Editorial: Post midterm, country must strive for unity
The political tension in Michigan and around the country reached a boiling point with Tuesday’s elections. Neighbors, colleagues, friends and even family have been torn apart over politics. That kind of contempt for our fellow Americans is not healthy. Now that this contentious midterm is over, we urge everyone to embrace civility.
That seems next to impossible when the rhetoric coming from political leaders on both sides of the aisle is so contentious.
President Donald Trump stirs the pot continually, calling out those he dislikes and making fun of his detractors. Yet even Trump, in a recent interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group, admitted he regretted not having had a softer tone in his first two years in office.
Democrats are hardly blameless either. During the campaign, leaders rallied their followers with confrontational language.
The constant drumbeat of negativity is having real effects on citizens.
A 2016 Pew Research Center poll found that partisans’ opinions of those in the other party were lower than they’d been in a quarter of a century. We imagine these numbers are even worse now.
Seventy percent of Democrats believed that Republicans are more closed-minded than other Americans. Republicans (52 percent) thought Democrats are closed-minded and nearly half thought Democrats are lazy and dishonest.
Even worse, the poll found that many citizens actually fear members of the opposing party. “More than half of Democrats (55 percent) say the Republican Party makes them ‘afraid,’ while 49 percent of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party,” according to Pew.
Where to go from here? Even though the midterms are over, 2020 will now become the focus, and it’s hard to imagine the coming months will be any less heated.
Sometimes it’s helpful to put things in perspective.
We were touched by the story of Utah mayor and National Guard officer Brent Taylor, who was killed over the weekend while serving in Afghanistan. Major Taylor was only 39, and he leaves behind a wife and seven young children.
But he also left a message that resonates.
Taylor’s last Facebook post (dated Oct. 28) read, "As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. 'United we stand, divided we fall.' God Bless America."
We should all take that to heart.