The United States of America is in an awkward and frightening position. Extremists on the left and right are fighting mightily to change the nation according to their individual (and very different) visions of what America should be. The left seeks to turn us into a Socialist utopia. The far right, or at least many of them, seek a Protestant Christian theocracy where the Christian Bible supersedes even our Constitution. The rest of us are essentially the rope in a cultural tug of war. And that tug of war has become violent to a degree not seen in decades. Civility is becoming a thing of the past.
It appears that precious few of our elected leaders occupy the common-sense middle ground between the extremes. The two major political parties are as polarized as the nut-jobs who fill the streets with screaming and sometimes violent protests and shamelessly seek to undermine our election process. On the rare occasions Congress actually works together they accomplish good things for the people. A recent example of this is the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act , which had near-unanimous support in both houses of Congress and was quickly signed into law by President Trump.
Sadly, the parties spend most of their time bickering, posturing, and backstabbing. The Republicans are still in the majority as of this writing and struggling to hold onto power. The Democrats are throwing mud at the wall in the hopes of getting something to stick in an attempt to regain power. If the Democrats return to the majority, the Republicans will be using similar tactics so they can return to power. It never ends. And what gets done while they’re busy trying to screw each other? Nothing. The only ones getting screwed are regular folks who are just trying to live our lives.
Meanwhile, extremists on both sides of the fence have become more emboldened. Harsh political rhetoric, blatant lies, and acts of violence abound.
Maxine Waters: “For these members of his Cabinet who remain and try to defend him, they’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they’re not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store, the people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them…”
Hillary Clinton: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” she claimed. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”
James Patrick Jr: “I am about to accept an offer on my house just to get more money to fund my plan to kill democrat office holders and their families involved in this sham to keep [Brett Kavanaugh] from being on the Supreme Court.”
Cesar Sayoc of course is the guy on a lot of people’s minds right now. He’s the guy who sent (possibly) explosive devices to a number of prominent Democrats. There are many unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sayoc at this point. Some suspect he’s a “plant” by the Democrats while others believe he’s a retard who was provoked to violence by right-wing rhetoric. Time will tell.
Robert Bowers, who recently shot up a Pittsburgh synagogue. Bowers stands accused of killing eleven people. It’s easy to say that his motivations are rooted in anti-Semitism, but what drove him to become an anti-Semite? Was it the constant back-and-forth between political / religious factions? Again, time will tell.
In June of 2017, James Hodgkinson went to a congressional baseball practice and inquired as to whether the participants were Republicans or Democrats. When informed they were Republicans, he started shooting. Four people were injured including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
James Alex Fields Jr drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at the now-infamous “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA. One person was killed and dozens injured. And why did he do such a thing? Why because he disagreed with them, of course.
Rank and file Americans are getting sick not only of the clusterf*ckery in Washington. We’re sick of the constant meddling in our lives. Almost everything we say is either racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-religious, anti-science or anti-whatever else. You’re risking a lawsuit or an assault every time you speak your mind. And every time a bunch of these snowflakes find an excuse to be “offended” they’re in the streets yelling and screaming or threatening others.
I travel all over the continental 48 states with my job. And I pay close attention to what people are saying. Sitting in truck stops, break rooms at lumber and steel mills, or just roaming around Kroger or Walmart I hear so many people complaining about the state of the nation. And whether they’re liberal, conservative or anywhere in-between the complaints are often the same. They want government and all these activist groups to butt out and leave them alone. They want a return to civility in public discourse. Most recognize that all this craziness did not begin since Trump’s election (contrary to the claims of some). They recognize that it’s been brewing for years. And frankly I’m sick of it as well.
But Where Does This Mess Come From?
To me, it’s about respect or the lack thereof. You cannot have any self-respect and behave the way some of these people do. And if you don’t respect yourself it’s pretty much impossible to respect anyone else. We don’t always get what we want in life. You fight for it, you work for it, but sometimes things don’t go your way. This happened for a lot of people when Donald Trump, Barack Obama and G.W. Bush were elected. And I’ll admit I reacted badly to Obama’s reelection. I agreed with him on a handful of issues, but overall I despised his policies. But I got over it. I didn’t smash any windows or burn any cars. Why? Because I respect myself and those who voted for him. I respect the process.
We as Americans need to get back to respecting ourselves and each other. We need to remember how to disagree with civility. We need to learn how to compromise and find equitable solutions to problems and resolve thorny issues. We need to be willing to look at all sides of every issue. Until that happens, we will remain a divided nation.
Abraham Lincoln said it best in 1858: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.“