Not long ago, a friend of mine said something that was like a dagger to the heart for me. I have mentioned many times that I have a number of friends that are Trump supporters. As it turns out, I’ve been quite naïve with regard to the degree to which they support Trump. I always thought that they saw him as a necessary evil to the Democratic Party alternative. I never thought for a minute that they actually subscribed to the harsh rhetoric directed against the opposition that you hear on Fox News shows like Hannity, Laura Ingram and in Alex Jones interviews. But as it turns out many of them do.
In thinking about the rude awakening I experienced, I realized that I have been thinking about this entire Trump phenomenon in a very impersonal way and as a result have been blind to the depth of division we have allowed ourselves to fall into as Americans. I knew it was bad, but for the first time, I really get it that those I consider to be the political opposition believes their position is as Christ like and morally correct as I believe my position is.
I’ve sighted the TV show on NBC, “Your Move With Andy Stanley” as a reference for several previous comments on this blog. Recently, in the course of a sermon on the subject of religion and politics, he quoted a man who served under the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson presidential administrations to explain this tendency for both sides of a political argument to claim the moral/ethical high ground. The man’s name was Rufus Miles, and he said, (speaking of political positions and convictions) “Where you stand, depends on where you sit”. In other words, were are all the products of how we’ve been raised, what we’ve been told by parents and others we looked up to, where and how we lived and worked – all the things that have been given to us in life along with our personal experiences are what shapes our points of view and what political party we support. As Americans, what has us in such a quandary now is the fact that we are operating on two very different bodies facts. Apparently, we have gotten to the point that Trump can get on television and say something that conventional wisdom would consider to be utterly outrageous, and his supporters can see the exact same thing, and somehow see it as worthy of applause and sees almost the opposite of what everyone else saw. That tells me this nation is in much more danger of collapse than I previously thought.
Assuming neither side wants to see the country fall completely apart, what can we do to avoid the catastrophe? First of all, we must all make an effort to continue the dialog between ourselves and those in opposition to our views. When you do communicate, focus on how you interpret their comments and what they mean to you rather than on convincing them they’re wrong. We must seek to better understand each other and not formulate our opinions solely on the views of political pundits. Second, we must be united in our efforts to have a free and fair election. Both sides must shut down this idea that the potential for fraud is greater with mail-in ballots when all concerned, Republican and Democrat insist they are not. If we can’t agree on anything else, we must agree on that if we are to remain one nation under God.