America is divided.
No doubt about that.
There are always divisions after an election – the losers aren’t happy (remember when Obama was burned in effigy?) and the winners don’t want any rain on their parade.
In 2017, the victorious Trumpites want to celebrate their guy’s victory, without any negative comments. They like his tweets, his refusal to bow to expectations and they love what he’s saying and doing.
On the other side, there are those who are afraid or angry, who see his election and subsequent actions as moving America backward. As one Facebook pundit put it on the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration: Set your clocks back 300 years.
And on both sides there is a lot of name calling, nasty comments and anger.
Gatherings of family and friends can be touchy. Bringing up politics could be causing a shouting match or a fistfight.
On social media, friends unfriend friends because of posts or photos.
Tempers are hot.
We need to stop and take a deep breath.
Evelyn Beatrice Hall, an English writer, said something we need to remember: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
We can disagree on issues. We can disagree on almost everything, but we are all Americans and we all live here.
People can say Trump is “not my president” just as people said Obama was not theirs. People can protest and rally. They can – and should – speak out for and against issues.
But let’s remember we all have a right to say what we believe in. Let’s not try to shut each other up – or out. Be willing to let others’ have their say and listen to it. Hear it.
Practice civility. Disagree, but do so respectively.
A friend, who voted for Donald Trump, posted something that started “Dear Hypocrites” and that went on to belittle those who did not vote for him. She was surprised – and hurt – when she got some pretty nasty comments back.
Maybe if she’d made her point without accusing the people who voted differently of being hypocrites, she might have gotten a different response. Maybe, someone might have heard what she was really trying to say and perhaps she might have changed a mind.
We have come to think that the only way to discuss politics is at the top of our lungs, on the radio, on television, on social media or even in our living rooms.
But if we are all shouting, none of us will hear anything but the sound of our own voice.