After Joe Biden’s early flurry of executive actions, Republican leaders complained. That is to be expected; they are the opposition party, after all. But the way they complained, especially in the aftermath of all that has happened recently, signals that Republicans have no desire (or incentive) to become a healthy participant in democracy.
Most of the early complaints revolved around Biden’s supposed violation of “national unity” in pursuit of his “radical” agenda. There is all sorts of irony and blatant hypocrisy here, of course. Donald Trump was one of the most unabashedly divisive presidents ever, and at no point did Republicans ponder the negative impact on national unity that Trump might be having.
We’re almost a month from the events of January 6, and it’s crucial that the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol is not disregarded in hindsight as the actions of a fringe minority. Hard-line Republicans (including Trump) caused that tragedy, and establishment GOPers aided and abetted them. Unity is a buzzword that Republicans know is an impossibility, mostly as a result of their own actions, and they use it cynically (and reflexively) against Biden any time it suits them.
It’s effective because it flips the burden of national unity on Democrats. Convincing Americans that this divided America is somehow a Both Sides proposition, and that blame should be apportioned equally on both major parties, is a win for the GOP. It’s a lie, but that doesn’t really matter at this point.
Case in point: Marjorie Taylor Greene is in Congress. Greene is a QAnon wacko who wants to assassinate Democrats and has the vote of every gun-toting white supremacist militia (plus the endorsement of Trump). House Republican leadership gave her a plum committee assignment even as they publicly condemned her past remarks.
The GOP would prefer that you draw false equivalencies between Greene and the farther-left progressive contingent in Congress. No, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s democratic socialism is not remotely the same as Greene’s complete insanity. Democrats who are fiercely opposed to someone like Greene existing in Congress are not detrimental to national unity — Greene and her cohorts are. Regardless, unity shouldn’t be the goal anymore.