QUOTES FROM ELECTION:
“I am scared that if ‘he’ gets into office, we are going to see more of the Ku Klux Klan and a resurgence of the Nazi Party,” ‘she’ said in November, —-. “I’m afraid things are going to blow sky high during this next term,” a nursing student said. He’s a “nitwit,” added a Democrat. “He’s shallow, superficial and frightening,” one of that year’s historic numbers of “undecideds” insisted”. “The problem is not a loose lip but the simple answer.” *
JUST a very few weeks into the new presidential administration and most of us are feeling beaten down by the avalanche of political talk from friends, colleagues, TV talking heads, radio personalities, your barber, rabbi and priest. After an interminably long election cycle and the daily play-by-play of the new administration setting up shop, we’re done….can’t take any more of it. At lunch with friends, around the water cooler, Facebook, Twitter and on and on and on, we’re tired of all the talk and political posts. Just in the last week several Facebook ‘friends’ asked “when Facebook become a place to espouse political views”. Actually that’s not anything new…it’s just that people are so passionate about the current political scene, Facebook and the other social media outlets make it possible to air ones views to the biggest audience with the least effort. Saddest of all are long time friends who are now at odds with one another and risk ending those friendships.
I’VE got to agree….we’re just worn out! All the talking heads on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, the Daily Beast, and all other media outlets ad nauseam, can’t convince the ‘other side’ what’s right and what’s wrong in our new political world. And that’s what bothers me; the two sides. The divide between the Trump supporters and the Trump deniers is huge. I remember elections going back as far as Kennedy/Nixon (that one’s a bit cloudy as I was five) and I never remember the country so divided, the depth of which scares me. I have friends, close friends, that I dare not discuss the current political landscape for fear of ruining relationships, and I don’t like that feeling. If you can’t rationally discuss your political views with close friends or family, with whom can you discuss them? It’s reminiscent of the era of McCarthyism when friends would turn on each other at the slightest thought one may be a communist sympathizer…that was a dark period in American life.
BUT isn’t political discourse what makes America, America? True, we’re all worn out, but the freedom to express our views without being persecuted is what makes our society truly free; a society of free speech and ideas, no matter how intensely we may disagree. But the pessimist in me says perhaps this divide is just what politicians, both right and left, want; perhaps all the infighting among the general population is just what they ordered. While we’re busy fighting among ourselves the politicians go about the business of writing policy that favors the few (ie., the wealthy) and lining their own pockets with dollars and power. As in the past few years, with Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, politicians are betting the publics diminishing interest in protesting and marching against, or for, Trump’s policies. But the optimist in me sees this situation differently; is there a chance that the divide is so great that there will be a political and cultural shift similar to what occurred in the 60’s when the nation was divided by an unwinnable war, civil rights protests and a huge shift from a post wartime culture to something much less conservative? One can only hope that in the long run this huge shift in our nation, brought about by the new administration, will produce some positive results. It may be years before we know the outcome, but in the mean time lets try to preserve our friendships no matter how much we disagree with one another.
*The opening quote was from Coretta Scott King in 1980 when Ronald Reagan won the presidency.