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We Need a Truth and Reconciliation Process for the Trump Era

In These Times
When the post-Trump moment comes, there will be a temptation to turn the page. Instead, we need deep reflection.

But if we are to build a shared and inclusive democracy after Trump, we will have to create a collective, public narrative that resists these easy outs, and have an honest conversation that testifies to the truth of what we as a country have endured—and in particular, the kinds of violence on Black, brown, and indigenous communities that so many Americans were willing to tolerate if not champion. After the collapse of the apartheid regime, South Africa created a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). While there is some debate about the efficacy and impact of the TRC process, at a minimum it provided a forum for powerful storytelling, forging a shared narrative of how the regime had enabled and perpetuated violence. For Americans to truly emerge from the Trump years and free ourselves from their malignance, we will have to engage in a similar national conversation.

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