Harvard historian Jill Lepore brings some useful and much-needed perspective in a Washington Post article arguing that "a post-Trump truth and reconciliation commission," which is a hot and newly popular suggestion on the left, would be "a terrible idea."
She writes, "In democracies, a peaceful transfer of power has two elements: The loser concedes without violence, and the winner accepts without vengeance."
"The Trump administration is not Nazi Germany," Lepore writes. "Beginning in 1981 with Ronald Reagan's presidency, members of Congress have introduced impeachment resolutions against every single president. Democrats brought Supreme Court nominations to the public, in 1987, running television ads against Reagan nominee Robert Bork. Getting rid of a political opponent by these means might work, but it comes at the price of faith in democratic institutions, including elections. Do that kind of thing long enough, and before you know it you get people carrying signs reading 'Not My President,' meaning first Obama, and only then Trump."
And one final point: "the strongest argument against either criminal trials or a truth tribunal, should Biden win, is that it would let the Democratic Party and every other institution that is not the Republican Party off the hook for driving the nation into a flaming cauldron. The left is keen to blame the right. But what the nation needs, pretty urgently, is self-reflection, not only from Republicans but also from establishment Democrats and progressives and liberals and journalists and educators and activists and social media companies and, honestly, everyone."