We elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. That’s majority rule! Yet, seventy-one millions of us voted for a racist predator who has committed crimes against humanity. That’s phenomenal!
We shouldn’t assume that 71 million racist predators live among us who have done such evil things as put children in cages or allowed thousands die from the coronavirus, but only that they voted for someone who did. Still, it’s hard to exaggerate the importance of making the right decision in responding to the calls for national unity.
What we know for sure is that Trump did not create their values and attitudes. They are part and parcel of American history, from the reluctance of the slave states to join the Union, to the Lost Cause mythology developed after the Civil War, to the popular resentment toward the “elites” today. In most of our history, we have contained this “dis-unity” through compromises: the compromises of 1778, 1820, 1850, and the compromise of 1878, which allowed white supremacists to take over the South and to segregate and discriminate in the North until the 1960’s. These compromises “fixed” the national “dis-unity” among whites at the expense of everyone else.
I don’t think another “white compromise” is possible. White rule is over. Joe Biden owes his election to African Americans. We now have a significant “unity’ among whites and people of color that could move us toward a climate of justice. The temptation is to make compromises with the “Trump whites” at the expense of others. That is what we have done before. If we want to chart a new course, we cannot do it again.