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Yes, by All Means, Let the Healing Begin

Here’s how it could start.
January 13, 2021
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U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It has been deeply inspiring to hear so many important Republicans calling for a time of healing, for an end to division, for unity. From House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, to Marco Rubio (“our political divisions have gone too far”), to Lindsey Graham (“it is past time for all of us to try to heal our country and move forward”), these voices of reconciliation must be given the due respect they have earned over the past weeks, to push back against any notion of bringing the nation together after a divisive election season. (Apparently, the sight of a mob nearly turning the Capitol into a killing ground caused a reassessment of sorts.)

So let us take them at their word. Let us provide them, and their colleagues, the opportunity to becalm the troubled waters.

Here’s how I imagine it might go:

At a joint press conference, a dozen or more of the most prominent figures in the “Stop the Steal” movement gather. There’s Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Steve Scalise, Newt Gingrich, and a claque of Fox News primetime anchors. (Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are at a separate table, because no one will agree to sit with them.)

We are here to ‘revise and extend our remarks,’” McCarthy begins in an attempt at congressional wit.

Joe Biden is president-elect. He won. Donald Trump lost. This has been the case since a few days after election night. There was no fraud worth speaking of; the courts from one end of the country to the other have thrown out every claim of irregularity. To our eternal regret, many in my party, out of ignorance, delusion, mendacity, or fear of our own constituents, endlessly repeated outright lies emanating from the fevered mind of our delusional president, whom we never should have nominated in the first place. This helped create the climate for the most violent assault on the Capitol in 200 years. I am ashamed personally, and for my party.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell is next.

While I urged my colleagues to accept the electoral vote count, I bear heavy responsibility in spending the last four years ignoring the increasingly lunatic actions and rhetoric of the president. As long as he gave me my judges, I turned away from the behavior that culminated in a presidentially triggered riot. In the interest of unity, I am asking the various committee chairs to move swiftly to put President-elect Biden’s economic and national security team in place as close to January 20th as possible.

Newt Gingrich rises—slowly, with great difficulty—to acknowledge that “as a world-class historian, I knew better than to embrace the mad-as-a-hatter fantasies of the president. It’s not as if I have the mental acuity of Louie ‘Bag of Hammers’ Gohmert. But I was too busy selling my books, CDs, and commemorative coins to think about the harm I was doing to the country. I am now offering a ‘Collector’s Item’ special of videos and pen holders in honor of Joe Biden’s inaugural, just call this toll-free—

When Gingrich has returned—slowly, painfully—to his seat, Senators Hawley and Cruz take the podium together.

Of course we know the truth,” they recite together. “We are two of the smartest, best-credentialed senators ever: Stanford and Princeton, Yale Law and Harvard Law. But our joint lust for the presidential nomination unmoored us from any sense of decency. We are resigning our seats and—like the British politician John Profumo, who left in scandal and spent the rest of his life doing charity work—we intend to spend the coming years doing menial labor for the Little Sisters of the Poor, while engaging in prayerful meditation so that we might somehow become less reprehensible human beings.

A few moments later, after the Fox News primetime team pledges a vow of silence, the gathering ends. And peace and tranquility settle upon our divided land.

Jeff Greenfield

Jeff Greenfield is a five time Emmy winning television analyst and author.

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