This Christmas, I spent hours on the back porch in deep discussion with my dad, one of Trump’s biggest supporters, surrounded by a family that disagrees with virtually any praise directed at the President. I awkwardly reside somewhere in between the two of them. Eventually, my Aunt grew curious and stepped outside to see how we were doing.
For one reason or another, my dad left and I was left alone with a far too curious Aunt that can only be described as an ideological, traditional liberal pushed into the “Trump is an authoritarian threat to American democracy!” crowd by the mainstream media channel on each night.
I explained to her some of the conversations taking place, conversations about why the political temperature continues to rise in the U.S. and who or what was impacting it so strongly. Although she said Trump had much to do with it, there was also a part of her that knew deep down, there were much bigger issues surrounding the battle for America’s soul.
I believe that battle is very much alive right now, yet very few are actually willing and able to admit as much. The amount of conversations I’ve had with people on both sides wondering, “What went wrong?” is far too high, and worse—very few have an actual answer beyond the base-level casting of blame on Trump’s evils or the “radical left.”
And that’s the very issue: Nobody is willing to pick up a shovel and dig down into the unknown but the answers are far deeper than the hole created over the past four years. We have to understand that Trump was not the catalyst for this divide. He was the result of it.
We have to understand that at one point in our history, answers to disagreements could usually be found in America’s crust. Now, the temperature is rising but the only way to understand why is to keep digging into America’s core.
As Americans, we used to have shared ideas, values, and principles. We had a shared history, shared definitions of morality and rights, a shared belief that America, despite its faults, was the shining light on the top of the hill that individual liberty, freedom to express ideas, and liberalism would lead to the most prosperous nation man has ever seen.
We disagreed on policy, foreign and domestic. What should the tax rate be? Should we intervene in the Middle East? What is the best way to regulate big business? But even if we disagreed on all of these, we could always come back to a common purpose and a shared identity.
Although policy will continue to be disagreed upon, the new debate and one that has been ruthlessly going on for the better part of fifteen years now, has everything to do with America’s beating heart and little to do with policy.
The two political aisles are on either side of a fault line, distancing themselves year to year. Now, there are at least two very different visions for the U.S. And to make things worse, both parties have radical sects within each of them.
Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s vision the future of the Democrat Party or is it Joe Biden’s? Will the GOP continue to run with Trump-esque candidates or will they return to the moderate Romney days of old? This lack of unity even within the parties has led to increased division as people are forced to pick sides. Simultaneously, we are constantly either being molded or ostracized by the mainstream media, Social Justice movements, high academia, and virtually every large institution that feels like they must have a politically correct view on every matter out of fear for the Twitter mob. Now, there are not two sides with differences of opinion both striving to improve America. You are either on the good side or the evil side and in between is becoming less of a valid option.
At America’s best, we had the same end point with two different avenues to get there. At its worst, up until now at least, we believed that it’s okay to leave each other alone.
We have to learn to live with one another again, even if we disagree on most things. We have to fight for the things we share. Unity will not come from a candidate, President, party, or a Supreme Court Justice.
Unity will only come when we take a moment to breath and recall what the American people share: A common history, an unmistakable resilience, common values, a positive perspective of the U.S. that still leaves enough leeway for improvement, and shared definitions on the most fundamental ideals such as racism, rights, freedom, justice, and morality.
Until then, the temperature will continue to rise, no matter who is in office.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.