Anyone living in the United States over the past several generations can tell you that the American people have become increasingly divided in their political outlooks. It would seem now that those divisions are so diametrically opposed as to be irreconcilable. That, perhaps, is one dark path (or is that two dark paths which diverged from each other?) that we may very well continue to travel down. There has always been a progressive/conservative divide in the nation, particularly since the turn of the 20th century. That divide, with the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, seems to be widening into an impassable chasm. Even loving members of my own family are at nasty odds with each other over this outcome. (As a disclaimer, I did not vote for either egregious candidate of Clinton or Trump.)
I noticed from the evening news that the Left has taken to the streets in protest in many cities last night decrying the election of Trump. They have tried to subtly or not so subtly shame anyone that voted or supported the policies of Trump and the Right. Some have vowed social unrest and civil disobedience even. They are fearful what the future holds for them in our country.
I get it.
I too was afraid and deeply troubled when President Obama was elected in 2008 and then inexplicably re-elected in 2012. I had done enough research prior to his first election to know that Obama was not whom he portrayed himself to be. Sadly, I was correct. That said, despite my disdain for identity politics, I was at least hopeful that our first black president would be able to further improve already-healing race relations amongst our citizenry. Instead, President Obama squandered this opportunity and only inflamed race relations. He did everything to replace one “oppressed” group with another. The good will instilled in him by all Americans with his election was wasted.
Ironically Trump has now won on the backs of millions of white working-class families that had previously voted for Obama. And yet, the intolerant among the Left such as Van Jones claim that Trump’s election was a “white-lash” against a black president. If one voted for Obama and then subsequently voted for Trump, that would seem to me to negate the facetious charge of racism. Indeed, higher numbers of Black and Hispanic Americans voted for Trump than had previously voted for Romney in 2012. Could it possibly be that Americans voted for Trump over Clinton because of choices in policies?
President Obama ran roughshod over the Constitution and governed by executive order when he could not move his agenda forward by congressional legislation. Further, when existing laws ran contrary to his agenda, such as the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by Bill Clinton, he simply refused to enforce them as per his constitutionally sworn duty. Indeed, he often championed the overturning of such laws by the courts when he could not get the peoples' representatives in congress to do his will.
Along the way, many of our constitutional rights were eroded, if not fully curtailed. Business owners were challenged in court for practicing their religious principles, many to their financial ruin. Our right to be secure in our persons and papers unless a warrant was issued was fully violated. The tenth amendment guaranteeing States the power to do all that was not explicitly stated as duties of the federal government became a laughing stock. Federal grants of funds were threatened to be withheld for education etc. if States did not comply with executive branch mandates to provide transgender bathrooms and privileges. And the right to LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated in our founding document as a nation, was wholly undermined with the pernicious HHS mandate requiring even religiously affiliated schools, hospitals etc. to provide abortifacients to their employees via health insurance, even when it was against their freedom to exercise their religions as they had so chosen. Even a half a billion dollars a year in tax-payer's dollars was given to fund the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics throughout the country.
Hillary Clinton would have simply continued President Obama’s failed and morally egregious policies and further restricted our constitutional rights. She would have continued down the path of anemic economic policies and continued to put herself above the rule of law, all the while enriching her cronies and herself.
The Left fears that all of these “gains” for their various constituency groups that they have garnered under Obama’s tenure will be rolled back or stripped away once again. Where these gains conflict with constitutional rights intended for all Americans, I say that they absolutely should be eradicated.
That is not to say that we should be hostile to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and those that are fearful on the left. Indeed this country was not founded on “tolerance” but rather on freedom and respect. Freedom though is not in the doing of anything we want, but rather on the ability to choose to do what we ought. We ought to be respectful of one another, even when we disagree.
To the Left, tolerance is a virtue. It isn’t. Further, their idea of tolerance only applies to those that agree with their notions. Disagreement with their “enlightened” view will certainly NOT be tolerated by them. Respect must be afforded to all Americans by each of us, Left and Right, and especially with those with whom we disagree on political and social issues.
Nobody is going to come and lock up law abiding Muslim or Hispanic Americans. Nobody is going to insist that gay people must live their lives back in the closet, which is ironic since many on the Left want religious people to only live their faith behind closed doors and not in the public square.
We are a wonderful nation composed of myriads of people and their differing views. We will never all agree with one another, nor should we. We should continue to state, challenge, and live our views and convictions. The debate of ideas is how we come to find that which is the best amongst us. Denigrating and condescending towards those with whom we disagree will only invite more of the same in return.
I lived through eight years of what many Americans considered to be very destructive policies emplaced by President Obama. All of my friends and family on the Left that are fearful of Trump’s presidency need to take heart. You too will survive, and even though I have serious doubts about President-elect Trump in many regards, my hopes and fervent prayers are that the country will be better off four years from now. I tried to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of his first term in office. Perhaps we all should try to do the same with Mr. Trump. In the meantime, let’s remember that we are ALL Americans and thus we are all in this experiment in representative Democracy together.