The Trump-era is rapidly coming to a close. As of this writing there are 22 days until Inauguration Day. Once Trump exits crank-right from our political center stage, we have to decide how best to proceed with several classes of people: (1) Trump and his immediate circle of supporters and co-conspirators, (2) the professional political class that aspires to or has attained elective or appointed office who enabled him by actively supporting policies that have undermined our democracy, sovereignty, and safety; and (3) the rank-and-vile supporter and voter.
We all know that there is a deep partisan divide in our country. We all know that there is a deep distrust between the factions on either side of that divide. And, we all know that if we are to move forward as a country, we need to bridge that divide. The question is, how do we proceed? How do we work together with the conservative faction after the damage inflicted on the country in big ways and small by the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, his professional enablers, and the rank-and-vile supporters?
I think there are two things that must happen: (1) List the ways that Trump et al. have damaged us. We have to be clear about what happened and how we’ve been harmed by it. And (2) they have to apologize for it, but it can’t be the Oh, sorry that you feel what I did was insulting, that you might get from the typical politician apology. It should be more like what you find in restorative justice.
The Damage of Trump
The damage done by the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and his ilk are massive, and I cannot list them all here. I can, however, categorize them into their most meaningful groupings: (1) Undermining our democracy and democratic institutions and norms; (2) The needless deaths and misery caused by the #COVID19 pandemic; (3) Damaging our national security by degrading our intelligence community and our alliances; and (4) Furthering climate change by deliberately cancelling environmental regulations and protections and allowing harmful exploitative industrial activities. I’d love to hear the ways that you think Trump and friends have harmed the US in the comments.
There has been a theme ricocheting around the liberal media bubble concerning what to do with Trump and his co-conspirators after he leaves office. Ideas range from some type of crime commission a la Glenn Kirschner to letting the nation “heal” a la Carter post-Nixon and Obama post-W. I would love to hear your thoughts on how we should handle the overwhelming corruption both infecting and eroding our nation after the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is removed from the White House. Please take a moment to comment.
The Four-Part Apology
Putting aside the issue of prosecuting criminal behavior, how should we deal with the legion of supporters and enablers among both the professional political class and the rank-and-vile voter? Should we forgive them and accept them back into polite company? Should we shun them? We have options, but the question is what should we require to welcome them back into our midst, provided they want to be in our company. Whatever we do, it is clear to me that we should start with an apology from those Trump supporters who wish to reconcile. This idea begs the question of what constitutes an apology.
In the psychological world there is a clear consensus that an apology should have several elements to be considered sincere and “healing” or effective. Typically, they range from three to six parts. We’ll split the difference and list four:
- Accept responsibility: For an apology to be sincere, the person doing the apology must acknowledge two things: (a) What they did. They must be able to explain to you what happened. We don’t need excuses or reasons why. We need to know that by refusing to wear a masks and socially distance during the #COVID19 pandemic, we caused hundreds of thousands of needless deaths. If you can’t do that, you can’t be forgiven. And (b) it was injurious to you. Those needless deaths were needless and excessive and have removed far too many productive contributing members from our society, and we are worse off for it. Too many families have been going through intense grief causing them further hardship during a pandemic. This is a big fucking deal. Before you can be forgiven for causing big fucking harms to us as a nation, we gotta know that you accept responsibility for it.
- Sincere remorse: Once you’ve acknowledged your responsibility for causing serious damage, you’ve got to be sincerely remorseful. Only psychopaths and sadists wouldn’t be remorseful for playing any role in the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans or destroying our democracy. It’s long past time for the Repube politicians and the rank and vile to sober up and own up. If they don’t, they are authoritarians and really do hate America for its freedoms to use a cliche.
- A commitment to avoid doing it again: It isn’t enough to be sincerely remorseful for having done whatever it is you’re apologizing for, you have to commit to not doing it again. If it was bad in 2020 to needless kill 350,000+ real live dead dead dead Americans. If you aren’t outraged by that, then you really are a sadistic psychopath.If you can’t commit to never doing that again, you aren’t welcome in polite society. Ditto for destroying our democracy, endangering our national security, or supporting rampant corruption. These are no brainers unless you are actual authoritarians.
- And making it up to you: You fuckers owe America for the past four years of crap and this year of absolute misery. The least you can do is pass #COVID19 relief and stimulus checks of $2,000.00. They’ve got a lot to make up for. It would be enough not to play politics with sorting the lawless corruption out and the damage done to our national security.
As the Ol’ Pussy Grabber blunders through the exit being completely oblivious to the ruined and lost lives in his wake, his enablers, co-conspirators, and rank-and-vile supporters need to take the necessary steps to be welcomed back into mainstream American culture. Somehow, I can’t see it happening. If you were willing to vote for four more years of the same or weren’t willing to risk re-election by opposing the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, then you don’t deserve to be welcome among the average American. Just like with an unruly child, you’ve got to set the bar higher and expect them to rise to it.
The #silverlining of the #COVID19 pandemic is that we have a clear litmus test: if you aren’t outraged by the lack of federal leadership and support that caused such massive unnecessary suffering, then you are not welcome. You need to be shunned, but that is another blog post all together.
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Categories: Cognitive Psychology