The major events of the decade were cultural, not political. The Trump era had witnessed a crisis of connection at the bottom of society and a crisis of authority at the top. Social repair was the top order of the day once a new president took office.
The first whiff of the cultural restoration was the “Accountability Clubs” that spread across the nation’s campuses. College students realized that America stinks at accountability. Either there is no accountability (Wall Street after the financial crisis) or people have their lives destroyed for a “problematic” tweet.
The Accountability Clubs bore the motto “Truth and Mercy.” Students wanted to restore a culture in which facts mattered. They were also searching for a way to judge others in a graduated and humane manner, allowing for repentance, forgiveness and restoration. Marshall McLuhan once remarked that “moral indignation is a technique used to endow an idiot with dignity.” Suddenly indignation, the keystone emotion of the Trump years, was lame. Empathy made a comeback.