A Call for Political and Social Civility in an Era of Divisiveness
The election is over. Well, it’s sort of, kind of over – even if it is officially over.
I’m certainly not surprised or appalled by President Trump’s allegations of voter fraud – and had Trump won the election, the other side of the aisle might be leveling similar accusations.
With millions of mail-in ballots to count and the counting not even beginning until Election Day in many states, the controversy should have been expected, especially given Trump’s disposition.
The 2020 presidential election is, in some ways the flip side of the 2016 election. Unable or unwilling (take your pick) to accept the results of the previous election, the Democrats and supporters of Sec. Clinton engaged in a four-year crusade of accusations, investigations, allegations, innuendo, and unending verbal tirades and protests against the Trump Administration.
Here we are again. Now it’s the Republicans’ turn, and the supporters of Mr. Trump get to do the same. I find it mentally exhausting.
Now I’m not a fan of President Trump and, just so there’s no ambiguity, I’m not a fan of President-elect Joe Biden either. I am, however, a proud citizen of this nation and an avid supporter of the Constitution of the United States, The Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. We can debate the intent of the nation’s founders, but not the language of those documents, especially our Constitution, which has been amended over the years as the nation evolves into a more perfect union.
I was hoping, despite my innate pessimistic nature, that post-election, we Americans would find a new sense of civility toward one another. But that hasn’t happened yet. In fact, much to my dismay, the reverse seems to be happening.
Personally, I don’t care if someone has political, social, religious, or cultural points of view that differ from mine. It’s taken me sixty-plus years to get to this point. But when I consider that we’ve got no other planet to fly off to, well, we’re stuck with each other. We’re all human beings and a little mutual respect goes a long way.
The question, ultimately, becomes this: Beyond organized brutal aggression or overt attempts to overthrow the government, is any of that stuff really worth arguing about, or fighting about, or worse, killing one another over?
Unfortunately, some Americans think that it is.
On the weekend of December 12, pro-Trump supporters marched down the streets of the nation’s capital. What should have been a peaceful demonstration turned ugly when counter-protesters showed up. Four people were stabbed, one shot, and 23 arrested. It didn’t have to be.
Imagine the Proud Boys, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and all of their friends meeting on the street and, instead of bashing one another’s faces, deciding to tap a few kegs, drink some brews and just talk?
“I don’t like your guy. You don’t like my guy. But so, what? We’re all Americans here. Let’s crack open another one and figure out how we can solve the nation’s problems. Let’s work together. Light up another one of those State of Colorado's joints. Let’s just talk about things because the alternative is ugly.”
I’m going to be blunt, Mr. President and Mr. President-Elect. It’s way past time for both of you to take the initiative and order Congress and your followers to really stand down and instead stand together for America’s sake.
It’s time for both of you to tell your followers to cease looking for opportunities to fight one another and unite. We’ve got to rebuild our infrastructure and our economy. We’ve got people and businesses and schools in desperate need of pandemic relief. It’s time for civility and unity and out-of-the-box thinking. It’s time to put an end to divisiveness.
Because the alternative really is just too damned ugly to contemplate.
Larry Miller is a Special Projects Manager in Ceisler Media's Philadelphia Office.