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When I first heard the proposal of a “truth and reconciliation” process in the United States, I felt my hair stand on end. Robert Reich, formerly of the Clinton Administration, proposed this kind of commission be established, and I knew that he was up to no good. I actually felt outraged when he used the term because I knew that these commissions were established internationally to deal with the outcomes of devastating upheavals in 40 countries. I am very familiar with events in Rwanda:
The Justice and Reconciliation Process in Rwanda— During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, up to one million people perished and as many as 250,000 women were raped, leaving the country’s population traumatized and its infrastructure decimated. Since then, Rwanda has embarked on an ambitious justice and reconciliation process with the ultimate aim of all Rwandans once again living side by side in peace.
Justice after the genocide—In the years following the genocide, more than 120,000 people were detained and accused of bearing criminal responsibility for their participation in the killings.
Following this kind of horror—one million people killed in one month—Rwanda knew that steps had to be taken in an effort to unify the country.
But Robert Reich’s proposal borders on evil:
‘When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission,’ Reich tweeted. ‘It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.’
Seriously? Does Reich truly believe that a commission of this type will unify the country? Do we need to execute people’s reputations or even lock them up because people’s feelings have been hurt? Not alone in his ruthless commitment to take revenge, he followed Chris Hayes’ recommendation at MSNBC who proposed a similar commission for those who questioned COVID-19 protocols.
It’s clear that Reich and other Trump-haters are determined to punish Trump and anyone associated with Republicans. All the positive outcomes of the Trump administration are irrelevant: improved foreign policy, a thriving economy, reduced regulations, energy independence. None of those achievements matter. The only goal that matters is destroying the political Right and the Republican party.
The columnist at the Chicago Tribune, John Kass, has taken the punishment for his positions as well. Here’s what he said recently about Reich’s proposal:
Among Republicans, the outraged hot take on all of this is to bring up George Orwell’s ‘1984.’
‘It’s Orwellian,”’ they say.
But Orwell’s ‘1984’ was a soulless world ruled by dispassionate intellects. Their terror was numbing and methodical. These Reich/Hayes Truth Commissions are tinged instead with the angry passion of the zealot seeking revenge. It’s rather French. No, not the France of today, but of the French Revolution, of tribunals and trials and the Reign of Terror, the France of the Jacobins.
That prominent Democrats feel free to propose a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is unnerving, even frightening. We must assume that they are deadly serious.
Let’s hope more than ever that November 3 is a Trump victory.Published in