Imagine this conversation:
“Well, it was a tough and dangerous surgery, but we were able to remove the tumor.”
“That’s great news!”
“Yes, but there’s a problem. The cancer has metastasized.”
“Oh no. What do we do now?”
“It means that, even though we got rid of the main tumor, we still have to do long-term treatment.”
Analogies almost always fall short, but I’m sure you get the point. The tumor that was removed with difficulty was the Trump presidency. The cancer that remains? Domestic terrorism, especially right-wing, and a broken democracy.
I understand – we all want to move on, we all want a return to normal, we all want to breathe in the hope that the Biden presidency is bringing. I get it.
But, even while we do all those things, we must take on three tasks left over from the Trump era, and even before:
- Accountability. As Marshall Ward explains in his commentary, there cannot be unity without accountability – for Trump, for his enablers, for the terrorists who stormed the Capitol, and for anyone who helped them.
- Dealing with the terrorist threat. The domestic terrorists are still among us. There are rumors of further attacks. There are continuing threats against elected officials. The Department of Homeland Security just released a report naming domestic terrorism as the #1 security threat in the U.S.
- “Building back better” our democratic community. We have to figure out a way to be a community again. We have to figure out how to have one shared reality and not two. We have to face, and deal with, our justice issues. And we have to resist just returning to “the old normal” – because that world is what led to our current problems.
These are tough problems. There aren’t easy answers to any of them. But, just like dealing with cancer in the body, we have to face the truth and do the treatment. Otherwise, the cancer in our country will eventually kill our democracy.