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Will You Take the Pledge?

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December 17, 2020 12:07 p.m.
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I’ve been thinking in recent days about taking a pledge. I hope others do too. It’s sprawling enough in its scope that I haven’t known quite how to whittle or distill it down for the sake of pledging it or sharing it with others. But I will take this post as an opportunity to explain it both to myself and to you. Because I think it’s quite important.

Think of it as a rough draft.

Republicans like Marco Rubio are now claiming to be aghast, hurt and more than anything else unwilling to believe in Democratic promises of rebuilding national unity because Joe Biden’s campaign manager and incoming Deputy Chief of Staff called congressional Republicans “fuckers” in an interview. Days ago we heard that Biden’s forceful denunciation of Republican efforts to overturn the result of the election was “burning bridges” to Trump supporters. We’ve seen this pattern before: bad faith taking of umbrage to justify new forms of bad behavior and predation.

It’s not only that. The production of and the stoking of grievances is central to contemporary conservatism and its apotheosis, Trumpism. But it is mostly the weaponization of bad faith.

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