Jeff Zeleny, the Senior Washington Correspondent of CNN, thinks a speech given by Pete Buttigieg yesterday “may be remembered for a good while”, giving as exemplary evidence one particular line.

The purpose of the presidency is not the glorification of the president, but the unification of the American people.

I’m not sure why this would be remembered for a good while given that even Zeleny didn’t remember that Buttigieg delivered the same line at the October debate which was sponsored and aired by Zeleny’s own network.

Perhaps we all forgot this line because it’s wrong?

The purpose of the presidency is not the unification of the American people. The sort of unity centrists (and therefore much of journalism) talk about is mythology and not even of a useful sort. You can’t unite racists and anti-racists. You can’t unite trans women and TERFs. You can’t unite fascists and antifa.

Unity isn’t the mission, doing good should be the mission. Cohesion is one thing; working to keep a country from tearing itself apart is fine. That kind of cohesion, however, often requires the opposite of unity: it requires calling out and taking to task those who seek malicious division, and then excluding them from power.

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