To have a serious conversation about politics, even if the candidates themselves are so decidedly unserious, is to be alive; to be an active participant in our democratic republic, which places distance between our three and coequal branches of government and the American people — because the populist persuasion, from its benign celebration of the common man to its malignant rhetoric about some irredeemable other — some imaginary cancer unto the lifeblood of the country and our culture, or some perverse parasite or subhuman species that threatens to poison the purity of the nation — well, we cannot afford to be silent accomplices to the fast undoing of the Constitution and the Office of the President of the United States.
How you talk to your children about Donald Trump is less important than how you talk to your children about how they should talk to each other.
For ours is a divided country: We confuse shouting with speaking; we conflate extremism with eloquence; we cheer those we like as “winners,” while we condemn those we dislike as “losers”; and we criticize civility as a sign of weakness.
If we refuse to disagree without being disagreeable — if we degrade our two political parties into sports teams, exulting in our respective victories and rejoicing in the defeat of our enemies — then our children will learn from our example; and they — and their posterity — will reap the whirlwind of an ideologically segregated land; its soil scorched by the rejection of compromise, and its sanctuaries of deliberation stained by the smoke and fire of the mob.
We have a choice that is as stark as it is real.
Either we secede from the public square, or we reclaim the Union — one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.