A Moment of Reconciliation

As I watched the tail end of the Strzok hearing yesterday, I began to wonder if there was going to be a single Republican on either of the committees involved who would approach the questioning from some angle other than to attack the FBI agent as a way to suggest that the Russia investigation was nothing more than a hoax cooked up by the biased “deep state.” As far as I can tell, not one of the 40+ of them did. Every one of them accepted the role of being a Trump enabler.

Over the course of the last two years, the only Republican politicians who have attempted to hold the president accountable are those who have retired or have announced their retirement. The fact that the Republican Party is now Trump’s party is cemented by the fact that not one Republican who will have to face voters in an election has been willing to stand up to him.

One of those Republicans who is out of office, former Rep. David Jolly, gave us a wonderful example of what can happen when someone like him acknowledges the truth about Donald Trump and what is happening to the Republican Party. Please take a few minutes to watch this CNN panel discussion. It is rare for these cable news staples to produce anything profound, but this one does.

I want to say a couple of things about what happened there. Angela Rye was right to call David Jolly out for leaving the impression that the racism we’re witnessing sprung up out of whole cloth with the election of Donald Trump. It was great to see both of them acknowledge what I’ve been saying for a while now, that in the Donald Trump era we’ve gone from covert to overt racism. That has happened because, as Jolly says, we’ve gone from silence to permission.

The other thing I want to say about this panel is that it provides us with one example of reconciliation in these dark days. I want to hold on to that one real tight because, for many of us, we’ve begun to question whether or not it can happen. David Jolly is still a Republican who would likely disagree with Angela Rye on a lot of things. But he acknowledged the reality of what is going on in our country right now and in response, Rye broke down in tears saying that meant the world to her.

I am very well aware of the fact that a moment of reconciliation like that is not how racism ends. Instead, it’s how the process begins. But don’t tell me that it can’t happen because I just watched it with my own two eyes.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.