A Nation Divided
I’m writing this late-ish on Thursday evening, November 5.
My guess is that sometime tomorrow Joe Biden will surpass the needed 270 electoral votes to win the Presidency and be in position to declare victory in a credible way. “Credible,” in contrast to Trump’s many non-credible claims of victory in recent days.
One sign that this is likely to happen is the how wildly Trump has been flailing about and striking out today. While you can hardly call any of this out of character, it does seem the behavior of an increasingly desperate man.
But even if the Presidential race does reach a conclusion soon and Trump loses, we still have to face this reality — we are a very divided nation.
There was no Biden landslide, that’s for sure. There has been no “Blue Tsunami.” Trump still got a lot of votes. The U.S. map is still pretty darn red. Moreover, the Democrats lost seats in the House, even though maintaining a smaller majority there. It appears the Republicans will keep their Senate majority, although it now seems that both Georgia senate races will be going to run-off elections.
We are a divided nation. While Trump played on and amplified our divisions, he did not create them. Likewise, foreign powers, e.g. Russia, have also sought to amplify our divisions. Social media, with its famous algorithms tailored to our identities and preferences have played a part, as has the segmentation of the media. Political figures, other than Trump, have also played the divide and conquer game.
On the day after the election, as Linda and I both tried to fathom how in the world Trump continued to have such support, I had an idea. “Why don’t we go live in a Red State to try and understand where these folks are coming from.” She responded, “I’ll read your blogs.”
While I will be as happy to see Trump go (please God) as anyone, I think it will be a mistake to dance on his political grave, so to speak. Rather, I think we have to ask ourselves some hard questions.
Conservative author Rod Dreher posed one, calling it, “The question the Left can’t ask itself.”
“What is wrong with us that even after four years of Donald Trump, so many Americans, even minorities, voted for him?”
Dreher goes on to provide a brief and partial answer to his own question as follows:
“I think it is very, very difficult for people on the Left to understand why we on the Right feel so threatened by them. They control all the heights of culture and even that is not enough for them. What is so bizarre is they cannot imagine how they are perceived by many of us.”
By the “heights of culture” I imagine Dreher means the entertainment industry (movies and television, and the rest), journalism and media (or most of it), and education, particularly but not limited to institutions of higher education.
I don’t expect Trump to be gracious in defeat. He will prolong this with legal action and allegations of conspiracies as long as he can. After that he will run out the clock granting his cronies and himself pardons.
But I do think it would be a step toward healing a divided nation if the Left and Democrats can be gracious in victory. By which I mean not labeling or dismissing their opponents as racists, stupid, unenlightened or “deplorable.”
A little humility on everyone’s part, a little more respect toward those on the other side of the political and cultural divide, a little listening, a little less snarkiness would go a long way toward healing a divided nation.