The Great Divide

Our nation is unequivocally divided because we disagree on what is acceptable behavior. I just read a grown man (Matt Walsh) in a public setting (Facebook) just dismiss men who rape as a character flaw, rather than a crime and an atrocity. What shocked me even more is that these beliefs are shared by others.

matt-walsh-facebook

I realize now that Americans don’t disagree on policy, we disagree on reality. We disagree on basic human rights, and who deserves them and who doesn’t. Last time our nation was this divided on basic human rights there was a civil war. On some level the civil war was about money and power and policy, but the first shot was fired because we disagreed on whether or not slaves were considered humans. The Civil War was fought on human rights. 

Sure, there were national protests during the Vietnam War where we disagreed on policy and the decision to go to war. And in the 60’s there were protests when America was coming to terms with civil rights. But during those times we didn’t disagree on if groping a stranger was right or wrong, we didn’t disagree in if rape was wrong. We didn’t disagree on if lying was wrong. In the 1960’s a lie wasn’t referred to as “alternative facts” by our politicians and their spokespersons. Back then, getting caught in a lie was shameful and embarrassing. 

And the fascinating part about 2017, is that although we are all divided, we’re not divided by age or socio-economic levels. People of all ages are divided on Trump. People of varying financial status are divided on where this country is going – to hell in a hand basket or on to be great.

Historically, I’m an optimistic person. Before 2016, my glass was always half full. Even after the election, I tried to think the worst was behind me. I tried to give him “the benefit of the doubt” as my Republican friends and family urged. But the truth is, all the horrific things Trump did and said before the election, didn’t prepare me for all the horror and divisiveness that would continue after the election. Every day I wake up stunned at the headlines and articles. It is like the Groundhog Day that I live over and over again. 

A man who is absorbed in his own self-interests (won’t divest or show his taxes) and communicates by yelling and insulting the nation, will not be the one to bring us all together. Sure he prefers to communicate with the outside world by Twitter so he’s not required to actually engage people and respond. He prefers a one way communication, where things are going out of his head, but nothing is going in. Even Sean Spicer his Press Secretary used his first press briefing to yell and insult journalists, with no opportunity for questions.  

History is a friend, not an enemy combatant, so let’s learn from her (or him). We need to get it together on an individual level, fast. We need to rediscover compassion. Just because problems aren’t in your backyard doesn’t mean they don’t need to be addressed, because one day they will be in your backyard. 

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