By Scott Kirwin
“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand,” Mark 3:25
I’m in the process of deleting my Facebook account. What set me off is the realization that most of my friends were liberals and upset about Trump’s win. The disgust I felt towards them bothered me. It’s not like I had many FB friends – a few dozen or so – and I doubt that anyone will notice, but it seemed to me that the worlds we lived in are completely different. These were people I once loved or shared my life with in some way, but over the years the gulf became so wide between us that it was difficult to remain civil or even silent. I worry about terror attacks on American soil and they worry about who uses which bathroom. They want to take away my ability to protect myself and my family enshrined in the Constitution, but prize a non-existent right to abortion even though many of them are past menopause. They cried when Hillary lost. I almost wept tears of joy when I learned she lost.
Everything I write here and at my own site attacks liberals, just as everything written at liberal sites like DemocraticUnderground and Jezebel attack people like me.
But I’m starting to worry that maybe things have gotten out of hand. E Pluribus Unum is on the coins in my pocket. “From many, one.” The Founders weren’t just a bunch of rich white men, they were rich white men from different ethnic backgrounds and religions. These guys didn’t get along very well at all, but dealing with the British taught them to work together, or to quote Franklin, “Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” They needed to set their differences aside and focus on their common interests to build this country. Are we tearing it down by giving up on our liberal friends?
I’ve seen this TED talk referred to in several places, and I finally sat through it. I recommend you do the same. Jonathan’s Haidt’s key point comes in during the last minutes of the talk, and it’s sobering. At 17:44, “We have an existential threat on our hands. Our left-right divide, I believe, is by far the most important divide we face. We still have issues about race and gender and LGBT, but this is the urgent need of the next 50 years.”
Not racism. Not class. Not religion, but the political divide is the greatest threat we face in the next half century.
That got me thinking. I’m not saying I’m going to quit attacking liberal ideas I disagree with, but perhaps I need to seek some common ground with them, to at the very least show them that a NRA member isn’t the slobbering gun nut shooting holes in everything as they believe, or a Trump voter can support immigration IF it means the immigrants are willing to assimilate. I make no promises, and I’m still quitting FB because it’s really a cesspool of whining and personal attacks. But maybe I need to search for the commonalities instead of the differences.
If I claim to love my country as I do, I have to question whether my personal actions are doing it more harm than good. I doubt I’ll be snarfing down triple cheeseburgers with Michael Moore or subscribe to the New Yorker anytime soon but at the very least I can maintain a clear conscience and try to make America a tiny bit great again in my own way.