Following the attempted political assassination of several GOP members of Congress this week, calls for “unity” echoed through the halls of power.
Democratic and Republican leaders alike offered up their ruminations on the matter — ”ruminating” not in the sense of offering profound thoughts on the latest tragedy, but rather, as cows “ruminate” on regurgitated cud. That an American citizen would take the ruling class’ dishonest and hyperbolic partisanship seriously enough to actually start shooting congressmen is tough for the political class to stomach, so for now, they chew on their hopes for national unity while promising to temper their rhetoric.
Such calls for “national unity” in the wake of violence are nothing new, and as I heard this latest chorus of “Kumbaya” reverberate around the country, I couldn’t help but snicker. I couldn’t hold back my laughter because I suspect too much about American government, too much about the meanness and bad faith of contemporary American politics, too much about the very nature of human beings’ relationship to political power to take American politicos’ calls for unity, love, and respect seriously. I have nothing against unity, love, kindness, and respect (and I certainly do not condone citizens randomly shooting members of Congress), but I cannot take the power-hungry seriously when they use the language of peace and community to advance their national ambitions of political control.
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