On Repairing a Damaged Nation

“Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by stupidity” — Robert J. Hanlon

I am becoming less optimistic that the divide between the political left and right in the U.S. will close at any point. Now before you point out how pessimistic this view is, a recent revelation has made the likelihood of both sides finding common ground seem even less of a likelihood.

Within the last twenty years, the way that each party views the opposing side has changed and not for the better. Until recent memory, each side had held the opinion that the other party was stupid and misinformed. Think back to how SNL portrayed prominent conservative political players over the years. Will Ferrell as George W. Bush or Tina Fey as Sarah Palin just to name a few. If you google George W. Bush, you’ll get a bevy of “George W. Bush Dumbest Quotes” articles. The fodder was there and the liberals ate it up. On the other side of the aisle, you’ll no less find an equal amount of articles counting down the dumbest Clinton and Obama quotes and moments. On Youtube, the number of videos that “expose” the stupidity of liberals and conservatives are endless.

The biggest change could probably be traced back to when the Republicans took over Congress in 2014 and effectively stopped any of then President Obama’s policies. This included the talk of dismantling Obamacare, reducing government spending, and blocking Merrick Garland in February of 2016. The Left started the spread of messaging that Republicans are evil and were being more open in their criticism. This was felt when President Obama entered office and started to enact his policies but the Republicans were as obvious as Democrats are now. At least, it didn’t feel that way.

A lot of things have changed since 2008, social media is basically the news cycle and has forced traditional news outlets to fight to keep up. The call is now to be first to break the story and corrections will be made later. The news cycle moves faster than ever before and gets shorter everyday. Opinions are more readily available and voices are louder than they’ve ever been. Which is probably the biggest contributor to the change.

The 2016 Election was probably one the strangest and ugliest campaign seasons that I’ve ever been witness to. Between the rhetoric of the candidates, mainly Donald Trump, and the scandals, I don’t ever remember anything as vicious as 2016. Between the calls for Hillary Clinton to be put in jail, Trump refusing to release his tax returns (and any other attempt to disqualify him), and even bringing the acceptance of the election results into question. Election Night, people were crying about the results! Rachel Maddow started weeping on tv as it became apparent that Trump had beaten the projected favorite, Hillary Clinton. In the days after, the news cycle was consumed with protests and calls for recounts. Women were screaming and marching in the streets. The election of Donald Trump was compared to the uprising of Hitler, women were claiming that everyday that Trump was in office they were losing their rights. The Left was outright calling the Right evil and demanding that they be overthrown.

This spread beyond the President and to anyone that might even hint at being conservative or a supporter of conservatives. College campuses across the US were shutting down any conservative speaker by staging mass protests. Berkeley, CA was destroyed over conservative speaker, Ben Shapiro being allowed on the campus to speak. This caused a split right down party lines and the nation has been divided between the political left and the political right. The Democratic Party is now considered the party of violence and socialism as they fight to strip the American people of their rights and freedom. The Republican Party is the party of racism, hate, and fascism as they fight to take away the rights of people of color and women.

Even more recently is the ridiculous beef between New York rapper, Talib Kweli, and Philly activist and founder of Black Guns Matter, Maj Toure. For the uninitiated, Maj Toure is the founder of Black Guns Matter with the stated purpose to visit urban areas to inform people of color about the 2nd Amendment and how to bear arms properly and safely. However, Kweli has brought Toure’s intentions into question on Instagram and Twitter by stating Toure is a supported and funded by Nazis, claims that Toure outright denies. After several weeks of back and forth as Kweli and Toure dedicated numerous posts in response to the allegations, Toure offered to have a sit down and discuss Toure’s intentions and effectively clear the air. Kweli refused and continued his claims and offered his “proof” in multiple IG posts.

I say all of that to say this, the nation is deeply damaged with neither side taking action to come together and mend the nation. On Capital Hill, politicians are standing on either side of the line with no one making a move to the middle. The recent confirmation, and ensuing fallout, of Brett Kavanaugh showed exactly where this nation stands. Hillary Clinton’s recent statements about civility with Republicans or Eric Holder stating that “when they go low, we kick ‘em” is what the new Democratic Party is about. These are not statements meant to heal and bring together the nation but to further divide. Statements like this should be condemned, fervently and often.

The midterm elections are a few short weeks away and another opportunity for us, as American citizens, to try to bring the nation together. I’m not here to try to persuade you to vote or tell you who to vote for. Instead, I want you to go and be informed of not only your political stance and its fared throughout time, but of the opposing side too. Reach out and try to understand the view that is in stark contrast of your own. Ignore the rhetoric and fearmongering that the media is spewing out and go talk to actual people. The only way that we move forward is by coming together as one nation that understands that a person with an opposing viewpoint doesn’t have the intent of malice. That doesn’t make them evil but is the result of a different journey that they have experienced. Most importantly always remember, separate we’re strong, united we’re invincible.