What Really Divides Us?

Quid De Cogitatione? Glenn Rose

All the news reporters, commentators, pundits, and politicians bemoan that Americans are so polarized by our politics. They complain that it’s getting worse.

Why is it that so many observers of our current discord can’t see the elephant in the room?

Yes, we are divided, yet no one seems able or willing to speak to the cause.

It is not politics.

Americans have demonstrated a great ability to disagree on politics and remain friends.

Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House “Tip” O’Neill maintained a congenial relationship despite their political differences.

Democratic President Lyndon Johnson and Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen worked together to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The cause for the current dissension is the rejection of civil discourse and debate. It is the pandering to people’s fears and prejudices. It is a never-ending stream of lies. It is the disregard of decades of carefully cultivated alliances. It is the denial of science and facts. It is the intimidation and manipulation of those who have less power and no recourse. It is the ridiculing and slandering of anyone who dissents or has come forward to testify about his malfeasance. It is the corruption of information as simple as the weather forecasts that Americans depend on daily.

Polarization is “a division into two opposites.”

So what are the opposites of the bully, the liar, the promise-breaker, the groper, the con man, the self-centered, those who feel no empathy or pity for others, and those who revel in the misery of others?

The opposites are everything that I strive to be and are the values of my country and its citizens.

I believe that Americans value civility in discourse and believe in putting forth ideas on the strengths of those ideas. They don’t disparage their opponents with juvenile name calling or intimidate them with threatened thuggery and violence.

I believe that Americans honor the individual rights and respects due all people. Being rich or famous is not an entitlement to cheat, lie, or steal. Wealth and celebrity does not grant the privilege of exploiting, sexploiting, or taking advantage of the vulnerable.

I believe Americans hold truth and honesty in high esteem, knowing that our democracy was not built on lies and selfish considerations.

I believe Americans respect the institutions of our democracy and the millions of people who serve on its behalf.

I believe Americans don’t praise tyrants and or would imply that our valiant military has behaved as their goons have.

I believe Americans honor the sacrifices that have made our country strong and prosperous. They respect our allies who, in war, fought with us and, who, in peace, work with us to ensure equal opportunity, knowing we need each other to assure success.

I believe Americans wouldn’t squander good standing or abandon friends on petulant caprices or misperceived slights.

These qualities are mainstream America. They are the principles on which our founders crafted our Constitution.

We cannot expect to elect the most intelligent person to be our president.

We can only hope to elect a president who embraces these same values, a person of integrity, humility, and wisdom who seeks counsel from all sides to make decisions.

Neither can we hope to elect the most brilliant to our legislative branches or to appoint to our judgeships.

We can only hope to have people who also share those values. Men and women who won’t be intimidated. People who are unafraid of the school yard bully who will call them names and bar them from the swings, the monkey bars, or the slides if they don’t toe his line.

We can only hope that our judiciary remembers its loyalty is to the Constitution, not to an individual.

I am a “never liar,” a “never bully,” a “never welcher,” a “never groper,” a “never defrauder,” a “never ingrate,” or a “never ‘I’m above the law-er”

That makes me a “never Trumper,” and I have been since the 1970s.

I won’t ask Trump’s apologists what they would say if Barack Obama or some other Democrat did the same things Trump has done. I would ask them what they would do if their children did the same things. Or if those same things were done to their sons and daughters.

I know that there are Trump supporters who have a legitimate grievance about being left out and ignored. To them I would say you have the wrong spokesman.

What would have happened to Indian and Pakistani independence if instead of Mohandas Gandhi it had Donald Trump as its leader?

What would have happened to the American Civil Rights movement if instead of Martin Luther King Jr. it had Donald Trump?

What would have happened to the crusade against apartheid in South Africa if instead of Nelson Mandela it had Donald Trump?

Trump is not your champion. He is only looking out for himself.

The News-Gazette

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