Unlike Merrick Garland, I’m not an appellate judge, but let me issue a concurring opinion in support of Bill Maher’s impassioned March 11 plea for unity in the progressive community (though I dissent in part, due to the tone-deaf nature of the clip’s final minute):
What unites supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is so much more powerful than what divides them. Backers of both candidates believe in a properly run government’s ability to tackle seemingly intractable problems. They both believe that a better, fairer, more just world is possible. They both believe in equality and diversity, and the complete elimination of societal discrimination. They just disagree on how best to achieve these common goals.
The progressive family will come together at the conclusion of this dispute between Clinton and Sanders–because that family will be united against a common threat. That family will recognize that a President Donald Trump would systematically destroy the progressive movement. That family will focus on the risk to democracy that a Trump Administration would pose.
Two weeks ago, I noted Clinton’s recent call for more “love and kindness” in the United States. That love–and the fear of that love being eliminated under a Trump regime–will keep the progressive movement together.
Last week, I was thrilled to see the report that nearly two dozen progressive groups are sounding the alarm about the threat posed to America’s most vulnerable by a Trump presidency. They don’t buy the malarkey that Trump’s support is based primarily on economic anxiety. They know the real hate and the real wrath that is powering this dark moment in American history.
We’ve had to fight this hate before. We fought it on the battlefields of Antietam and the streets of Selma. We fought it when Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush sought to turn Americans against each other. We fought it when the Tea Party movement tried to dominate our democracy with divisiveness.
The struggle against Donald Trump is simply another battle in our country’s long struggle against hate. Were Trump to ascend to the presidency, such an event would prove the accuracy of Edmund Burke’s famous quote:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
The progressive groups that have united to make the case against Trump have made it clear that they will do something. It can be argued that the anti-Trump movement is the actual “pro-life” movement in the United States, in the sense that the hatred Trump has fostered threatens the lives of many Americans.
The Declaration of Independence concludes:
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
This progressive mobilization against Trump constitutes a declaration of independence from intolerance; the allied forces in this effort should be commended for their commitment to fight this promoter of prejudice. As these activists note, history is written by the winners. On November 8, we’ll know if these courageous citizens will have a chance to compose a chapter.