Unite or Die: Why Unity is Bogus

“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify. Who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States” exclaimed president-elect Joe Biden during his first speech.  “It’s time for America to unite,” he continued.  “And heal.”

What a powerful message, I thought.  Biden would like us all to hold hands (from six feet apart) and sing kumbaya with those across the aisle.  How kind of him to not “see color” politically speaking, just like he didn’t see color when he advocated for the 1994 Crime Bill.  I digress; the nation could use some healing, both from the coronavirus and the absolute mess that this election cycle became. 

The personal attacks and judgments made by many Democrats, especially young liberals, against conservatives will not quickly be forgotten.  I don’t say this as a threat, but a fact: if someone labels you a bigot with no evidence, you’re not likely to ignore it.  

The hypocrisy cannot be overstated.  From the party that regularly championed Republicans as racists, xenophobes, and bigots, calling for unity is one of the largest signs of disrespect to the conceding party in American history.  The personal attacks and judgments made by many Democrats, especially young liberals, against conservatives will not quickly be forgotten.  I don’t say this as a threat, but a fact: if someone labels you a bigot with no evidence, you’re not likely to ignore it.  

The Republican base is learning how to hold a grudge.  From the disappearance of manufacturing jobs and rising income inequality to challenges to the traditional Judeo-Christian value system that the U.S. had in the 20th century, many Republicans are feeling the worst effects of Democratic policies and ideologies.  It is no wonder that these Americans supported a populist who promised to bring jobs back and confirm originalist judges and justices to the court system.  Trump lost the 2020 presidential election; there is no denying this, and I urge my Republican readership to accept these obvious, verified results as well.  But to slap a bandaid on the personal attacks, media censorship, and violent attacks on Trump supporters by cooing “Unity!” is absurd. 

As a young, female conservative, this push for unity is all the more upsetting.  Over the course of the election, as well as over the last four years, I have been told that all Republicans are racist, sexist, and multiple other -ists who want to see the social progress made in America in the last 60 years erased. I live in an echo chamber where my friends regularly post, tweet, or say things like “If you support Trump, you are not my friend.  Block me.  You are the reason that America is still a racist place.”  I have even been told that as a Republican, I am anti-women. My uterus disagrees.

Candidly, I do want unity to occur; it just cannot be forced. Apologies must be issued, rhetoric must change to criticize ideas rather than individuals, and both the GOP and Democratic party must undertake a conscious effort to understand the opposition’s platform and voter base.

To that end, I beg for some clarity.  Would the Democrats prefer to block Republicans and make egregious accusations that we are all racist, or would they like us to come together and ignore the recent past?  Seeing as how the Democratic Party refused to compromise with Senate Republicans and President Trump for the last four years, do they really deserve any unity or Republican support during Biden’s term?  I think not.  There isn’t even unity within the Democratic party, as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chided the party for ignoring her progressive policies. Perhaps there is just no hope for unity whatsoever. 

In an ideal world, our Congress and populace would become less polarized and perhaps begin to craft bipartisan legislation again, and neighbors would say “Well, she and her husband voted for Trump but I think she makes fabulous banana bread so I will invite her family over for dinner anyway.”  Candidly, I do want unity to occur; it just cannot be forced. Apologies must be issued, rhetoric must change to criticize ideas rather than individuals, and both the GOP and Democratic party must undertake a conscious effort to understand the opposition’s platform and voter base.

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About Lindsay Keiser

Lindsay Keiser is a sophomore in LSA studying political science and interdisciplinary astronomy. She is also the international section editor for the Michigan Journal of Political Science as well as an avid runner.