Atonement for Trump

Stephen Rockwell • 2 December 2018
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In post-apartheid South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions were established in order to bear witness to the atrocities of the era, to give voice to the victims of discrimination and violence, and ultimately to reconcile and move forward as a nation.  Similar processes have been used successfully in post-conflict situations.  The United States never had its Truth Reconciliation Commission, despite 250 years of enslavement of African peoples, despite genocide and confiscation of land of Native Americans, despite the discrimination and vigilante terrorism of lynchings in Jim Crow South, despite ongoing institutional racism.  Perhaps now is the time for such a process.

Indeed, in the not so distant future, the Trump Era will be over.  Whether an impeachment, resignation, indictment, the deploying of the 25th Amendment, or simply being rejected at the ballot box, the Trump Era will come to an end.  Perhaps the support of Trump is a the final straw of needing to come to terms with a sizable group of white folks who thrive on bigotry and disdain for their fellow citizens who don't look or talk like them.  Trump has lifted whatever veil some of America had that progress was perpetual and inevitable.  There are many in America who are way too at ease with xenophobia, racism, and misogyny.  Indeed way too many folks do more than turn a blind eye, but hold such beliefs and act on them in their lives.  A truth and reconciliation process would bring those sentiments out and suggest different paths moving forward.  It would make clear that moving forward, this country will not tolerate bigotry and will take affirmative steps to end institutional racism.  We would put racists and their apologists on the spot, demanding a change in behavior, and an apology for judging others by their skin color or ethnic heritage.    

Maybe it is time to finally come to terms with a brand of Christianity that allows for bigotry.  The same brand of Christianity that supported slavery and Jim Crow, now finds itself as an apologist for the behavior Donald Trump, the very same behavior that they have castigated politicians on the other side of the aisle and denounced from their pulpits since for generations.  This blatant hypocrisy is turning younger people and people with any decency away from those churches.  It took until the 1990s for the Southern Baptists to apologize for Jim Crow and it will be high time for the conservative Evangelicals to apologize for their support of such an amoral, indecent human being who is contray to every teaching that Jesus provided as to how to conduct oneself in the world.  

And maybe it is finally come time for the GOP and Trump supporters to apologize for allowing no progress on what the majority of Americans want to see to make all of our lives better, including those who stand in opposition:

  • Raise the minimum wage and put policies in place to reduce grotesque economic inequality.
  • Act on climate change.
  • Provide universal health care.
  • Put sensible gun control measures in place

All of these have the majority of Americans support and Republicans block based on an ideology that cares little for others, rather promotes greed as the primary value in which to base public policy.

I'm not fully sure how a Truth and Reconciliation Process would work, but I know that when the Trump Era comes to a close, he will leave in a more disgraced state than he has already done to himself and to the nation.  Anyone who touches him heaps this disgrace upon themselves.  As indictment after guilty plea deal in the Mueller investigation become known, it is clear that Trump is in the crosshairs beyond his usual amorality but was likely breaking the law like so many of the associates around him.  The writing is on the wall, and now is the time to turn away from Trump the pathological liar, Trump the sexual assaulter, Trump the greedy, Trump the racist, Trump the xenophobe. 

Time for a better path.  Time to jump off the Trump wagon.  Time to realize you made a mistake.  Time to apologize to the rest of us.  Time to atone so it doesn't happen again.  

We accept your apology.  Let's work together prioritizing goodness over greatness to form a more perfect union reconciled finally from these division through eliminating the oppression that is division's root cause.