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Biden: ‘We Must End This Uncivil War.’ Here’s What It Would Look Like.

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Over the past quarter-century, from the impeachment of Bill Clinton through the two impeachments of Donald Trump, American politics has been consumed with viciousness. The most striking line in President Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address was his call to restore mutual respect to public life: “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.”

I don’t expect this to happen. In fact, I’d be stunned if it did. But before we simply give up on this hope as a feeble gesture or an antiquated delusion, it is worth thinking about what it would take to fulfill it.

“Unity” does not mean consensus. Democratic government is built on the premise of disagreement. Biden recognized that in his speech, telling Trump voters, “To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy.”

What unity means, or ought to mean, is a politics that allows for public debate in practical and measured terms. Under Clinton and Barack Obama, Republican opposition spiraled almost immediately into an existential rage: The Clinton deficit-reduction plan would destroy the economy; Obama’s economic stimulus and health-care reform would trigger a Greece-like hyperinflationary spiral, an Ayn Rand nightmare come to life.

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Unity does not mean consensus. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

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Click the link below for the article:

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/biden-inaugural-address-end-this-uncivil-war-unity-possible.html

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