Recently a couple of people I know have posted on Facebook, “If you are a supporter of Donald Trump, unfriend me now because I don’t want anything to do with you.”
Seemed kind of harsh to me, and I will tell you why: if we do not start reaching across the divide soon and giving each other a little grace, we shall have well and truly screwed ourselves.
I try to see the people with whom I disagree as human beings. I say “try” because I know it is the right thing to do, but it is not easy. For example, how anyone could think Donald Trump is a good president is beyond me, but some people do. To me he is the worst president we have ever had – at least in my lifetime, including Nixon, who ended badly.
Which brings me back to where I started, people blocking Trump supporters on Facebook.
I have blocked three people on Facebook, conspiracy theorists who were so rude to me, and so insulting to my friends who tried to reason with them, that I felt like they were (metaphorically) coming into my house and pooping on the living room rug.
So I blocked them.
DT’s announcement that he is not leaving office if he loses the election, followed by his diagnosis with Covid-19, have been sobering developments to say the least. At this writing he is telling people that Covid-19 is, “No big thing.”
As of this afternoon, October 10, 2020, at 5 p.m., 219,254 Americans have died of Covid-19. Dead people are past being able to think that Covid-19 is no big thing, but their friends and families might beg to differ.
There has been talk about the possibility of a coup. Most people mean a coup by Trump and the no longer Republican Party if he loses the election, a hostile takeover that will make us into a white supremacist fascist totalitarian state with president-for-life Trump.
A Quaker friend has pointed out to me that there is more than one faction that would like to step in and take control of American government at this unstable and contentious time, so a coup by Trump, et al, is not necessarily the one we’ll get. We do not know which way the situation is going to skew. Be ready for anything.
Many people have argued in the past that the political parties are all the same, and it makes no difference who is in office.
I respectfully submit: nuh-uh.
This election offers a real choice.
We all know that no matter who wins, the shirt is going to hit the fan afterward.
Does anyone care about this country enough to recognize that we have more troubles to deal with than our arguments with each other? As in, wildfire to the left of me, hurricanes to the right of me, here I am stuck in the middle with climate change deniers. *
Lately, I have heard some people declaring themselves patriots, and that anyone who does not agree with them hates America. Whoa, Nelly. You don’t get to be that rude and dismissive of other people. That kind of thinking leads you into a deep, dark hole in the ground.
It was Samuel Johnson who on April 7, 1775, declared, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” We do not know to whom he was specifically referring (William Pitt? Edmund Burke?), but it is a catchy phrase, and it caught on for general use, because wrapping yourself in the flag does not make you a flagpole and calling yourself a patriot does not necessarily mean that you genuinely, generously, love your country – in this case, it might mean you want things done the way you want, without regard for the other 331 million Americans.
Looking at each other as enemies, making up stuff about what people think or feel or believe, is fatal for all of us, even for people with great big automatic rifles. You must de-humanize a person to shoot them into bloody irreparable bits, but your great big automatic rifles cannot stop a tornado, a hurricane, a flood, a wildfire, or a virus, and guess what – those things do not give a rip about anyone’s humanity.
Please, think about seeing the people with whom you disagree as human beings. Maybe try doing it with one person you don’t like for a day, for starters. Maybe listen to them without judgment. For a change.
If you can, in these hard times, show yourself and everyone you know a little grace, remember that we are all in this together, and for heaven’s sake, VOTE.
“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” – Walt Kelly
*Apologies to Joe Egan and the late Gerry Rafferty, who wrote, “Stuck in the Middle with You.”