Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Deepening Divide

He has become the symbol of a divided America. Donald Trump has saturated news for almost three years, but few in media ever expected him to win. They were shocked when he did, and coverage has been overwhelmingly negative ever since. In spite of that, his favorability ratings remain steady and even rise. Half of America supports him; half hates his guts. Our country is divided, and the split is widening.

Half of America believes Russians interfered with our election to stop Hillary and help Trump win. Though no evidence has emerged after two years of investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department, they insist it will eventually. The other half believes the FBI and the DOJ have themselves interfered with the election to help Hillary Clinton and stop Trump — and are still trying to bring Trump down with a phony investigation. Evidence for that continues to grow.

In the interest of full disclosure let me state that I voted for Trump, and if present trends continue I probably will again.

Never before was I reluctant to discuss politics with anyone, anywhere, but lately I’ve become reticent in certain circles. Conversation gets emotional when his name comes up and rational discourse becomes difficult. Many in western Maine and eastern New Hampshire know me as a conservative columnist, but not many in the Portland area know that. Down there I’m a closeted conservative.

My closet door stays shut but I keep a peephole open. Sometimes I feel like anthropologist Jane Goodall observing the behavior of a related species from behind a screen. There are very few Trump stickers in South Portland where I spend a few days per week, and no “Make America Great Again” hats. Bernie stickers, Hillary stickers, and Obama stickers are everywhere. Also proliferating are rainbow flags as well as “=” signs of the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s biggest homosexual lobbying group.

Every two months, a writers’ group would meet at the Salt Water Grille down the street from our house. At the first meeting after the election, the discussion was exclusively about President-elect Donald Trump — none of it positive. I was quiet until faces turned to me and I said, “ I voted for Trump.” Immediately, the guy sitting next to me said, “You’re an a**hole!”

There was a time I would have reflexively responded, “Oh yeah? Why don’t we go outside and discuss it further?” That night, however, I just turned ninety degrees and looked at him. No one in the room talked for five seconds, but his outburst and my response made it clear who the a**hole was. His apology broke the silence. I kept looking at him for a few more seconds before saying, “Okay. I accept.”

My Hillary interview

Then I told the group I had a fifteen-minute interview with Hillary Clinton before the New Hampshire primary — and that she lied all the way through, so I couldn’t possibly vote for her. For the rest of the evening, I had a rational conversation about Trump with a retired art professor seated on my other side.

People capable of emotional detachment in political discussions report increased quarreling and less rational discourse. I’ve avoided talking politics with certain family members and the list got longer after the election. Like-minded relatives who are professionals report increasing polarization at their workplaces where they, too, stay closeted. We agree that Trump is a reflection of America’s divide rather than a cause of it.

Establishment Republicans like John McCain, Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, and several others share a disdain for Trump with the entire Democrat Party and mainstream media. All shunned the Tea Party when it emerged eight years ago, though congressional Republicans pretended to accept new members elected by the Tea Party. After Congress absorbed what became the “Tea Party Caucus” without changing very much, middle America looked around for stronger medicine.

That set the stage for Trump’s run. Democrats and media at first disguised their scorn for him and his supporters, but after Trump got the Republican nomination Hillary Clinton famously said: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.” After Trump won, media dropped their pretense as well. What did Trump supporters do? They purchased “deplorable” T-shirts and wore them proudly.

Former Tea Party activists who had become “deplorables” always knew elite politicians and media figures harbored scorn for them and were okay to finally have it out in the open. Lately, media calls them “a cult,” and reminiscent of mass suicides at Jonestown, Establishment Washington, and the coastal elites have escalated their divisive rhetoric, but none of it diminishes support for Trump.

The elites remain baffled by Trump supporters, never suspecting that maybe “deplorables” understand them quite well. Thus does America’s divide deepen.


Ted said...

Boom! Well stated, Tom

Anonymous said...

The "Thought Police" and Big Brother Obama's are like the Iron Curtain of the Leftists Fascists. They have disdain for opposing views as their "secular humanist religion" cannot sustain a logical argument. I say, Make America Great Again Mr. Trump.
Second District

Anonymous said...

The Democrat Party today, which is filled with Marxist revolutionaries, reminds me of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. The prisoners were, as are the Dems (not exclusively, but mostly), totally out of touch with reality, can’t comprehend the truth and don’t want to. Of course, they would say the same thing about conservatives. Each side has his own version of the “facts”.

HOWEVER, adherence to an ideology is one thing. It is my contention that a lot of money is making its way into the pockets of many of the politicians on both sides who are selling out the country for financial gain.....and, that’s what is so sickening about today’s political climate.

P. C. Poppycock said...

Just for fun, I'll inject some silliness from my earlier years.

A close friend and I were enjoying the aftermath of a dinner together with wives, and he and I were out on his patio soaking up another bottle of wine, while our spouses were inside telling each other how lousy their men are.

We were both smoking back then, so that gives you some idea how long ago it was. Anyway, he described his belief that there are only two kinds of people you meet: "assholes" and "kumquats."

I'm happy to join with you Tom as which ever one you choose; our 'loyal opposition' can have the leftover. I suspect if we call the latter kumquats it will leave them perplexed beyond laughter.

We've all heard about "liberal heads exploding" since the Trumpster won. I like the image of blown head gaskets as something more relatable; at least for us shade-tree mechanic types....the great forgotten populous.

Nick Peace said...

I'm an Independent, normally vote Democratic, last election voted 3rd party as a protest vote. I am utterly amazed at the hostility towards Trump. I am sure I have alienated more than few friends by not hating Trump enough and being critical of Russia-gate. In fact, I think improved relations with Russia is the single best item in his entire platform given we could break out in to war with them at any time over Syria - and almost did just a few months ago! It really is "Trump Derangement Syndrome". And I have to say the media absolutely is partially responsible; not a day goes by without some manufactured outrage. It does make one wonder if there isn't some validity to claims of the "Deep State" being out to get him.

And what happened to civility? All Trump supporters are racists and Neo-nazis? As if there weren't valid reasons to vote for Trump on economics or foreign policy grounds. We can no longer discuss policy as about a contest of ideas and instead it is now just moral outrage based on emotions. This is not a good development for our national politics.

Mr Ed said...

The left is becoming Antifa, our government is controlled by criminals, the Corporate Media wholly supports Antifa and criminal bureaucrats. We see that our POTUS bows to their power when pushed, is he a puppet to the Deep State? yes, often.

The election of Trump has shown us how far our nation has slid and what our future holds if we do not fight back. The American people, at least, the deplorables, know that the Republic has been stolen from the people by powerful forces and they don't mean to give it back.

CaptDMO said...

"He has become the symbol of a divided America."
Couldn't agree less.
I find Mr. Obama's personal campaign, and subsequently, Personal Presidential Gub'mint "Seal" (as seen on "This Project presented by..." signage)
as ......"The Symbol"
So-called Anti-Fascist (AntiFa) flags in a circle, come next.
Sorry for the "Wiki" hypertext

Anonymous said...

4.1% GDP, less federal taxation, Defeated ISIS, now fair trade, better relations with Russia, a better border, and only after 18 mos. The Northeast Liberals are mentally deranged--attributed to the fact that liberalism is a mental disorder.

Anonymous said...

One more thing, there has not been a single act of ISIS terrorism in the US since Trump became president....plus he was right on limiting immigration from the selected countries as per the Supreme Court's decision. Seems to me that the Democrats are now the anti-American party, just as President Washington predicted--foreign interest supporting the second of the two party system. The northeast liberals are brainwashed from the first day in school through college, hence the reason that most of this part of the country is left. Pot and drug smoking counter culture, northeast states in debt up to their ears, drug use at epidemic proportions--dare I say, D.A.R.E. -old hippies and their pothead kids....good luck with that.

Reality Check said...

Stopped reading early again. No need to carry one after hearing lying/ignorant statement like "Half of America" supports Trump.

Learn math. Numbers, and words, have meanings.

RichNH said...

I think you were spot on.

Anonymous said...

Being a Mainer myself, this blog is full of BS, assertions that have no credible citation, black and white thinking, and assumptions that are based on mere opinion. Free speech you have a right to, but misinformation & making opinionated statements to sound like fact is just pure dishonesty. Since you were a former history teacher, I am sure you understand what dishonesty, making stuff up, straw man attack, assumptions, and black & white thinking is. If not, please go read a book on academics, honesty, sound deductive reasoning, and how credibility is not based on a mere belief.

Tom McLaughlin said...

My policy is to delete anonymous comments. I'll allow this one to stand, but post no more, please. If you lack the fortitude to put your own name or at least a pseudonym on your opinions, then go elsewhere to post. Your writing style seems familiar but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt this time.