Resistance – Why are we so polarized as a country, and what can we do about it?

By Bruce A. Smith

The Trump election seems to have cracked open fissures within society. Not only are Red and Blue States divided with some talking secession, such as California, but non-protesting liberals are angry at other liberals for marching. It seems as if everyone is angry at everyone else, at least in my life. Oddly, for the first time in my life I don’t care.

I’m tired of trying to be nice. After a life-time of holding my tongue when conservative friends, neighbors and family members spout their invectives against people I care about, I’m not doing it any more. I’m done. I don’t care if my country is divided. I don’t care if everyone is angry at me – I’m done with trying to build community. Good luck America with your new TrumpLand, USA.

I see that I’m not alone. The New York Times reported this week that the Trump election has ripped apart the bonds of family, and numerous individuals are reporting that they will not share Thanksgiving Day with family members who did not vote their way. In an article titled, “Political Divide Splits Relationships — and Thanksgiving, Too,” writers Sabrina Tavernise and Katharine Q. Seelye reveal that plenty of other people feel the same way I do. They’re my new friendship base, I suppose.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/us/political-divide-splits-relationships-and-thanksgiving-too.html

Specifically, Tavernise and Seelye report: “The election is over, but the repercussions in people’s lives may be just beginning as families across the United States contemplate uncomfortable holidays — or decide to bypass them — and relationships among friends, relatives and spouses are tested across the political divide.”

Continuing, they write: “Matthew Horn, a software engineer from Boulder, Colo., canceled Christmas plans with his family in Texas. Nancy Sundin, a social worker in Spokane, Wash., has called off Thanksgiving with her mother and brother. Ruth Dorancy, a software designer in Chicago, decided to move her wedding (to Italy) so that her fiancé’s grandmother and aunt, strong Trump supporters from Florida, could not attend.”

Yo, Matthew, Nancy and Ruth – give me a call!

Fortunately, my life is not a completely barren wilderness as I have found support in unexpected places. Family members whom I’ve always suspected were closet Republicans have revealed themselves to be otherwise. More well-established kindred spirits have pulled closer, too. My sister emailed me to say that she was so upset the “Day After” that she couldn’t “function.” My ex called me the “Day after the Day After,” and we were so emotional that we could only cry together on the phone and mutter, “Call ya tomorrow, if I can…”

So where do we go from here? Does America ever become one nation again? I don’t know, but here are my thoughts on the subject.

Giving Trump “a chance” is not going to work – certainly not for me and many others. Trusting in our democracy because in the past we’ve always been able to muddle through does not give me any comfort, either.

But looking back on our history – the Great Depression, WWII, the Civil War – show how really Big Troubles can unify a country. So, what might be the kinds of unifying events that could come our way?

Mother Nature

Ol’ Mother Nature might be the most benign unifier. Global Climate Change seems to be accelerating, at least according to Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary on the subject, so we could see some real dramatic events that would compel the Trump administration to deny the denials. Could Miami go underwater? Yes. Could a Hurricane Sandy-like storm wipe out the largest naval installation in the world, the US Navy’s base in Hampton Roads, Virginia? Yes.

If saltwater starts lapping at the front door of the White House, I sure hope The Donald reverses his position on Global Climate Change.

Remember, climate change is happening across the planet, so everyone on the planet is affected. Venice, Italy is like Miami – about to go under – and is building a 1-billion Euro sea-gate at the entrance to its lagoon in an effort to forestall inundation. More troubling, most of the immigrants flooding Europe are not Syrian refugees, but rather are Africans escaping drought, starvation, and disease in sub-Saharan Africa. So the whole world is in crisis.

Project those conditions onto the United States. Prolonged droughts are the new normal from California to Atlanta, which almost ran out of drinking water a couple years back and is now choking on the smoke from hundreds of forest fires flaring throughout the Southeast. So, how secure is our food supply in the heartland in between? Could the Dusts Bowls of the 1930s reappear? If they do, what will the Trump Administration do?

Other non-climate scenarios could also shift American perspectives radically. In June 2016, dozens of governmental agencies throughout the Pacific Northwest practiced their emergency response capabilities for The Big One – a super-sized 9.0+ earthquake that would make “everything west of the I-5 toast,” according to the director of FEMA. My local Department of Emergency Management says that this kind of mega quake “is not a question of if, it’s a question of when.” The last earthquake of this magnitude was in 1699, and historically they occur once every 250 years so in 2016 we are 70 years overdue.

This kind of event taps into a larger subject, namely, exactly what is Earth? Is it a static pile of rocks and a lot of saltwater? That would seem to be the default position of the Trump Administration, but many feel that Earth is a living being. In fact, it has a name: Gaia.

Quantum Physics is showing us that everything is alive, even down to the smallest electron and proton. Dynamics like Non-Locality and Quantum Entanglement reveal that everything has “consciousness” despite the term’s not-quite scientific-sounding name. These findings are establishing a new form of science called “The New Physics,” which is the old physics with the added dimension of what role consciousness plays in the creation of physical reality. In essence, how do our thoughts and intentions influence physical reality?

Noble Laureate, Sir Roger Penrose says that if you do not include consciousness in your model of reality then it is “incomplete.”

Hence, what does Gaia think of the Trump Administration? What is Gaia’s response to global climate change? Are the increases in mega quakes over the past ten years, and their resulting tsunamis – Fukushima, Indonesia, and Chile – a wake-up call from Mother Nature?

Regardless, they are real, and another one could swamp the United States or our allies, bringing us to our knees and requiring all of us to help each other get back up.

Geo-Politics

Could another war bring us together? Here are some scenarios:

Iran and Hezbollah are wild cards. When Trump rips up the non-nuclear proliferation deal with Iran, will it then proceed to build a nuclear bomb? Probably, which means that it is plausible that Iran’s proxies, such as Hezbollah, will get a nuke or two, as well. What will they do with it? Blow up New York? Or Israel? Or both?

Certainly Israel and the United States would take steps to prevent Iran from building the bomb, such as blowing up every installation in Iran that could possible house the infrastructure, but that could trigger a response from an Arab state that already has nukes, namely Pakistan. Perhaps Trump’s dilemma will be to thwart the detonation of a Pakistani nuke in New York delivered by Hezbollah terrorists abetted by Iranian agents. Possible? Or just a good HBO movie script?

What about China? If Trump pulls the US out of trade deals and military alliances, will China fill the void? Will North Korea be a proxy state for Chinese aggression against South Korea and Japan? How fast could things go bad? Could a mushroom cloud drifting across the Pacific bring us together here in the Western Hemisphere?

Civil War

Could unity come after violent strife? Could we become one nation – albeit in exhaustion – after a release of all the pent-up anger that we see glimpses of on a daily basis?

Instead of “Becoming Great Again,” could living conditions become intolerable within the United States? What if the promise of “jobs, jobs, jobs” is false?

Further, will the nationwide implementation of “Stop and Frisk,” the widespread waving of the Stars and Bars – the famous Rebel Battle Flag of the Confederacy and a favorite icon of the KKK and other white supremacist groups – and a veiled return to Jim Crow laws throughout the nation unleash a fierce counterattack from African Americans and other people of color?

Will the forced registration programs of Muslim Americans be another focal point of tension that will escalate into violence? What if dissidents are rounded up and resettled in prison camps – America’s version of the Gulags?

What if the Wall is built and the economies of the south and west plummet without plenty of cheap – but illegal – labor?

Could progressives and conservatives then stagger together and say in unison, “Never Again?”

The Formation of Two Americas

Perhaps we will have two Americas, and we can move from one to the other much like we visit Canada. Or at least we can mingle, like walking across the border to view the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

At this point, I want to live alone. I don’t want to be friends with Trump supporters, as they really have nothing to offer me and haven’t for a long time. Frankly, I feel I’ve had to endure them most of my life. To begin, I grew up in an upper-middle class neighborhood in New York that was bedrock, conservative Republican. Later, I lived through the shenanigans of Tricky Dick. I painfully remember what “W” gave to the country – unpreparedness for 9-11, $3 trillion spent in Afghanistan, and the unending debacle of Iraq. So, I think I can imagine how bad a Trump Administration could be.

On a personal level, I was afraid for my life on three occasions as a journalist. One was covering a dog-fighting ring in Graham replete with 20 Rottweilers. After the bad guys were arrested their friends lingered around, and as the cops were leaving they suggested that I go with them, too. I did.

The other two happenings occurred on the same night in the same place – a hotel in downtown Tacoma when the Pierce County Republican Party had gathered to watch Sarah Palin debate Joe Biden in the 2008 election. On two separate occasions wild-eyed women approached me. One, in a cold, icy rage demanded to see my press credentials and loudly suggested that I was some kind of saboteur. After her verbal explosion she left, and a Repub standing behind me said, “Gawd, you were lucky she decided to leave. I thought she was gonna kill you.” I nodded my head in agreement.

The second incident occurred a few minutes later at a buffet table, and the Swedish meatballs actually served as a buffer. Again, my presence as a journalist triggered her rage, but I was able to escape with only invectives voiced in my direction.

We may be moving towards becoming two kinds of people – literally. Science is showing that progressives and conservatives think differently. In fact, our brains are different.

Some research indicates that the “functional MRIs” of Democrats show more neural activity than the pix of Republicans. Coupled with this finding is some research that indicates that folks who have experienced chronic trauma have thicker, slower brains. Children from abusive families seems to have trouble learning, grasping new concepts, and being open to new social experiences. Hence, some psychologists speculate that the less-lively fMRIs of Repubs occur because conservatives have experienced more trauma in their lives, making them neurologically toughened in the battlefield of life.

I don’t have any scientific references at this time to support these kinds of statements, so these words are less compelling than I would normally offer. But it is what I’ve got pending more digging into the scientific literature. So, dear readers, please consider this article an introductory essay into the nature of what confronts us in the Trump Era.

But I do know that the people who can empathize with others have a unique set of neurons in the lateral portions of their prefrontal cortex, the so-called “Mirror Neurons.” These are neurons that fire automatically when a person observes what another being is doing. The act of watching fires our “Mirror Neurons,” sending electronic messages throughout our brain, and telling us exactly what the other person is experiencing.

Apparently the same phenomena occurs when we imagine events, such as when we envision new thoughts and experiences. We seem to actually live the imagined episodes, at least biochemically.

Some researchers agree, such as Dr. Joe Dispenza, who famously said in the “What the Bleep Do You Know” documentary on consciousness that the brain doesn’t know the difference between what it sees and what it actually experiences physically – the neurological response is the same.

I interpret this data to mean that folks with healthy mirror neurons know acutely what it is like to be a Muslim immigrant seeking refuge in the United States and then hearing Trump’s rhetoric.

Another “Bleep” alumnus, Dr. Bruce Lipton, calls the folks who are fascinated by the studies in consciousness, “Cultural Creatives,” and I think that is a proper term. My observation is that progressives are more creative than conservatives – after all the Republican Party is known as the “Party of No.”

The country’s creativity, innovation, and drive seems to be centered in the Blue States and the cities of the South. Not much seems to be happening in the rural sections of TrumpLand. Yes, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were born and raised in northern Florida, but where did they go to express themselves? Los Angeles.

So, perhaps through life experiences and choices we are becoming two different kinds of beings physically: Homo sapiens progressive and Homo sapiens conservative. One is artful, expansive, and caring. The other is singular, vigilant, and possessive. One votes Democrat, the other Republican.

Perhaps we are moving to a new evolutionary point in the Grand Dance of Life. Perhaps we are moving to the Omega Point, as the philosopher Teilhard de Chardin postulated decades ago, when life is very different, when we become transcendent and beyond physical needs and the deprivations of survival-based living.

Consider this. The life we know and the planet we live upon at this time is unique to history. It’s also brand-new. Ten-thousand years ago life – and the world – were radically different. Mile-high ice sheets covered half of the planet, and animals were vastly larger than they are now. Dogs then were the size of bears now. Then something happened. We know the atmosphere changed and sulfur levels decreased, which may have altered animal physiology. Certainly the ice melted, and when that happened the oceans rose 300 feet to their current levels. The home of my youth in Long Island, NY was atop the gravel the ice sheets pushed down from the Arctic. For 10,000 years the water levels stayed constant. But then in 2012, those lands were inundated with a storm surge of 20 feet of sea water as Hurricane Sandy came ashore, courtesy of global climate change and rising sea levels and temperatures.

Historically, after the ice left, mankind was able to settle in the valleys and develop agriculture. Then cities and culture. Eventually, we formed political parties and held elections. But life as we know it today is essentially a recent phenomenon.

But is a new epochal event occurring now?

Seeking an answer, I’ve looked back a little further in history, and examined what happened 40,000-100,000 years ago when Homo sapiens developed frontal lobes, which gave us the ability to talk and form languages, act in an organized manner and develop civilizations. Our neighbors, the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, didn’t develop those lobes and they disappeared from the Earth. Why, and how, did that happen? Is anything like that happening again? Will conservatives and bad policy decisions consign them to the rubble heap of history? Will their stupid ideology on global climate change doom them, whereas us smarty-pants progressives will sense the coming storms and find safety?

Reaching further back into history, what happened 250,000 years ago when Homo erectus became more intelligent and eventually developed into Neanderthals. For a time they were very successful and populated much of Europe and Asia. Ancient texts say that the Nephalim came from the Planet Nibiru and genetically modified the primate stock of Earth and created this new version of humanity. Perhaps, but can any knowing of those facts help us now? Such discussions might be best left for late-night talk radio and proponents of Dr. Zachariah Sitchin.

So, we’re left with a dilemma. Do progressives need conservatives, and vice-versa? Or are we best left to go our own ways? Does the salt of the earth that voted for Trump need me and my fellow cultural creatives? After all, Donald Trump lives in New York City, a place where over 80% of the residents voted against him, and now protest daily outside his Tower on 5th Avenue.

More perplexing, do we need the Trumpers?

Much will be revealed to us – about ourselves – in the coming years. I trust we will find the way to survive the lessons.

BAS, Headshot, standing, close up by Karelina, NWR, Feb. 2011

Yours truly.

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10 Responses to Resistance – Why are we so polarized as a country, and what can we do about it?

  1. shutter45 says:

    The country has survived for over 200 years, and along with that was 44 presidents. I’m sure we will all be here for some time to come. all this must stop (violence, hatred, sides). the left had 8 years to try and run things, and it appears the country didn’t agree with there conclusions. now, the coin has flipped, and it’s time to switch for a change. no, it will not be the end of the world as many are claiming. have any of the celebrities left? didn’t think so. they are so busy trying to prove Trump wrong when they can’t keep there own word!!

    Perhaps it’s time to see what happens vs reading into the future. I’ve said it before, this is a two party system that we all seem to agree with until the tables turn. non the less, the country has spoken. beating up homeless people isn’t the answer, nor is it time to call the police when someone wants there name on a coffee cup from Starbucks that says Trump. yes, both happened, and it’s ridiculous.

    “More perplexing, do we need the Trumpers?”

    Statements such as the one above is a perfect example of why we have a problem. are you now claiming conservatives don’t belong in America? is this a mature statement, or a valid one? you are showing true colors that we DON’T have a two party system…or, at least you don’t want two parties….that’s a Robert Blevins statement…”my way, or the highway”

    You also claim to be against “bullies” when it appears that that’s exactly what the democrats are showing? violence, and hatred in the “protesting” going on….

    If Obama lived where the votes were low, how would you report that? would you claim the same as you report about Trump? you also appear to be part of the problem with wanting to split this country…sadly, this will be my last comment on this site. no reasoning here…..

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Not sure it’s the end of the world? How was the high tide down your way, last week in Miami Dade? I heard it got a little moist in the middle of the street….

      …we could be looking at an extinction event for those folks who choose to stick their head in the sand and keep it there….

  2. Paula Morris says:

    Bruce, this is a very long article and touches on many things all at once.

    You say you are tired of holding your tongue when conservative friends speak, and that you don’t “care” if the country is divided.

    Actually, I don’t remember you ever “holding your tongue,” and in fact, have thought for years that you were a Republican. Why? Because whenever I berated something said by Republicans, you defended their views. So forgive me if I gathered from your defense and positive regard, that you were one of them.

    If you believe that consciousness can create reality, is this the reality you want? Do you want civil war; division among family and neighbors?

    Your deduction that you are a “Cultural Creative is interesting.” The book, by Paul H. Ray, Ph.D.,and Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, came out in 2000. I purchased it in 2003, after trying to make sense of the world we lived in after 9-11. There is a list of 18 measures by which to evaluate whether one thinks they may be a CC. I could honestly check off at least 17. So I determined I was of the CC worldview. Two of those measures: #13 “tend to be rather optimistic about our future and distrust the cynical and pessimistic view that is given by the media, and #14 “want to be involved in creating a new and better way of life in our country, seem to be at odds with your written statements today. Perhaps you could rethink where you’re headed. Right now, anger and fear seem to be having their way with you. I pretty much understand. I’ve been there too.

    I admire how well read you are. But I do not admire using “journalism” to twist and spin concepts to create a preconceived perspective. Balanced reporting comes to mind–not neutral–just balanced.

    I agree, Gaia is pretty fed up with human destruction of the natural world. After all, we have only been around for the last 10,000 years. I don’t think it is one party responsible for this destruction. It is the post-industrial revolution mindset of continuous growth, consumption, and profit, that has reeked havoc on our planet. In other words: Capitalism/Corporatization, Empire/Militarization.

    In regard to Geo-Politics: We certainly can head down the path of a World War scenario, but we can also “imagine” if you will, creating a new peace. Perhaps now is the time for “consciousness” to be elevated to hold up a vision of true unity rather than division.

    Civil War? It is highly possible. Your scenario could play out. But, who will teach the people that a higher mindset could heal all the wounded psyche’s in our land and around the globe?

    Two America’s? I believe we have two mindsets, two world-views; the soft and the hard. It’s not just America that this dilemma has surfaced. It is global. The human race is at a cross-roads. Do we choose the light over the dark? Does being human mean we are part of the web of life; part of the living earth, empathic and creative? Or does being human mean we are exploitative, power hungry, greedy, and destructive? I have a suspicion that we have been here before. Have we learned anything? Which way will we choose this time?

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Thanks for your lengthy commentary, Paula.

      I suppose the big question that arches through your commentary is how best to create the world we want and foster those ideals that we love and cherish.

      To me, what I can do right now is be specific on the hows and whys I find a Trump Administration dangerous. I see this as a noble expression of telling truth to power.

      Please remember that my resistance is rooted in non-violence. As I have described in my other articles on resistance to the Trump Administration, I subscribe to the actions of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. I also hearken back to the days of my youth when we marched on Washington to end the Vietnam War. We accomplished that even though it took years of protesting, and I never threw one rock or provoked a single cop.

      I plan on doing the same this time around, too.

      • Paula Morris says:

        Yes. How to…..the big question. Let’s keep “hope” in play, positive consciousness, and most of all, “Love.”

  3. brucesmith49 says:

    Editor’s Note: A Mountain News reader, Lisa Pilkinton, has graciously allowed me to post an email she sent to me yesterday concerning this article.

    9/2016 1:59 AM, Lisa Pilkinton wrote:

    Hi Bruce,

    I like the article. With recent events I have really been questioning what can I do? Although I love all I do in life I have had a constant niggling of could I be doing more to try and save this planet?

    I have always struggled to find the balance of my tranquil farm life, heading towards sustainability and being in London in the midst of all the Chaos, politics and ignorance. The day Trump was elected did hit me hard, such a sad day for humanity. It just really hit home that as a species we have failed, we are going to wipe ourselves out, all bought on by the greed of mankind. From the bits I knew about Trump politics, in particular his view on climate change and his threat to back out of ‘the Paris agreement’ worried me so much, not to mention all the other things clearly wrong with Trump. I really felt it was a huge stepping stone towards quite literally the end of the world. What a horrible day, it will stick with me forever. It has pushed me to no longer be content to sit by and just be annoyed with the path we seem to be going down. I feel all this divide in the elections both here and in the u.s. its just a way of distracting from the massive problem of climate change. I feel we do need to be working together as one, as a species. A friend of mine actually made the comment in reference to the Trump election: “At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter, its happening in America, not here” I just thought how can people not see our biggest issues are Global, all these things have a chain reaction Globally. It does effect us ALL. It effects us as one, it effects us as Humans.

    I must do something! I have enrolled to do a degree in Environmental studies, I feel so confused by different information how facts and figures seem to be so manipulated and turned in to sometimes just complete and utter crap. I feel the first step for me is to completely educate myself on what exactly is going on so I can make well informed choices, back up my arguments well and potentially do as much as I can so there may still be a future on this planet for generations to come.

    I thoroughly enjoy your articles and I am sure I will have much more to discuss as I embark on my quest for knowledge!

    Lisa 🙂

  4. Raymond Cool says:

    I am disappointed in this article. I realize that you are a very passionate person, Bruce, and often quick to share your feelings, so I gave you the benefit of the doubt with your first reactions to this election. But rather than toning down your anger, you’re ramping it up.
    I remember when Obama was first elected. There was significant disappointment from people on the right. But they were told by the left that the people have spoken and it was time to get behind the president because that’s what American’s do. Most people on the right did just that, because, really, what choice did they have? I remember a few bumper stickers saying “He’s not MY president” but that sort of expression was about the worst of it. There were no ongoing protests, no riots, nothing like what we see coming from the left today. And you know what? This isn’t new. They cried like babies when Reagan was elected too, do you remember? They pissed about Nixon getting elected too. And lets not forget George Dubya… the hatred… and I realize that’s a strong word… but that’s what it is and was, the HATRED the left has and still has for George Bush defies all reason.

    From the left’s perspective “let the system work” only applies when they’re the ones in power. In all of the protesting, all of the complaining, all of the whining and crying I’ve seen only a handful of people on the left ask the serious question WHY Trump won. The votes that count in the states that count went to Obama the last two elections. What has the left done so wrong that they lost those votes? I don’t see any effort on the part of the left to understand WHY this election turned out this way, only lashing out in anger over it, and how you’re going to move on in the future without reconciling any of those questions or issues. You almost sound like you support a civil war or the splitting of America. You don’t really want to divide this country, do you? It sounds like you’d rather do that than live with someone who voted for Trump. There’s not a lot of love in that sentiment. It sounds like you want to take your ball and go home.

    You think YOU have had to hold your tongue all these years? You live in a liberal state. I don’t remember the last time this state voted conservative. You are not in the minority here. You are part of the very vocal majority. Like another person commented, I have NEVER known you to hold your tongue.
    Conservatives, on the other hand, have had to hold their tongue. Why do you think the polls got it wrong? Have you asked yourself that? How could the polls have gotten it wrong? Easy. The right has been so bashed, so abused, so vilified, and when people express conservative views they are attacked and demonized by their friends on the left that they just stop talking. They are shut out. So when they’re asked an opinion they give what is expected. But they’re not shut out in the voting booth! You don’t change people’s hearts or minds by insulting them or by shutting them down. You have to take this as a lesson from this election, or you’ve missed the whole point.
    I know more than a few conservatives who are just as shocked as you are that Trump won. I had one express to me why he’s not shutting up any more about it: because he’s been guilted into shutting up for the past 8 years and he’s had enough of it. Enough people voted his way, he feels that America should give the next president a fair chance.

    And he’s right.

    I didn’t vote for Obama, but I hoped for the best and supported him as my president.
    I didn’t vote for Trump but I hope for the best and support him as my next president.

    If your seriously thinking this country doesn’t need Trump supporters, you’re kidding yourself!

    Community building isn’t about forcing your way on other people. Sadly, that’s how the left has been doing it for too long and if the results of this election say anything at all to us, it’s that insulting people and shutting them out doesn’t work any more. Trying to do it right after they’ve realized that they actually have a voice doesn’t stand a chance in hell of working.

    I wish you the best as you seek to distance yourself from Trump supporters. You’re going to find yourself with fewer friends than you realize.

    I wish I could say that I find it odd that so much anger and hatred comes from the side that preaches against those things, and that so little tolerance and acceptance is found there when they don’t get their way. But I can’t say I’m surprised. As a true independent, I’ve seen the hatred that spews from both sides. Neither has a monopoly on it.

    There is plenty in my arsenal to bash the right, so don’t take this as if I’m giving them a free pass. But my points are concerning the left’s response to this election. They got it wrong which is why they last this election, and if they don’t figure it out they’ll lose the next one too.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      I feel my life is threatened, and the lives and well-being of those I care about. And the planet, too.

      What would you prefer that I do? What do you think might be more agreeable or effective?

      You are certainly correct about me having fewer friends. They are dropping like flies from all directions. A former lover demanded that I not email her any more, a colleague on the left just called me a coward, and the screaming from right-wingers is unrelenting.

      The oddest commentaries are from the new-agey folks. They are lambasting me for not trusting in the power of love. Funny, I don’t feel too much of that from them, either.

      • Raymond Cool says:

        I wasn’t going to mention the “new-agey” stuff, but since you brought it up… I agree with them. Your response to this election does not appear to me to be reflective of what I understand your core spiritual beliefs are. I see a major conflict there, which is why I figured you’d “auto-correct” after the initial shock wore off. I am interested to discuss with you at some point in the future whether this event has had any impact on your core spiritual values. If not, then perhaps I’ll learn a deeper understanding of those beliefs.

        What to do? For starters, since your fears are more hypothetical than reality at this point, let me toss out a hypothetical question of my own. Let’s pretend that Hillary won and there was this level of outrage from the right, and someone used your exact reasoning to defend it. That is, they said that with Clinton coming into office they feared for their life on multiple levels. What would your reaction be to them? Seriously? I imagine your reaction would be that their reaction was so over the top and blown out of proportion that you wouldn’t even bother addressing them or even taking them seriously. I’m not surprised you’re taking flack even from your own side.

        This election appears to have struck a major nerve with you and I don’t think you’re viewing it objectively. It appears to have shattered your perception of the world we live in. That is a hard blow, one I faced myself years ago. It’s why I’m so callous and jaded to politics today!
        I have faith that you’ll come around. Not come around to support Trump or anything… but come around to seeing things with a bigger perspective.

        I’m sorry your colleague called you a coward. I know that when I read your description about being speechless and crying on the phone that it would be easy for some to view you in that light. I took it as a reflection of your emotional trauma over this election and your sharing it with the world as a gutsy thing to do. Your colleague should be ashamed for taking such a cheap shot.

  5. Bruce Smith says in part:
    “But looking back on our history – the Great Depression, WWII, the Civil War – show how really Big Troubles can unify a country…”

    True enough, Bruce. But there is a difference between those times, and today. During those times, we had THESE people in the Oval Office, not Trump:

    Great Depression: FDR
    WW2: FDR
    Civil War: Abe Lincoln

    Neither of those men got elected President by making statements and promises that divide a nation based on its diversity. Trump did that, and his rhetoric is well-known. Trump also played on peoples’ fears (the economy, terrorism, fear of Muslims) and appealed to the basest sort of people. The one thing he did do that was smart was he visited formerly blue states up in the Rust Belt who had gone traditionally Democrat, but who went for HIM in the election. In some of those states, it is true that jobs have been flying overseas for years, and GOOD jobs are hard to come by. Trump knew that, and took advantage of it just enough to get their Electoral votes.

    We will see if he comes through on the promises he made to those people around the Great Lakes. If he does, he might even get another term. If he doesn’t, or goes bat-shit crazy deporting families and trying to institute his own version of 1984 or Big Brother, he probably will be a one-term President. He didn’t even get the majority of the popular vote, so I wouldn’t say he has an overwhelming mandate here.

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