You realize after this election is over we’re still going to live together, right? More and more I get the feeling people want to go their separate ways.
A friend of many years told me in all seriousness that if Hillary Clinton is elected president “she will take away all of our guns.” He believes the people supporting her are all behind that goal because they have no respect for the Constitution.
A former co-worker carefully explained to me how Clinton would create both a socialist state and sell the government out to the highest Wall Street bidders, an ideology that seems bipolar but no less plausible to those who believe it.
As I scan Facebook, I see posts from people I know spreading the word that Democrats are rigging the election’s outcome to defeat Trump, the people’s choice for president.
Walking through my neighborhood, I saw a man standing in front of his house and in a loud voice telling a woman that if Clinton is elected president all of our individual rights will be taken away, “just you watch.”
These are not individuals I would have identified as kooks. We may have disagreed on some things politically and occasionally become involved in heated conversations.
But I never got the impression they considered me their personal enemy … until now. Now anyone on the other side is the enemy.
Trump’s appeals to racism, religious intolerance, xenophobia and political impotence have released a volcanic eruption of social putrescence that isn’t just imagined.
As many other pundits have noted, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign attracted enthusiastic crowds with a far different world view, but who felt equally alienated by traditional politicians.
The people who hate Trump denounce his supporters in the vilest terms, as Trump supporters express equal disdain for those who back Clinton.
As I listen to people on both sides of these arguments, I find myself wanting to physically shake them by their shoulders.
“You realize we’re all going to have to live together once this is over,” I want to shout. “You understand that if we continue to fight among ourselves over everything it will become impossible to resolve anything.”
But people cut me off before I can even begin my speeches about the need for national unity.
Compromise is what got us here, they tell me. The rich have grabbed all the good stuff as we just sat by. The jobs have all gone overseas because no one had the backbone to stand up for working people. Illegal immigrants get everything for free while the rest of us pay the bills.
The list of grievances is endless.
Conspiracy theories abound. The liberals are behind the plots to undermine our morals, our faith, our economy and our work ethic. The bankers and billionaires are out to stick us with all the taxes while they plunder the national treasury and generate unheard of wealth for themselves.
If you don’t believe that, you are an idiot, a fool or, worse, “one of them.”
In less than two weeks now, the election will end. The nation came together following the Revolution, the Civil War, through the Great Depression and during the civil unrest of the Vietnam War era.
Logic suggests the Trump-Clinton conflict will be no different. But sometimes you just wonder.
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