice the empathy needed to transform their vote into many votes. Instead, the worst of them attempted a coup that left five people dead.
The first step towards unity is humility — “freedom from pride or arrogance“ — to hear and relate to the experiences of the communities who have been marginalized since the founding of this country and chooses to participate in the democratic process of creating equitable systems and policies. This empathy will sow the seeds for accountability and lead to healing, which will culminate in true unity. “What would be unifying at this point would be a unanimous vote on Trump’s impeachment and removal, followed by expulsion from Congress of the primary instigators of the bad-faith objections to the election. The only basis for unity is reaffirmation of the truth and banishment of the seditionists,“ Jennifer Rubin wrote for The Washington Post. “If there is to be any reconciliation, it comes from the party’s complete repudiation of the lies about fraud and ejecting members who rode this wave all the way until Jan. 6.“
Today in three short sentences
House Democrats formally charged Donald T**** with ”incitement of insurrection.” Twitter's editorial decision-making could invite regulation. Most Americans are ill-equipped for a $1,000 financial emergency.
”This is America, and it will continue to be America, until white supremacy is dismantled. Justice starts at removing each and every representative who incited this insurrection. I’ve unveiled my first piece of legislation that would do just that. We cannot denounce white supremacy and allow its endorsers to continue serving in our government.” —Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush
Read All About It
Robin Givhan at The Washington Post on Kamala Harris and Vogue:
Harris styled herself. She chose her ensembles. But it was ultimately Vogue and its editor in chief, Anna Wintour, that selected the cover. And in using the more informal image for the print edition of the magazine, Vogue robbed Harris of her roses. Despite its freighted history of racial insensitivity and recent accusations of disrespect and promises to be more inclusive, Vogue as an institution hasn’t fully grasped the role that humility plays in finding the path forward. A bit of awe would have served the magazine well in its cover decisions. Nothing about the cover said, “Wow.” And sometimes, that’s all Black women want, an admiring and celebratory “wow” over what they have accomplished.
Evette Dionne at The Cut on the myth of American exceptionalism:
This kind of whiplash is as common in the United States as mythmaking exceptionalism and double standards in policing. America was built on violent theft, enslavement enforced through brutality, and congressional leaders manipulating the levers of power to suppress the vote, but whenever there’s perceived progress, including Barack Obama being elected to the presidency and Warnock becoming the first Black Democratic senator from the South, we’re asked to bury all of the ugly history. We’re at a new dawn, so we should pretend as if the darkness never existed — until we’re forced to face the next tunnel.
Mike Masnick at Techdirt on Donald T**** and Twitter:
And to those who think that Twitter should have done this earlier, or that it would have made a difference, recognize that your concern is not so much with Twitter, but with Trump himself. Remember that while Trump might not be able to send a tweet right now, he still (literally) has the power to launch nuclear missiles at Twitter's headquarters. And, really, that's the problem. Trump is obviously too toxic for Twitter. But he's also too toxic for the White House. And the real complaint shouldn't be about Twitter or Facebook acting too late, but about Congress failing to do their job and remove the mad man from power.
Korsha Wilson at The New York Times on how high-end restaurants have failed Black female chefs:
In workplaces with few Black women, many said they often felt caught in a paradox: invisible to their managers, yet put under a microscope by peers who had stereotyped expectations of their behavior. While discrimination in the industry is a problem both for women and for people of color, they say they suffered the combined effects of both racism and sexism. And they see even fewer opportunities now, as restaurants struggle for survival in the pandemic. When the Black Lives Matter movement seized the nation’s attention last year, a number of fine-dining restaurateurs and chefs declared their support for racial justice and vowed to work harder to diversify their staffs. But many Black women say they have yet to see any meaningful change, and even wonder how long the show of good will last.
Firmin DeBrabander at The Atlantic on how the gun-rights movement fed America’s insurrectionist fever dreams:
Since the 1990s, the idea that Americans would need to band together and violently overthrow the government has been the key to establishing and expanding the market for guns. It has also been used to justify citizens’ right to march around in public with assault rifles slung casually over a shoulder or hoisted high at angry protests. The argument for self-defense only goes so far, you see. If people want a gun to defend themselves and their family, then handguns will do—and preferably small ones, which you can easily store or conceal, so as not to invite aggression. And a self-defense argument largely limits guns to the household; that’s where you would be most intent on protecting your family, after all. This was not good enough for gun manufacturers eager to sell absurdly powerful firearms, such as semiautomatic rifles, which are properly at home on the battlefield.
Rob Mahoney at The Ringer on how life outside the bubble is taking a toll on the NBA:
It’s impossible to chart COVID’s effect on the league in any sort of straight lines; there are too many risk vectors to say with certainty where exactly a player may have been exposed. Yet with this kind of undertaking, the NBA is forced to try—to trace the movement and interaction of its players so precisely as to prevent an isolated case from becoming something dire. There’s a shadow over this season that never made it to the bubble, the reality of the pandemic that has killed almost 400,000 Americans seeping in from the edges of the screen. The goal should be to create as wide a safety net as possible. So why isn’t the NBA erring even more on the side of caution?
Hello, Habits: A Minimalist's Guide to a Better Life by Fumio Sasaki ($21): This book supports one of my guiding beliefs: Our success and fulfillment at work and in life are impacted by our habits and rituals — not willpower or talent.
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