“You go out into a world where mankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before, to prove its maturity and mastery — not of nature, but of itself,” Rachel Carson challenged in her final farewell to the world. “Therein lies our hope and our destiny.” And just as Carson warned then, we face many of these same challenges today. With a divided nation, again people need to choose whether to face reality with courage or find solace evading the truth. We need to decide whether we’re going to rise to meet the challenges of the future together or continue to invest in the chaos and division that’s defined so much of the past four years.
With this crossroads in mind, it was with deep relief that I saw the Trump Accountability Project’s decision to shut down. Choosing to follow President-elect Biden’s call for unity as opposed to AOC’s suggestion to archive Trump supporters is an encouraging step for the nation. Making lists of Trump voters for future scorn and vengeance is the opposite of what we need. While it’s an unhealthy sign in any democracy, more importantly, I cannot envision any scenario where this ends well for the country.
Let’s be clear. For anyone that tries to take an active stake in delegitimizing our democracy, there should be consequences. If you’re willing to stand in front of a landscaping business and try to lie your way towards panic and chaos, you should be held accountable for that decision. You’ve justifiably lost all credibility and demonstrated a complete lack of even the most basic integrity. No one should forget that.
And for anyone who’s spent the past four years lining their own pockets at the expense of the people of this country, there should be legal consequences. Handing out pardons as going-away presents is a reprehensible practice — one that cheapens our entire system of justice. None of these crimes should be excused or forgotten.
But for the 70 million Americans who voted for Trump, there seems little value in creating a long-term walk of shame. Life’s complicated. I won’t presume to understand the motivations of this group. After all, the assumptions we make about others tend to reveal much more about us than the targets of our judgment.