“While you see it your way
There’s a chance that we might fall apart before too long.” — Paul McCartney
The term unity has been used a lot recently and it helped articulate an idea that has been bouncing around in my head for quite some time. I’ve danced around it on these pages. The new president has talked about it and so we bring it up again, so we can put some things to bed.
“Today, @POTUS pledged to be a president for all Americans. It’s unclear how all Americans are served by opening travel from terror hot spots, proposing a giant amnesty, or halting the installation of security barriers along the Southwest border.” — Stephen Miller
Mr. Miller has articulated the point perfectly on the conservative side. He seems to feel that unity means that we do what we have always done and certainly don’t do anything to piss off conservatives. Yet, it’s difficult to look at controversial policies that cause disunity and inflame passions and argue for keeping them.
Governing is about choices and ultimately you have to make them. The new president has chosen to immediately retract many of the past president’s moves. This is not unique. Trump did the same thing. More and more it just seems that “unity” for conservatives simply means agreeing with them and accepting that they should be in power.
The cognitive dissonance is staggering. In a discussion with a colleague, he put forth the idea that the attack on the capital happened because progressives were constantly attacking the president and therefore were attacking these folks by extension. We simply didn’t understand the 74 million Trump voters enough. We’ve heard that for time and memorial. The fly over states feel disrespected by coastal elites that just don’t get how hard they work and how difficult they have it.
Yet, I got back exasperated silence when I explained that by giving into the 74 million and “understanding their pain” that you would be disenfranchising the 81 million people that voted for Joe Biden. It simply didn’t compute. You are what you do. There isn’t a ton to understand there. The collection of your words, deeds, and beliefs is the sum of what you really are.
Think of what Miller was proposing. He wanted to continue a travel ban on Muslims, continue a crackdown on immigrants, and to continue building the border wall. Ask yourself how that achieves unity. It certainly doesn’t achieve it with those affected groups. Yup, we love you and want to be friends as long as you stay the hell out. Sounds really unifying.
The whole idea behind unity is that we share a common destination. Astros fans, Texans fans, and Rockets fans are all united in wanting their team to win a championship. They may argue vigorously in how to get there. America is the same deal. We have unity as long as we have a common goal in mind. The trouble is that we may not.
What conservatives object to the most is the insinuation that they are small-minded bigots. Yup, I can see how that stings. I also firmly believe that being conservative doesn’t necessarily make you a small-minded bigot. However, when you support and promote racist policies it is hard not to come to the conclusion that you are a racist.
Unity does not demand that we give everyone a voice. Unity does not demand that we understand every little nuance of their perversion. I do not stand arm and arm with domestic terrorists. I do not stand arm and arm with people that would abuse women, children, or anyone else. You can tell me your sob story until you are blue in the face. Understanding you doesn’t change what you are.
The vision for this country is simple. We want to move forward guaranteeing everyone an equal opportunity at success and everyone equal protection under the law. That’s the goal. That’s always been the goal. It will always be the goal. Suggesting something else and calling for unity is like rooting for the Texans to go 0-16 every year and then calling yourself a Texans fan. It just doesn’t make sense.
The problem the 74 million have is that they seem to think we have to understand them and where they are coming from, but they get to discount our challenges, beliefs, and obstacles. We have had everything given to us while they work hard and never seem to get ahead. If only those silly minorities would understand their place then all would be well. The success of everyone doesn’t limit your success. This is not a zero sum game. Unity doesn’t mean accepting bigotry. It means bigotry needs to get out of the car while we drive this thing in the right direction.