Racist. Stupid. Crazy. Evil. Fascists. Nazis.
This isn’t a word association game at one of those horrible corporate team-building activities that serve no purpose other than reminding everyone just how much we all hate team-building activities. These words appear in the top results when you search for “Trump supporters are” on Google.
This single bit of evidence encapsulates the 21st Century American rift. We’ve started shutting people out of our live, hearts, and social media echo chambers for the high crime of voting differently than we do. We’ve come to hate each other so much that we can’t hear each other. And this, more than any Tweet or twat or bare chested horseback rider leading a legion of hackers, is the greatest danger to our survival.
We must cooperate to endure, but we can’t cooperate if we won’t listen. Does “idiots” who are “ruining America” sound like the way one should describe their fellow citizens with whom, in a democracy, they must find some common ground to decide the nation’s future? Would you want to compromise with someone who describes you in this way?
The national mood is bipolar, in turns manic, depressed, terrified and smug—on all sides.
True, throughout our history, we have often disagreed vehemently on a litany of issues. We have also often been wrong. Today we are wrong about each other.
You may be a liberal who believes that anyone who supports the president embodies the very spirit of each and every slight being thrown at them day in and day out. Or you may be a Trump supporter who believes that anyone who rails against the president is narrow-minded and deserving of his ceaseless insults and smears. It may behoove you to imagine sharing a laugh with anyone on the other side of the political divide swallowing America in semi-masticated chunks of righteous indignation. You may believe your disagreements so fundamental, so deep and abiding, that no trust fall, sheep and shepherd, silent circle or even a group hug could cure it, that we’re so far down the rabbit hole of division that the tunnel’s entrance is an unreachable pinpoint of light in the dark distance.
But you should try. If you’re a liberal, hug the Trump supporters in your life. If you’re a Trump supporter, hug the liberals in your life. This entire nation would greatly benefit from participating in one big, awkward, sweaty, oddly uncomfortable yet comforting group hug. With permission, of course, and handshakes are also fine, whatever it takes to remind you that at the end of the day, you’re both human beings, and you’re both Americans, so you’re not really all that different.
You should also know that the words at the beginning of this piece actually show up when you Google “liberals are.” These are some of the top suggestions that actually appear when you search “Trump supporters are”: Traitors. Uneducated. Trash. Fascists. Hypocrites. Sheep.
Not a lot of difference, is there? “Fascist” even appears in both.
This similarity underlines the sickness plaguing our country. It’s a pestilence that, if left untreated, can be deadly.
A local woman told me that last weekend she was harassed and kicked out of a public festival because two merchants didn’t like her shirt, which said “Impeach 45.” She said they taunted her and told the cops that she was the guilty party. This is just one of many, many examples of how fractious we’ve become, and it is sadly one of the more benign. In April, a sword-wielding man in Kentucky attacked liberals in a café. In June 2016, liberals attacked Trump supporters after a rally in California. These will probably not be the last such incidents of politically motivated violence.
How much blood will stain our soil before we admit that we’re both right and we’re both wrong?
If our enemies have their way, our great nation will become a great footnote in world history. Not because our enemies hate America, or democracy, or imperial capitalism, but because they love power. We have it. They want it. That’s the brass tacks of the matter.
We’re letting them win because we’re too busy fighting each other to unite against our common enemies. We are the strongest, most powerful nation in the history of the world, yet we are becoming consumed with infighting. Our enemies have realized that the only way to beat the strongest nation in the history of the world is to turn it against itself. If we are to persevere, we cannot let our country continue down this path. To survive, we must embrace one another, if not celebrating our differences, at least accepting them. No matter which side of the aisle we, or our president, are on. We’re on the same team.