Union By Subtraction

Unity

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They said no one could bring the country together in the current environment. Maybe they’re right. But if it was possible at all, PDT got the ball rolling last night.

No fewer than 10 times throughout his nearly hour and a half speech PDT reminded us that “together” was how America can be successful. In one of the more memorable quotes, he painted a picture for every American to imagine and choose:

“An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within our reach. We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our Middle Class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.” 

“But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution – and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good,” he continued.  “Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make. We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.”

He finished with a simple but powerful plea to Congress: “Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.”

He also made compromise seem not so far away by pointing out bipartisan success from just the last two years.

“In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new Farm Bill, historic VA reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed VA accountability so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans.” 

He capitalized on his prison reform efforts by invoking the case of prison minister Alice Johnson, who was in attendance. “And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking Criminal Justice Reform,” he declared as Democrats wondered what to do with their hands.

While I’m trying hard not to let pangs of cynicism creep into my brain, it’s hard to conduct an analysis without linking these pitches to unity with the aforementioned weaponized sanity strategy. The goal was to present PDT as the reasonable, centrist leader. Nothing accomplishes that like extending an olive branch to rabid Marxists in the throes of a tantrum.

Political aims aside, it was highly effective.

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