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By Diana Diamond

Avoiding Those Partisan ‘Others’

Uploaded: Jun 28, 2018

As we celebrate this year’s Fourth of July, I keep on thinking about Americans today and about the terrible partisan divide we have in this country, a divide that can be felt in our nation and even our local communities.

We need to become more united, less divided. Yet until we begin to create some dialogue and understanding with those who differ politically from us, we will not be able to heal the wounds that are scarring our nation.

As New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote, we no longer identify each other by our religion, ethnic background, or even our wealth. The one descriptor is our personal politics, as we ask each other, “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?” That’s all that counts right now, and once we learn that he is “the other,” we no longer talk with him, and avoid longtime “other” friends.

This is not healthy or good for us or for this country.

Let me say at the outset that I have never supported Trump. His lies, his lack of any in-depth knowledge on numerous issues upsets me, as does his cruel immigration policy and his fragile, egotistical needs. But I do acknowledge that his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un was a decent start on repairing relations with that country, that our economy is good, and unemployment is wonderfully low.

There was an interesting article in the Sunday, June 24 issue of the NYT, “As Critics Assail Trump, His Supporters Dig in Deeper.” A number of thoughtful people were interviewed as to why they supported Trump, and most said they certainly didn’t like him as a man, his lying was problematical and he does “some real stupid things.” But, each complained about Trump’s opponents – saying the criticism from some Democrats is overblown, they are after him all the time, and they will not acknowledge anything positive that Trump has done. The result, one woman summed up, “It makes me angry at them, which causes me to want to defend him to them more.”

According to the Times article, Republican voters repeatedly described an instinctive, protective response to the president, and their support has grown in recent months: Mr. Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is now about 90 percent.

Are we Democrats part of the problem? Is our anger at Trump resulting in Republicans saying they now need to defend Trump? Are Democrats building up support for Trump?

I am sure the blanket criticism of Trump his supporters talk about is true. I asked a number of my Democratic friends here to name some positive things Trump has done. Nearly everyone answered, “I can’t think of a single thing,” even when I pressed them

If we are going to survive as a united country, what we should be doing this Fourth of July is trying to talk to our partisan “others,” and find ways to agree at least a little bit, and see what we can share. Republicans who don’t like Trump’s character can maybe agree with Democrats about that, which can open the door to a discussion. Perhaps Democrats can agree with Republicans that the economy and the low unemployment numbers are really good for the country. We cans start to understand each other’s reasoning and realize maybe the other is not a bad person.

I am not trying to get Trump reelected, but I am trying to get Americans reunited.