Against Unity: A Response to Mayor Michael Venezia (Bloomfield, New Jersey)

This is a comment I wrote on the Citizens of Bloomfield Facebook page, responding to Michael Venezia, Mayor of Bloomfield (Nov. 11 at 2:10 pm). Venezia had called in his post for a “united Bloomfield” behind Trump. I reject the idea. My comment was deleted from the comments section of the post without explanation, as apparently violating the site’s policies. Evidently, the mayor has free rein to say whatever he wants, but firm criticism is impermissible.

I’m not interested in any form of unity with anyone who voted for Trump. The whole idea of “uniting” with such people is presumptuous and ridiculous. No, we shouldn’t violate their rights (or anyone else’s). We should keep our hands off others’ property and persons, regardless of their politics. And yes, those in power should facilitate a peaceful transition of power.

But that has nothing to do with making common cause with Trump supporters. I have nothing in common with them, and they have nothing in common with me. We have to stop engaging in wishful thinking and amnesia about these people and their intentions. We can’t make America great by uniting with people who unapologetically believe in and promulgate lies. We can only keep our distance from them and demand that they do the same from us.

It’s cheap for Venezia to preach to us about “unity.” No one’s ever accused him of dancing in the streets after 9/11. Let that accusation sink in and then, as it does, try to “unify” with the people who spread it. I didn’t see Michael Venezia’s wanting to “unify” with Mark Denbeaux after the Seton Hall racial profiling report came out. And I don’t imagine Bloomfield is going to “unify” with Denbeaux now. Fair enough–but then don’t expect people like me to unify with Trump supporters. They are our enemies, not our fellow citizens.

The election is over. We don’t need any more cheap political rhetoric from our mayor or anyone else. We need Democratic leaders to tell it like it is–as Trump supposedly does, but more truthfully. We need them to face the fact that the Republic is in danger. It’s time to face that danger and call it by its proper name–rather than appeasing it with baby talk. I voted for Venezia and the entire Democratic line. They owe us more than this.

Worth reading, very much on target, and of broader scope than my post: Masha Gessen’s “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” and David Cole’s “The Way to Stop Trump,” both from The New York Review of Books.

One thought on “Against Unity: A Response to Mayor Michael Venezia (Bloomfield, New Jersey)

  1. Excerpt of a response to a comment on Facebook:

    Having to compromise with them where it’s unavoidable is obviously different from wanting to unite with them, which is what Venezia is calling for. I have to compromise with them when I walk down the street, if only to share the sidewalk and not crash into them. But that’s not political unity. What they should expect from us is just the bare minimum–respect for their rights and the bare minimum of civility, plus continued work on projects underway from before the election, where it would breach contract to opt out, etc. Yes, they may have a proposal here or there we can accept (e.g., withdrawal from Syria). But all of that is compatible with a fundamentally adversarial relation to them, which is what I’m calling for .


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