Where Do We Go From Here?—CoronaLife Day 306

The Trump years have been rife with growing tensions, but the election has forced a flash point. Trump’s supporters believe there was massive voter fraud and the election was stolen from him, while Biden’s supports believe it was a fair election. I will not argue the points here, largely because it will change nobody’s mind, and, besides, that is not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is to ask: “Where do we go from here?”

Over the past four years, the growth of a divided reality has accelerated, and we now have two camps in America who do not see the world with a shared set of facts—or even the belief that facts actually matter. The fragmentation of media has allowed people to find “sources” that reinforce what they already believe, and avoid anything that challenges their world view. This “silo-ing” phenomenon is not new, but has intensified with the advent of the internet and social media. This, combined with a toxic selfishness, has led us to a place that I am not sure we can come back from.

This is more than just a difference over policy. Policy differences are a fact of governmental life, and have been with us always. Constructive discussions of the pros and cons of alternate policies, and viewing a problem from different viewpoints, is necessary and healthy in a democracy. But when advocating a certain policy brings death threats—witness Gretchen Whitmer, Brad Raffensperger, Dr. Fauci and his family, and most recently Mike Pence—that is beyond the pale. That is a line you cannot step back over once crossed. How do you threaten someone’s life and then dial that back? How can you move forward from that?

I don’t know. I just know that I am tired. I am tired of the hateful rhetoric, tired of the insults, tired of the lies. Tired of people who care nothing for other people. Tired of people who are so entitled they think a little inconvenience is oppression. Tired of the unrelenting chaos of every day. I would like to return to the days where you could disagree with your neighbor without fear of vandalism or death. Where we could agree that truth matters—or that it even exists.

I’m afraid that the attack on the Capitol is a sign that America is fundamentally broken. Time will tell if it is broken beyond repair. I believe our democratic institutions held strong; others believe they have been subverted. And so I am left staring at two diametrically opposed Americas, with one thought repeating in my head: “Where do we go from here?”

I fear, nowhere good.

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