These days I find myself less inclined to bicker over politics than ever before. I truly and honestly want to find as many points of agreement, points of unity, and common ground as possible with my fellow countrymen. It may seem counterintuitive then that I don’t feel overly inclined to defend President Trump when he’s maligned by the left. Some of it is unfair, to be sure. But finding common ground means I also have to be intellectually honest enough to realize that President Trump thrives on controversy, so he intentionally provokes it. No one can look at his conduct, his word choice, his Twitter feed, and come to any other conclusion than Trump stokes the fire because he loves the fight. Some on the right may be convinced that is the best way forward for our extraordinarily divided country. I am not.
But the only way I can be right is if there are folks whose politics runs counter to mine, that is, those on the political left, who are willing to renounce the voices of division on their own side as well. This can’t be a one-way admission of needless division. That’s largely how we got Trump in the first place. The reason so many on the right are thrilled with Trump is because they feel as though they have been subjected to left wing Trumps for years, and now the real Trump is giving the left a taste of their own medicine.
I’m of the belief that Presidents who seek to pit one group of Americans against another based on ideological or philosophical differences are a danger to the thinning moral fabric of our republic. Certainly not everyone will agree on everything, and anyone in leadership will have to take positions on issues that will be opposed by a significant portion of the population. But taking such positions doesn’t require sticking one’s finger in the eye of those who disagree or portraying them as buffoons, immature, or evil.
So it’s long past time for honest brokers on the left to disavow such conduct, and cut ties with those who indulge in it regularly. Like Barack Obama. If it’s unhelpful when Trump does it, it is unhelpful when Obama does it. And he does it. All. The. Time.
“The reason we don’t” invest in climate change policies “is because we are still confused, blind, shrouded with hate, anger, racism — mommy issues.”
“I mean, we — we are we are fraught with stuff,” Obama continued, “And — and so if that’s the case then the single most important thing that we have to invest in is not all — and look I’m a huge supporter of science and technological research and social science and, you know, evidence-based learning and all that good stuff. I’m — I’m — people call me Spock for a reason, I believe in reason and logic and all these enlightenment values, but the thing that really we have to invest in is people. We got to get people to figure out how they work together — in a — you know, how do we get people to work together in a cooperative, thoughtful, constructive way.”
At some point, liberals of good conscience have to repudiate this doublespeak. You can’t call for people to work together in a cooperative and constructive way after you just got done accusing them of being racist, angry haters with mommy issues. It’s a joke. And honest liberals should not overlook it if they despise the same conduct in Trump. Obama wasn’t done, either:
“I was having a conversation with a friend, who was depressed about the current course of our country — it’s a conversation that happens a lot,” Obama said later. “I had to remind him that this is what happens. Societies are these incredibly complex, organic things that sometimes moves forward and sometimes takes a step back.”
The smugness here is glaring to those willing to see it. Obama is saying that anyone who opposed his policies has contributed to taking society backwards. Say you don’t agree with them. Point out why you think they’re wrong. Warn of what you see as the consequences for abandoning your agenda. But pompously declaring that those who disagree with you are societal reprobates is dangerously divisive and explains so much about why we are where we are today.
Trump is a divider. Obama is a divider. If we want to be united, either they need to repent and change, or we need to be done with them.