There is a lot of talk about how we don’t have enough civility in our public discourse. Mr. Biden has called for unity and reaching across the aisle. Many people would like to blame President Trump. Though he adds to this situation, this has been going on for years. Previously, I have delineated that Democrats think Republicans are evil. I have also delineated that every Republican President since Eisenhower has been called stupid except Nixon who was called evil. Democrats (not all) think most Republican supporters are just beyond understanding societal concepts.
Recently, I had a discussion with a gay friend. Over dinner he said he did not want to engage in political discourse because it just leads to bad feelings. Even though we have different political beliefs I always want to listen to what others say so I can learn how others are thinking.
At a further time, I told him he was wrong to have that thought. I then told him a story. I had been on the forefront of accepting gays; the Best Man at my wedding in 1986 was and is gay. I could not give a hoot about whether someone is gay.
When gay marriage became a hot topic before any court ruling, I told my gay friend I heard arguments in support of gay marriage and found them lacking substance. Then one night while the Beautiful Wife and I were having dinner with a gay couple, one made an argument that stuck with me. He said he wanted to have a wedding. He wanted to experience that. You know — when one person commits to love, honor and cherish the other for the rest of their lives. That argument made sense to me. That made me reconsider my position on the subject. Because of honest discourse between parties with different opinions, sometimes opinions change.
After conveying the story of how my opinion had changed, I switched topics. I told my friend that I still believe the ideal situation for children is to be raised by a female and male couple. We had a back and forth where he made the typical arguments such as a child raised in a household by a loving gay couple is better than a dysfunctional straight couple. We went around and round as I batted back every argument, he made and stuck to the fact I believe a child having a male and female parent is best for both a female and male child. That does not mean that single parents or gay couples are not sometimes better, and significantly better than a child with no parents at all.
Then he offered his last point. While he could accept my rationale, he believes my argument is “dangerous” because some people would not understand like “those folks in Mississippi.” Stating others who you don’t know may not have the mental capacity to comprehend an argument is never a convincing position. He had accepted me as a mental peer, but thought the rest of people who might hear what I said were heathens who would twist my arguments in a vulgar way.
This is not a new experience for me. I hear this regularly. I believe the ordinary American can intelligently come to conclusions — especially made to them in plain English. They can make up their own minds. When I argued for parental notice for minors having abortions, I was told the reason to not have parental notice was not about me. Of course, I would treat my daughter properly. It is the other guy who would act irresponsibly because so many parents would act tragically with a teenage daughter who is pregnant. Thus, we must step in and protect that daughter from her parents because ‘we’ know better.
Reflecting on this, does it surprise you at all that the now infamous interlude happened on CNN’s The Don Lemon show? Three talking heads disparaging people who would deem to think Donald Trump was a responsible president, one being the host laughing uproariously. Afterward, he attempted to explain that he was not really laughing at a large portion of the American public, but at a joke line. We know who he was laughing at. Us.
There is a great divide. There are as many smart people who do not want to control people’s lives as there are that want to micromanage our lives because they believe we cannot manage on our own. Many people have fallen into this mode of thinking. They take decisions out of the hands of others and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that people can no longer make decisions for themselves by reason of they have not made any decisions and thus lost that ability. The COVID period has validated that.
People attempt to define the divide in America. The divide is simply this. The people who believe Americans can and should make decisions for themselves and those who think others are incapable, i.e., because ‘they’ are smarter and wiser, decisions should be made by them. Pick your side. I believe in Americans. They don’t.
P.S. If Mr. Biden wanted to show some leadership and bring us together, he could give a speech and tell his supporters who have suggested retribution against Trump supporters to stop it. He should make clear their behavior is atrocious and un-American. That speech would go a long way toward legitimizing his desire to reach across the aisle.