Time to re-friend the loved ones you unfriended during the election season. Remember, we Americans are all on the same team.
AS another year passes into the history books, people across this great country are giving thanks for the family and friends in their lives. Unfortunately, due to the recent election, many of them are no longer on speaking terms.
Now, perhaps more than ever before in our nation’s history, Americans of all political persuasions are isolating themselves from anyone who does not share their views. They are blaming each other for the perceived misbehaviors of the candidates they support. This accomplishes nothing and serves only to divide us.
Both Republicans and Democrats have fallen into the habit of demonizing one another, as it can be a very effective way to rally their supporters. Meanwhile, our friends in the national media seem to be doing everything they can to encourage this mindset for the sake of ratings. But at the end of the day, the real blame lies with us, the American people, for so eagerly lapping it up.
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If you spend some time on Google, you’ll see no shortage of posts and even news articles encouraging readers to view people with political differences as the enemy and cut them out of their lives. We see it on both sides, though a new study indicates that this behavior is more common among Democrats.
Rather than being angry with your friends and loved ones for the terrible crime of voting for the wrong candidate, you should be thankful to have people in your life who care enough about their country and the world to get involved in the democratic process.
Politicians and media alike have been conditioning us for years to despise our political rivals as we would foreign invaders. It is vitally important, both for our democracy and for ourselves, that we stand up to and resist this movement toward hatred of our neighbors.
Let’s face it: The two major parties gave us a pair of awful presidential candidates in 2016. Many Americans chose to vote for neither candidate, while others simply voted for whom they perceived to be the “lesser evil.” According to a Pew Research Center poll taken before the election, a 33 percent plurality of Trump supporters backed him because he’s not Hillary Clinton, not because they agree with his inflammatory rhetoric. Likewise, 32 percent of Clinton supporters — also a plurality — backed her because she’s not Donald Trump.
If this is true, it means you cannot draw a conclusion that people support racism, corruption, or whatever else, simply because the politician they voted for does. It’s not so much that they voted for a candidate as they voted against one. Since there was no shortage of reasons to vote against either Clinton or Trump, you can’t rationally blame people for pinching their noses and choosing one or the other.
Most Trump supporters are not racists or bigots any more than most Clinton supporters like what Wall Street is doing to our economy or the encroachment of corporate influence in our public policy.
So the next time President-elect Trump says something stupid about Mexicans, remember that those words came out of his mouth — not your friend’s. A lot of people voted for him despite offensive tripe like that, not because of it.
It’s time to stop hating one another and start healing these divisions. We’re all on the same team, after all.