Trump did not create the divide among Americans
Here we stand, on the edge of a vast divide, with of our friends, family and countrymen on the other side. Donald Trump didn’t cause this divide. The ascension of Donald Trump was caused by this divide.
The most frightening aspect of Trump’s rise is that we as a nation allowed such absurdity to become our reality. When assigning blame, we must understand that for every finger we point, three point back.
Trump’s appointment to our nation’s highest office wasn’t a coup. Not a single weapon was drawn. Rather, nearly 63 million Americans (46% of voters), of their own volition walked peacefully into a voting booth and allowed themselves to be grifted by a populist autocratic charlatan.
But what about all the American people who didn’t vote for Trump? Unfortunately, you too are culpable; if not on voting day, by your complicity every other day.
Our national decay didn’t happen overnight. It has long been festering. Our utter lack of priority in education coupled with our penchant for greed have allowed corporate interests to take hold of the reins and shake us around like the puppets we have become.
Our society now treats the anti-intellectual as king. Children are raised on iPads by any stranger with a YouTube channel, granting the Pewdiepies of the world dangerous influence. We have come to believe that those who are not fortunate enough to have what we do simply must not be working hard enough.
People hurl words like Muslim, liberal, gay and socialist around as insults. People treat political affiliation with the same zealotry as our favorite sports team. We have allowed fear to encroach upon liberty.
More than 20 years before the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln prophesized during the Lyceum Address, “All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth…in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio…in a trial of a thousand years. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
During the two times in American history when we were attacked, Americans showed amazing solidarity, putting aside petty squabbles and coming together. We must come together as we did after Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11.
We will always be our own biggest enemy until we learn to view one another as American before anything else. Labeling our fellow citizens with political epithets as an excuse to write them off cannot continue.
We must learn to listen to opposing viewpoints without letting our fear and anger blind us.
Columnist Anup Desai is a pre-business sophomore and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.