the presidential vote of 2016, when Donald Trump was elected
president of the United States, there has been much talk about
polarisation in American society. Tensions have escalated, and on the
fringes, they have even led to violence
Increasingly, many are wondering if Americans will ever be able to
get along again.
issue came to the fore most recently when presidential candidate and
former Vice President Joe
under fire from his black rivals Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and
others for touting his ability to work with Southern segregationists
decades ago as an example of bipartisan cooperation.
defended his past relationships and civility with white supremacists,
such as Senator James O Eastland of Mississippi and Herman E Talmadge
of Georgia, who both opposed civil rights for black people. He also
said he can cooperate with Republicans if he is elected president in
2020, because they "know
will change once Trump leaves office. As he has done throughout his
career, Biden is now fashioning himself in his electoral campaign as
a moderate who seeks the middle
is able to build bridges between both sides of the political
Biden is wrong. The country will not move forward by appeasing
extremists and ignoring the damage they have done. Justice for all
people is non-negotiable, and any attempt to find a middle ground
means denying the urgency of the current political climate. There can
be no national unity unless basic principles of human rights and the
rule of law are acknowledged and respected nationwide.
such attempts to appease those holding extreme regressive views and
to look for middle ground have always been detrimental to progress
towards a more equal and just society.
the 1960s, civil rights movement leader Dr Martin Luther King
white moderate - not the white supremacist - as the "great
stumbling block" for black progress "who is more devoted to
'order' than to justice", who "paternalistically believes
he can set the timetable for another man's freedom," who "lives
by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises" black
people to wait for a "more convenient season".
like the white moderates of Dr King's time, is standing in the way of
progress with his politics of conciliation of a political force which
is wreaking havoc on our democratic system, dismantling mercilessly
civil rights and liberties, and trampling over justice and basic
the Trumpian Republican Party is a purveyor of white supremacist
policies aimed at erasing ethnic, racial and religious minorities
from civic life and from society and considers those who engage in
racialised terroristic violence "very
Any attempt to compromise with it will only encourage white
the party overwhelmingly supports the separation of children from
their parents and their detention
abhorrent conditions, where they face abuse and illness, there can be
no reasonable avenue for dialogue with its members.
Republicans under Trump are trying to eviscerate voting rights and
people who are not white, and are taking steps to punish women having
miscarriages as murderers, and seeking life imprisonment or even the
women exercising their reproductive freedoms, there can be no middle
ground or room for compromise.
the Trump administration continues to deny global warming and seek
protection for polluting coal companies in the face of rapidly
melting glaciers and impending environmental devastation, it is
unacceptable to seek the middle of the road with its policies.
Trump mires himself in corruption, uses his department of justice to
flaunt his disregard for the rule of law, shields himself and his
minions from accountability and welcomes
the next election, as the Republican-controlled Senate blocks any
measures to promote election security. While this occurs, there can
be no talk of "future cooperation" with Republicans or
return to an imagined past civility.
this current environment, Democrats should not only fret about
whether they can defeat Trump, but also whether they will get a
chance to face him in a just, democratic election in 2020. If they
focus their energy on reaching a compromise with the cult of Trump
instead of strongly and unapologetically defying white supremacy, the
nation will not survive Trump at all.
we ask whether all Americans can live together in peace, we must
elevate justice as a nonpartisan issue and seek to reform the current
political system which thrives on corruption and division. We must
push forward a bold transformation of our system of governance, the
elimination of financial influence in politics, the restoration of
the Voting Rights Act and the retooling of a now partisan Supreme
restructuring if not an elimination of the Senate and the Electoral
College would guard against the amplification of anti-democratic
principles and the preservation of white-male minority rule that is
inherent in the constitution. In addition, the US must come to terms
with its history of slavery, genocide and racism and make amends.
bold stances and audacious policies will allow the US to free itself
from extremist assaults on government and society. Biden's attempt to
coddle those extremists will not make the nation's problems go away.
commentary was originally published by Aljazeera.com