Decent or Deplorable: The Great Divide

January 13, 2017

How on earth did we get here? We are about to have a pathological liar as president, a man who very well may be a Russian asset. We have observed his narcissism, his verbal cruelty, his bigotry, and yet half of American voters said that this was okay. Was this okay with you, or were you horrified? Did watching Kellyann Conway lie straight faced through every interview drive you nuts as she attempted to put an acceptable spin on the unacceptable? Did you cringe when the mother of a Gold Star family was attacked  by Trump on national television? How about when 18 women claimed to have been groped by a would-be president, and they were called liars and publicity hounds? Did you shudder every time Muslims or Mexicans, or the poor were demonized? How about when a handicapped reporter was mocked, only to have Trump deny doing it even as the tapes of his despicable performance was being replayed over and over for the whole world to witness?

This, more than anything else, is what has driven the deep divide between Trump voters and everyone else, this Progressive yearning for brotherly love and compassion juxtaposed with the acceptance and even celebrations of hatred and sheer greed on the side of Trump and his supporters.

Watching President Obama surprising his friend Vice President Biden with a Presidential Medal of Freedom ‘With Distinction’ brought us to tears. Hearing Joe tell everyone that, when he was about to sell his house to pay for his son’s cancer treatments, Barack told him, “Don’t you dare sell that house,”  that he’d come up with the money himself to help his friend, took us over the edge. Such decency, such sweet moments during the Obama administration! We have been witness to one of the great love stories, Michelle and Barack Obama showing the world how a strong marriage operates. Their daughters have grown up to be lovely young women despite living in a fish bowl for eight years. No scandals, no sexual abuse, no vagina-grabbing, no plagiarism, no lying, no cruel jabs at minorities or the poor or the disabled. Just decency and warmth, thoughtfulness, doing the best for the country and each other.

We were spoiled. We thought the country would learn from this model of civility and generosity, but we were wrong. Oh, half of us reveled in it, and truly believed that intelligence and decency would continue, would prevail in the end. We were so wrong. Instead, this very goodness was mistaken for weakness. It riled up the group that Hillary rightly called deplorable, the bigots, the racists, the homophobes, the mean, the greedy, the war mongers, and they heard the clarion call of a potential fascist dictator. These are the same people who would have rallied around Hitler and Mussolini and Franco had they been in Europe seventy years ago. They are one with the people who are rallying around the extreme right in Europe now. Forget brotherly love. They cannot see that what is good for the most vulnerable among us is ultimately good for them. In their haste to take away from others they fail to realize that they will also lose healthcare, job opportunities, security in old age, workplace safety, education, clean air, safe food and drugs, and a free press. They are on the wrong side of history once again, and yet are so blinded by hatred that they cannot and will not see it. They refuse to look at the strong possibility that the man in whom they have placed their trust may well be an asset of our most dangerous enemy, Russia, and the agent of our mutual destruction. They have a more favorable view of Putin than of our own President. What madness is this?

And this is where we are now. The chasm is wide and deep. The better angels of our nature have about as much chance of coming to a compromise with the demonic hordes who identify themselves as Trump supporters as song birds have of reasoning with  feral cats. How will this play out? Will the press stand up for themselves or fold like origami? Will the FBI clean house and investigate the partisan group that seems to have hijacked parts of this organization, or will Comey and his ilk turn a respected federal institution into a fetid extension of the Trump agenda? Will the Democrats in Congress be able to hold off the nominations of cabinet picks who are clearly out to destroy the very agencies they are supposed to steer, or will our republic be flayed piece by piece, death by a thousand cuts, until we no longer have a democracy?

It’s time to scream our heads off, call, write, talk among ourselves, support the organizations dedicated to keeping us free. May we suggest, Planned Parenthood, Credo, the American Civil Liberties Union, UltraViolet, and real newspapers. Buy a subscription to a newspaper or two, change your mobile phone company to Credo Mobile, learn which companies support Trump and boycott them, don’t back down when you hear someone lying and saying things which are truly wrong. Show up at the rallies planned all over this country for January 21st. Look for us in Seattle. We are the Resistance!

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Shrinkrapper is a former psychologist, and a lifelong musician and political junkie.

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