Nancy Gibbs on Political Forgiveness

Nancy Gibbs

An article written by Nancy Gibbs analyzes the ability of the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S. to forgive wrongdoings. While Democrats seem to publicize their willingness to forgive, Gibbs notes that there is an extremely judgmental factor to the party that goes against this ideal. She points to an example of a recent well-known video of Elizabeth Warren drinking a beer that was highly scrutinized by Warren’s own party. The opinion of Gibbs seems to be that while the Democratic party insists on the principle of forgiveness, the Republican party shamelessly uses it as a means to an end. Gibbs points to Brett Kavanaugh as one such example, because his nomination and subsequent placement on the Supreme Court was an outrage to those who believed, morally, that giving power to Kavanaugh was wrong. Allowing such trespasses by the Trump Administration, in the opinion of Gibbs, is enabling the other goals of the party. According to Gibbs, the usage of forgiveness in the context of the Republican party and the Democratic party carries risk because neither party seems to use it the way it is intended. While the Republican party uses forgiveness to achieve a business or political goal, the Democratic party uses forgiveness as a sad form of self-destruction. She states that the Democratic party judges instead of forgives, in order to seem principled and make the other side seem judgmental. The process described is supported with many examples.

Near the end of the article, Gibbs also writes briefly to the nature of human beings to be able to forgive in a societal context. While denial of forgiveness might be a way to employ self-protection, Gibbs also points out that the action of holding a grudge puts a weight on the shoulders of those who choose to do so. The price of being unforgiving in nature, or forgiving as a means to achieve an ulterior goal, is currently demoralizing both parties. Gibbs ends the article by being forgiving herself and acknowledging the human in all of us, including leaders who trespass with no consideration for others. She reminds readers that the true ability to forgive is something that we could all consider by stating that we have two options – either to deplore each other’s sins everyday, or to remember that we can do better.

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