The Long and Arduous Road Towards Unity
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden emphasized a message of unity and made his case for healing the soul of America. He echoed this again in his inaugural address to the nation by recognizing the common foes we face: “anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, hopelessness,” and a deadly virus. However, uniting the country is easier said than done and will take some hard work in order to bring the American people back together. Some people may be quick to call for unity, but it is an entirely different story when they have to act on it. We have seen a sneak peak of this in the run up to the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris.
Jen O’Malley Dillon, President Biden’s former campaign manager and now Deputy chief of staff, last year in an interview suggested that congressional Republicans were “a bunch of f---ers.” This language absolutely does not promote unity and only showcases the vitriol some people on both sides truly feel about each other. Furthermore, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) implied in a CNN interview that 75% of the National Guard are in the class of people who “may want to do something” at the 59th Presidential Inauguration. This is disgraceful and incredibly dangerous to say that troops who may have voted for Trump should automatically be suspected of being threats to national security. Additionally, former CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday stated in an interview with MSNBC that the Biden intelligence community is swiftly working to uncover everything they can on “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians.” It’s mind boggling that these politicians are just saying these asinine statements freely and out in the open. Lumping libertarians in with those other egregious groups is extremely harmful and will only contribute to the great divisions we are seeing in our society. Rhetoric like this only perpetuates an environment where people are demonized and stripped of their voices, which results in violence.
Democratic lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Cori Bush (D-MO) have called on Republican members of congress to resign for allegedly contributing to the violence and egging on the insurrectionists that raided the Capitol on January 6th. They have called for their expulsion from Congress even though there has not been any direct linkages between Republican lawmakers and those who stormed the Capitol. Nonetheless, the House of Representatives chose to impeach President Trump for a second time for his involvement in inciting a riot that raided the Capitol. Given the amount of time, perhaps a censure may have been more appropriate for the situation since President Trump did not directly call for violence, but his rhetoric over the last few months regarding the legitimacy of the election can certainly be analyzed. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also noted on an instagram live that she believed that the media needed to be “reined in” to stop the spread of “disinformation” and mentioned that Congress is looking into potential media literacy initiatives. However, the left has used this as a guise in order to justify the censorship and takedown of conservative voices on social media platforms. Moreover, Alex Stamos, former chief security officer at Facebook, said in a CNN interview that “we have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers to reach these huge audiences.” However, this is antithetical to a free press. Picking and choosing winners based on political ideology undermines the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and a free press. CNN anchors, like Jake Tapper may claim that they are arbiters of truth and that conservative media only spreads lies and disinformation when they are so blind and unaware of their own flawed reporting. Without even realizing it, these people have become the very thing that they so despise.
Big Tech has certainly become extremely influential in our politics and society. At this point, it has used its power to silence and deplatform users who share a different political ideology. Of course, platforms like Twitter and Facebook are private companies and are entitled to suspend accounts that violate their terms of service; however, they have been cherry-picking which accounts they are suspending and banned the President of the United States before his term expired. If they enforced their standards equally, they would also suspend those who subjugate their own citizens like Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, or those who chant “death to Israel” like Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other Islamic extremists. This double standard is extremely blatant and jarring. These large big tech companies have even used their own power and authority to remove the servers of Parler, effectively shutting down the platform.
Members of the far left have even called for blacklisting Trump supporters and those who worked in the Trump administration. Something like this happening in our country is unthinkable. Making a list of your political enemies in order to get payback and to ruin their careers is frankly un-American and something you would see in communist China. I actually believe President Trump said it best in his farewell address: “Only if we forget who we are and how we got here could we ever allow political censorship and blacklisting to take place in America.”
The political polarization we are seeing can also be attributed to the right as well. For example, President Trump’s rhetoric when it came to immigration, his ad-hominem attacks and rants on twitter, and casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election all have led to the fierce divisions we are seeing in our political discourse. Far-right groups like the Proud Boys and QAnon, members of which stormed the Capitol on January 6th, idolize President Trump and believe somehow still that he will be back in the White House. They have even called for the hanging of Mike Pence after he followed his constitutional duty to certify the electoral college votes.
The path our country is going down is unsustainable and extremely worrisome. I truly hope President Biden will follow through on his message of being an “American” president and will work across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats to do the hard work on behalf of the people. President Biden is in an extraordinarily consequential position to govern as a transparent messenger of the American public and to unite our country. The arduous journey ahead will be long, tough, and may test the limits of our nation, but I have faith that we will rise even stronger than before because we always have and we always will. Uniting our country will be a monumental task and I hope that the President is up to it because his success is our success. I wish him and Vice President Harris well.
Author: Noah Rothstein
The views expressed are the author's alone and are not an official statement of GWCRs